These days, why are we so bound by what society expects a traditional marriage to be? Why do we get so consumed by the “fairytale” that is spun on by the media and television that we think it’s unnatural to want our own individuality outside of our relationship? Then, when we naturally vary from the traditional path, we are viewed as “selfish and not caring.” Unfortunately, more often than not, we allow that pressure to affect good qualities we share with one another.
For example, let’s just say that you and your spouse like to take a separate trip every now and again with a good girlfriend and your husband has no problem with it. However, you might have a couple girlfriends who think that is absolutely insane and they let you know it. They would never let their husbands go on a “guys-only” trip without them so why should they? Or, you parents might think that this type of agreement is only setting your marriage up for trouble. Phooey! TMF Readers, love is not a ball and chain. Because we have a marriage certificate in our hands doesn’t mean that our marriage defines our whole existence as an individual. Yes, we are spouses but we are also parents, friends, daughters and sons, siblings and most importantly individuals. Now, I am not suggesting by any means that we put our marriages on the back-burner for any of the above, it must be our most important relationship, but we can still find the balance between being an individual and being married. Suffocating our marriages is just as unhealthy as not prioritizing it. Never allowing your spouse a little freedom to explore their individuality can stifle your relationship in more ways than one. Remember the old saying…”absence makes the heart grow fonder?” Totally true.
“It’s not a lack of love but a lack of friendship that usually ends up making your marriage feel like you are carrying a ball and chain.”
You might ask what is the key to understanding that it’s okay to have individuality in your marriage? The answer is simple. Friendship and trust. When you have an undivided trusting friendship with your spouse, you are unconditionally open to accepting him or her, their ideas, their dreams and yes, even their need for space at times whether that space be emotional, working, creative, fun, etc. That space could be just as simple as an every day walk alone or going to the gym. Just simple “me” time. Let’s be real here, all people yearn for time for themselves. It’s just reality. More than likely, you and your spouse encouraged this before marriage, but after marriage all that same reasoning goes out the door with the trash! More often than not, we each still possess all of the qualities we always had, we have just chosen to view it differently because we have the title of wife or husband. If your spouse was a free-spirit before you married him or her, why would you want them to be someone new to you after marriage? Part of the challenge is that we must constantly take ourselves back to that state of “When Harry Met Sally” and remember why we fell in love. We have to refocus on the fact that if we cannot change our spouse’s basic character. Why would we want to? It’s what makes them who they are. It’s what attracted you to them in the beginning. It’s what makes you want to love them even more. Listen, accepting and encouraging your own individuality in your marriage is perfectly normal and okay. It doesn’t diminish your love and asking for a little space every now and then doesn’t mean you are not committed to your spouse and to your relationship.
Benefits to having space:
- Time for reconnection and self-reflection.
- Time to clear your thoughts and hear yourself think.
- Time to energize your inner batteries.
- Time to truly appreciate and “miss” your spouse.
TMF Readers, don’t stunt your relationship growth based on another person’s belief system. Just like your marriage needs alone time, without the children, at times, your marriage also needs individuality. It’s that separate individuality that brings your marriage full-circle. Accepting, wanting and, yes, even needing space from your marriage is okay and it doesn’t mean that it is drowning. Don’t wait on expressing your individuality until it’s too late and you get stuck dragging that ball and chain. Communicating with your life partner and being honest goes a long way and will only bring the two of you closer together and make your bond stronger.
Peace & Blessings,