I was always what you would call an independent gal. Cue the Destiny's Child. With a single mom, I had no choice but to step up and learn to do things on my own. I was cooking dinners when I was 12, bought my first car from my hard earned cash and know that I can do things on my own if I need to. I brought all of that into our relationship and it led to struggles in the beginning of me trying to balance this new person in my life that I had to rely on and lean on andjuggle our free time with friends outside of our relationship. We worked through it, I communicated my need for alone time and he let me know he liked his time out with the guys but our weekly movie nights too.
We knew our marriage would carry on much the same way. He does his things, I do my things. And we have our things together. Being married means you have your best friend always there to support you and love you. But that doesn't mean you and your spouse have to constantly be together for you to achieve happiness in your marriage. Maintaining your independence in your marriage is key to keeping your marriage strong and there are easy ways to make sure you keep it.
In the first year of marriage, Brian and I did a lot together. With my work schedule, it was hard to schedule in time with him and friends. Then as we went through the second year I realized we had forgotten how to spend time away from each. I didn't do lunches or dinners with friends. I didn't spend overnights without him. It's important to still keep your identities outside your marriage. That means nights out with the girls to act silly, laugh and not have any talk of sports or bodily functions.
//Have alone time
I'm sure you have heard the phrase, "Be alone with your own thoughts." It means taking the time to find who you are when you are by yourself. When you aren't a wife, mom, sister, etc. It could be a few hours to wear your ugly face mask not in front of your husband or maybe it's taking a trip by yourself. It's figuring out how to do things by yourself, making decisions by yourself with no one else's thoughts or opinions. If you think you hate being alone, think about what you would do without your spouse there or kids. Do that. Perhaps it's time to pick up a new hobby.
//Keep Your Hobbies
Comparing the number of hobbies I have now to how many I had before I got married, the number has dropped a little. As it should because I was living alone and had much more free time. But that doesn't mean I haven't held on to a few I love. This blog, for one has maintained a slow life throughout. I have picked up a DSLR in the past few years to learn how to use. And I still enjoy running. These are the hobbies I like to do on my own, but I still have hobbies me and Brian like to do. It's important to have somewhere to let you be creative and what you can upkeep in that alone time even if it's as simple as baking.
The best part of having a husband is having someone do the hard stuff. Like kill bugs, if you need him to. It's also knowing that he is there if you need him but hanging all the shelves in the spare bedroom by yourself. Because you can. It's learning to do things yourself just in case you have to. Like putting air in your tires. Just throwing that one out there that it is important to know how to do that. Your husband does like to be needed but will also feel quite impressed if his wife can redo the whole living room while he was gone for the afternoon.
If you both schedule nights out and going here and there, it's important to check in every once in awhile. Is this schedule still working? Does one of you feel neglected or left out of the other one's life? Maybe one of you needs more time away. All of this is ok and normal, but you want to make sure to talk about these before they become huge issues in your marriage.
Independence in a marriage does not have to be a recipe for disaster or divorce. As long as it maintained properly, it is healthy for a relationship. It means knowing when your independence might put strains on your marriage, ie: scheduling girls/guy nights out with no where on the agenda for your own date night. Or blowing your savings on a week long girls trip to Las Vegas when you are trying to save for a house. With the right balance, independence in a marriage can make for a happy harmony.
How do you maintain independence in marriage?