Marriage kills what you love to do…well that might a bit dramatic. However, hang around younger couples and you’re likely to hear something along the lines of, “I don’t do that anymore” or “I haven’t seen Amy since I stopped playing volleyball.” Perhaps you haven’t heard those things because you’re the one saying them.
When you get married your partner becomes your world and everything you do is together. You give up interests for ones you both enjoy (or at least one of you does and the other tolerates it). Or you both stay at home, each in your own world, scrolling endlessly through Instagram or YouTube. You’re not doing anything but hey at least it’s together! You feel guilty for leaving your partner at home and your partner is selfish if they leave you at home. However, in my personal and professional experience, healthy marriages have a bit of that “selfish” mentality.
Don’t get me wrong, you need to do activities together. There will be less time for things you did when you were single, but it isn’t selfish to make time. Balance is the key. Date night is great but there should be a “ME” night too. On airplanes, they tell you to put the oxygen mask on yourself and then others. You can better support others if you take care of yourself. If you keep your individuality alive, you will be better able to support your marriage.
Guidelines for your “ME” night:
1. Only do it when your partner can manage responsibilities at home.
If your partner is stressing over preparations for a dinner party the next night, it isn’t the time to go check out that film festival. If you’re the one staying home, be fair. If it’s something you can do yourself, let them go.
2. Schedule in advance.
When possible don’t tell them last minute. Ask if it will be alright to go hiking with the guys on the weekend. Telling your partner right before you leave may lead to death stares on your way out.
3. Both get equal time and opportunity.
If you can’t find something you love to do for your night, that doesn’t mean you get to cancel their night. Hang out with a friend you haven’t seen in awhile, window shop, just do something you enjoy.
4. No guilt trips.
Don’t ask why they are doing that again or say it’s a waste of time. It’s their time to pursue their passion guilt free.
5. Take a genuine interest.
When your partner comes home, ask them about it. Usually we talk the most about things we enjoy. As adults, people don’t generally ask us about things we love to do. Being asked about your hobby can bring excitement and confidence as you talk to your partner as an unofficial expert in that area.
Making time for your passions will not only elevate your mood but trickle down to your partner and kids. You will be in a better mood around them and they will be in a better mood around you. Marriage is about being a team but it can be a better one if you are still yourself.
Want to have a happier, healthier marriage?
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.