In relationships, we're all beggars and we're all choosers.
This is the last blog post in the At All Costs series. I've shed some light on faulty thinking that assumes that if a highly-motivated individual is single then they have deliberately chosen their career over a family, rather than acknowledging that people say yes or no to a variety of options in their lives depending on what they want out of life at all costs. Sometimes we also make decisions based on what our best options are at a given time. Even individuals that are married or in long-term relationships may be caught off guard in their relationships if they do not understand or care about what a spouse or partner wants at all costs. It's not uncommon to hear individuals in relationships claim that they married a stranger, stayed married for the kids, or ultimately feel that a relationship has run its course before deciding to get a divorce or split up due to "irreconcilable differences". This may be tied to a desire to move on to greener pastures and ultimately go for whatever it is that individual truly wanted at all costs but may have felt they needed to put to the side for a time. We're all beggars and choosers in relationships even if we don't want to admit it. In fact, it seems like the only way relationships will work and last is if there is a willingness to be upfront with this.
Most people may not like to acknowledge that they were selected as a partner by someone who felt they were the best choice... given limited options. However, except for the few of us who experience the genuine and unconditional love of a partner that we are able to connect with and value perfectly from the beginning of a relationship, this is and will be the case for most of us. Even if we think we are the most wonderful "catch", this does not exclude us from having to decide on what we want out of life or a partner. There is still a need to state our case for any given relationship, especially if we plan on being in a relationship that lasts a lifetime and only want one life partner. This is something that should be discussed early on because it affects the trajectory of relationships and may help couples prevent unpleasant surprises down the road.
Because we're all beggars and choosers, there are some bare minimums of a relationship that eventually need to be discussed. If we were all able to find the exact person we want to spend the rest of our lives with AND pursue all our goals then things would be easy. Also, no matter how much we feel that someone should be able to meet our needs in a certain way and extend never-ending grace towards our shortcomings, more than one person in a relationship has needs and there must be compromise. As we take the time to learn about others and acknowledge that they can or cannot meet the most basic of our relational needs, this frees us up to make the right and healthiest decisions for ourselves. In this case, we are choosers and don't have to be beggars. Instead of waiting for relationships to form before we reveal our true selves (while crossing our fingers or hoping and praying that someone will stay with us in spite of us), there is an opportunity to lay the bare minimums out along with our strengths and areas for growth early on. It is easier for another person to make decisions that are in their best interest if they know what or who they are working with. Likewise, it is in our own best interest to choose someone who can meet our relational needs and has decided to choose us even after getting to know us.
The best thing singles and couples can do is seek to create a life with someone that they can achieve their goals with or with someone that gives them the space to pursue their "at all costs", since the at all costs will win at the end of the day. With this is mind, singles may be better able to meet their at all costs while they are single (although this may not always be the case). Likewise, couples may be better able to meet their at all costs by being in a committed long-term relationship (although this may not be the case). Either way, we're all beggars and choosers when it comes to relationships.
Questions to ponder:
1. Are you always the beggar or always the chooser in your relationships? Do you feel any freedom knowing that the majority of us are both beggars and choosers in our relationships?
2. What is it you hope to accomplish or get out of your life at all costs?
3. What is something new you learned about that will make you more intentional about how you approach your current or future relationships?
This blog series is focused on Goals.
Would you like to have your story or experience featured on Informed!? Email your answers or story to firstname.lastname@example.org, along with a pen name (if you would like to remain anonymous).