Marriage can sometimes feel like a juggling act of your needs versus his needs, your plans versus his plans or your goals versus her goals.
It may seem unrealistic at times, but it is possible to strike a blissful balance between your independence and your marriage! When you find a way to make them work together, you create a stronger relationship that makes both you and your spouse feel connected and fulfilled. A relationship suffers if one person feels trapped and is not able to exercise their autonomy. This can lead to resentment and anger building up to a dangerous level. It can also cause one partner to begin to lose their identity as an individual which can lead to anxiety and depression. In a healthy marriage, both partners share a life together while maintaining a sense of independence.
Try these strategies to find what works for you:
1. Discuss your need for independence.
You can avoid a multitude of issues by talking about your needs with your partner. It’s important to have an open dialogue about your desire for more independence. Reassure your partner that you still love them more than ever and want to spend time with them. However, you need space and time to grow as an individual and that having the opportunity to do so will strengthen your marriage.
2. Plan time with your partner.
Marriage doesn’t create the obligation to spend every second with your partner, but it is important to plan to spend some quality time with your partner. Then plan times for pursuing your other interests. This will help you develop your individuality and feel freedom without hurting your marriage.
3. Find time alone.
The time you spend alone can help nurture your sense of self and increase your effectiveness in your marriage by recharging. Take a few hours to relax with a good book, exercise some creativity or go on a long hike alone with your thoughts. These types of activities can help you feel grounded and give you space to develop your gifts and strengths. Moments like these will help you download and release stress which makes you a better partner.
4. Find time for friends.
Spending time with your friends can be a fun way to fulfill your need for independence. It is important that your spouse gets to know your friends but it’s not necessary for your partner to attend every chat, meal, or event with them. It’s normal and can be healthy to spend some time without your spouse while you visit with your friends.
5. Give each other room to handle challenges.
It may be tempting to try to fix all of the issues in your partner’s life. However, it’s crucial to give each other space to handle some difficult situations on your own. Your partner may not want you to interfere. Sometimes a little space can help clarify your thoughts. You can give each other room and still support each other, even through difficult times.
6. Enjoy your own hobbies.
You may feel you need to develop your own hobbies or activities outside of the home and relationship. You can still do activities as a couple, but your own interests don't have to be neglected. Although you may enjoy activities such as skiing, hiking, or dining out together, you may also have other passions you like to do on your own. Maybe your partner simply wouldn't be interested in the same thing. You don't have to give it up. Instead, create space for what inspires you. Are there hobbies you enjoyed before marriage? You can explore your own interests without hurting your partner. First, discuss your need for a solo activity and share why it's important to you. Then, create a separate list of hobbies you can do as a couple and schedule them, so your partner doesn't feel neglected.
You can create a balance between marriage and your need for independence. It requires time and effort from both partners to share your desires and make room in the relationship for individual activities without forfeiting together time. These 6 strategies can help you set that balance and bring you and your spouse closer together.