I love my husband. He’s my best friend, my confident, and the person I want to fall asleep next to most nights (when I’m not having one of those episodes where I’m overly hot and not admitting that it has anything to do with getting older!). He’s the person I share my dreams with, the one who makes me strive to be the best version of me.
But, sometimes… I crave time to be on my own.
It’s not because my feelings about him have changed or that I’m angry or upset; I just want time to be with myself–to reflect, to grow, to appreciate the life we’ve created together. And thankfully, he understands that.
I spent seven years after the collapse of my first marriage learning to be myself, learning to love myself, and learning what I needed to do in a my next marriage to ensure that I remained true to myself. It means I now know how to recognize that sometimes I need time alone or with my friends more than I need to be with my husband (or kids). I recognize that I am responsible for my own happiness and that I can’t expect just one person to be solely in charge of filling my bucket.
Learning to set healthy boundaries with my partner has helped us continue to grow in our marriage. Boundaries mean being happy with myself before making my spouse happy, and vice versa.
It is so important that we have our own interests – for example: winter camping. It is nowhere in the top 100 things I want to do, but it’s something my husband loves. While he knows that I don’t have any desire to go winter camping (unless “winter camping” becomes the new term for sitting on a beach in Mexico), I really want him to do it. I want him to be able to feel like he can do the things he loves and it doesn’t impact us, that his needs and interests are just as important to build into our relationship as mine are.
We both left marriages where we felt that we made so many sacrifices to make our spouse happy that we lost sight of taking care of ourselves. We have made a promise to each other that we will never let that happen again.
Healthy boundaries let us have conversations about our needs to pursue our own interests. He gets me better than anyone I know. He knows just when to suggest a girls’ weekend or understands when I haven’t been doing my own self-care and just need to time to recharge my soul. Man, I love that man, but there are days I appreciate what we have even more after spending some time apart.
Being able to have open communication about how we are feeling, even if it is a work in progress for both of us because we hate the thought of hurting each other’s feelings, but we are trying. By being able to communicate, we can ensure that we both know that, at the end of the day or when our personal recharging time is over, we will always come back to each other.
Because there are also times when we need to make sure we shut ourselves off from the rest of the world together and take time to reconnect emotionally and intimately. We need to take time to remind each other of WHY we love one another. For us, that often means sneaking away for a weekend, with some drinks, dancing, and lots of laughter.
Setting boundaries in your marriage isn’t selfish; in fact to have a healthy, happy marriage, I’d argue that you have to have boundaries. Now excuse me as I go enjoy a cup of coffee, a little shopping, and a lot of self-care today so that tomorrow I can spend time with just my husband reconnecting.