How to Give to Your Relationship While Staying True to Yourself

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Sarah Anma, Relationship Mentor

By Sarah Anma

I’ve learned over the years of my marriage that sometimes acting as an independent agent isn’t the best path to happiness or fulfillment. But that doesn’t mean denying your own needs. The key is finding that middle ground – where you’re honoring yourself, while still “showing up” for others.

Four years ago, Vj (my husband), my parents and I went to India to have our wedding reception. While we were in India, we found out that we would have to return to the U.S. early to attend our immigration interview.  This meant that our luxurious, pre-paid honeymoon in Bali would have to be cut short, since that was where we were headed after India.

Out of fear of losing our “perfect” honeymoon, our hard-earned money, and our “freedom,” I insisted that we leave India early – cutting short our visit with Vj's parents, who live in India, so that we could still have the originally intended number of days in Bali.

I overlooked one important fact - that I am now part of a greater whole—my marriage and an extended family—which I need to respect and tend as well.

Last week, four years after our honeymoon, I got to spend time with my husband’s relatives again. I am awed in the difference in how I showed up. We went to our niece’s (Vj’s side) wedding in Toronto.  I went with a spirit of “go with the flow” and was able to maintain it throughout – partly because I took precautions and listened to myself. 

Things that I did to make it easier for me to show up in a new way are:

  • I spoke with Vj about some of the potential pitfalls before we went and discussed positive responses that upheld our integrity.
  • I took naps and bowed out of a couple of events—one included a late-night gift wrapping party that could have used my help, but would have left me useless and crabby the next morning.
  • The one time I did get crabby, I breathed; I walked away from the group; I told Vj not to worry and asked him to be neutral; I reviewed what made me crabby, and I realized that I was jumping to false conclusions.  Total time was 10 minutes.
  • Instead of worrying about “protecting” my privacy, I embraced the constant festive atmosphere – only taking me-time when I knew it was essential to my wellbeing.

My husband’s family had accepted me for years but I did not feel like it because I acted from a position of taker.  I worried about myself and managing my fears.  On this recent trip, by setting these guidelines, I was able to be a giver. Not only did I play nicely, but I had fun.
Your Assignment:

Is there a place where you feel like an outsider?  Are you worried about what you are or are not getting?  Do you feel the squeeze like someone is taking some of your liberties?  This week, can you show up differently in that area?  What precautions should you take to do so?

Sarah Anma, Relationship Mentor is founder of Art of Relationship, which provides a proven step-by-step system for optimum relationships. She helps frustrated singles figure out what they want and how to get it. She also helps loving and committed couples to create and grow the love life beyond their wildest dreams. To get your free CD, “How to Attract and Grow the Love of Your Life,” and receive weekly tips and tools visit

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  • I have found the same thing to be true in my marriage. I had built very large walls around myself to secure my identity and was very successful at being this very walled person. I had all of the 'trappings of a successful life'. My relationship life was horrid. And then I married this very open, spiritual man and I learned that if I were going to be successful at relationships I would have to learn to 'give' which is quite contrary to what I had built of myself. Nothing flowed before my husband. Now, I have to rest some, I have to push back some, but I really try to stay open and to see the needs of more people. When I do that, it leaves my lubby room to be the great person and giant that he is.

    Posted by Nowords1, 27 October 2010.