As we mentioned in Part I being married doesn’t mean you have to lose you independence. I will be away for a few days and wanted to get this off before I left. No one want to love themselves. That is why it is important for marriage survival to be as independent as you can be. Your spouse married you because of who you were, not because you were like them.
So, let’s look at assessing your needs and how to reclaim the independent part of you that made you truly a full partner in your relationship. As you grow, you bring something new to the relationship – a spark that can be translated into good feelings throughout your relationship.
Step 1: Assess Your Independence Level
Think over your life before your marriage, and life within your marriage. What percentage of the earlier you have you allowed to slip away? Do you still engage in independent activities, or did you box them up and put them away as soon as you stepped away from the marriage altar?
Gauge how close you are to the person you once were, actively pursuing your own interests. This doesn’t have to mean to the exclusion of your spouse, either. In the course of this assessment, you may find new areas of interest that you can share with your spouse.
Step 2: Assess What Your Interests Are
Your interests today may be different than what they once were. Take the time to sit and think about who you are today, and what things draw you in. Are you interested in learning about wine? Or antique cars? Do you have a list of goals you’d like to accomplish in your lifetime?
This is something you can share with your spouse, as well. Having dreams enlivens us, and this can in turn bring you closer to your spouse.
Step 3: Adapt a Plan to Your Relationship
Being independent doesn’t mean you now shed your marriage like an old skin. Think of independence as a means of enhancing your relationship rather than an opportunity to be all about “me, me and me.”
Start planning for some activities you’d like to do, but keep in mind the marriage you’re in: will your activities mean your spouse has to take on the burden of housework and childcare? Find common ground so that you both can explore your pursuits independently, while still making time for fun together, as well as for your responsibilities.
My best to you as you save your marriage by remembering that you are an independent person with needs within the relationship.
Have you lost your independence? In what ways?
Would you feel a sense of guilt in pursuing some of your interests? Why or why not?
Do you think seeking some independence within your relationship can strengthen it, or do you believe it will strain things?
The best to you and your marriage,