Balancing Intimacy and Independence in Relationships

“Let there be spaces in your togetherness, and let the winds of the heavens dance between you. - Kahlil Gibran   This passage comes from Gibran's 'The Prophet'. He writes about one of the major challenges of relationships: The tendency for partners to lose themselves in relationships. I work with many couples who struggle finding this balance of having a 'We' and still keeping the 'you' and 'I'. One belief I hear over and over again is that partners think they're being selfish when they take care of themselves. For me that's a false belief. It's loving not only to you to do what's best for you but also it's loving to your partner even if they don't agree!  And if your partner is wanting you to give yourself up for him/her, than you might want to consider that they're the one being selfish.  If you feel you abandon yourself in relationships, you can learn how to value yourself more so that you never ever want to give yourself up again.  You're worth it! Here's the rest of Gibran's passage: "Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow."