Married life is always a challenge in your first few years. In the beginning year, you may feel like you are almost too close. It may seem like you don’t have any personal privacy at all.
Sometimes, you might feel like the walls are closing in, or have any time or space for yourself. You notice it’s getting harder to feel like yourself. You’re not in the wrong for feeling this way.
It’s important to take “me time”. Realize you love your spouse but you just need to establish healthy limits and boundaries in your relationship. It’s wise to set up those boundaries early on in your marriage so you both can experience the profound, enduring joys that married life can bring.
You’re likely still in the adjustment phase of a new marriage, in which you’re trying to figure out how to live with each other on a day-to-day basis.
Sharing so much time and physical space with someone can be a bit tricky. Let’s first consider your question about having time and space for yourself.
Although it’s customary for married couples to be together much of the time, a good marriage allows some time for each partner to do his/her own thing.
Maybe you like to do scrapbooking or yoga and he likes to putter around in the garage with his woodworking tools. Whatever the activities you each enjoyed before getting married, ensure you allow time for them now.
You might think at first that all you want is to be together all the time after you are married. But in actually, it’s quite healthy to want to maintain your own sense of identity even though you’re married. There’s no reason why each of you still can’t do the things you want to do. The key is talking with one another about when you want to do your individual activities.
- Share your need to continue with the hobbies you love. Tell him you understand he has needs for his beloved activities, too.
- Also, look for time when you can do activities on your own without affecting the relationship. For example, maybe you get home from work in the early afternoon, but he doesn’t get home until later. You could spend that time doing whatever you enjoy doing alone.
- When your husband arrives home, he might like to sit down and have a glass of wine or even prepare dinner together. Later in the evening, though, he may want to have his own time to watch the game or be out in the garage for an hour or so.
If you discuss what you’d like to do individually and are sensitive to each other’s needs, you’ll easily be able to schedule some “me” time for each of you.
When you are both home and want to do something other than watch sports on TV, your discussion should relate very closely to the space element. For example, when your spouse is gone, you’ve got all the space you need, and vice versa. However, it makes a lot of sense for each of you to find a space in the house that’s “all yours.” This way, you have your own space to escape to if you don’t want to watch or hear the football games.
- If you love to read where it’s quiet, talk with your partner about setting up the spare bedroom as your study or den where you can have good lighting, a comfortable chair or lounging sofa, a side table, and a small bookcase with plenty of your favorites standing by.
- By the same token, if your spouse loves to work on cars or do woodworking, he might stake out the garage as his “man cave.” Or he may want to set up the family room as his room to watch football and other sports on a big screen TV with a place to prop up his feet and a well-padded chair.
Remember that you’re still the individuals you were when you met, with all of your hobbies, interests, and needs.
You both have a right to continue your lives as individuals and even evolve as separate people while the two of you work on being a loving couple.
I really miss spending time with my girlfriends and sister. Will I ever be able to just hang out with them again?
If you and your spouse only spend time with just each other, you will really miss spending time with your friends or family. It’s important to schedule with each other time with relationships that matter. Establishing some guidelines in this area is healthy and makes sense.
Maybe it’s every other Thursday night for dinner or Saturdays for lunch at your house when your spouse is outside working on his
car. It’s likely he will think that’s a great time to spend with his buddies or doing his hobbies. Here again, the key is communicating that you miss your friends and want to spend time with them regularly.
It’s a common fear of new couples; the other will get mad if you voice your desire to see friends instead of them. But, if your relationship is strong and you spend plenty of time together living your married life and going out on fun dates together, the idea of you spending time with others will in no way threaten the relationship.
Again, communicate these wants and needs openly and honestly to your spouse. Establishing your personal boundaries around seeing your friends is an important part of life and should be done always, even in dating.
In fact, you’ll return home after spending time with your friends excited and happy with plenty to share and talk about with your spouse.
Continuing to be a healthy individual ensures you’ll contribute in positive ways to your lives as a couple, and that will only strengthen your bond.
Make the most of your time when you are out as a couple. Talk about what’s acceptable in terms of speaking to people of the opposite sex. You want to be sure not to behave in any way that will make your spouse feel jealous or angry toward you.
This is an area of a marriage where many will be able to trust their “gut” about what’s the best thing to do when you’re in a situation where there are members of the opposite sex.
Think back about how you related to other couples and individuals when you went out together before you were married. There were probably behaviors you didn’t prefer for your spouse to do, and the same from their perspective. Also, discuss together how you each want to relate and act in public settings.
Let’s talk about some general guidelines when you’re out as a couple:
- Treat each other with respect and loving care when you’re out as a couple. Consider it your opportunity to show the world (within reason) how much you love each other. Smile at each other. Have conversation together occasionally even when in a group.
- Walk hand in hand. It’s an extra nice touch if the gentleman opens the door for his wife, pulls out his wife’s chair, and clears her dishes away when dining at friends’ homes.
- When you’re mingling with members of the opposite sex, some real boundaries should be in place if you want to have a healthy marriage. Of course, be friendly to everyone in the room. However, avoid being flirtatious with anyone. If you see that someone is being flirtatious toward you or attempting to, simply socialize with others in the room instead.
- Gravitate toward your spouse if you believe someone is seeking you out to flirt with you. It doesn’t make sense for a married person to flirt with anyone other than his/her own spouse. Since things can get out of hand when flirting occurs, it’s best to avoid it.
- Refrain from being alone in rooms with people of the opposite sex whom you don’t know, if at all possible. For safety reasons and to avoid any awkward situations, this is the wise thing to do.
Although these suggestions don’t have to apply to everyone, each couple should work out their own list of preferred and non-preferred behaviors and actions.
Continue to apply the “rules” you had when we were dating. In situations where alcohol’s involved, sometimes, a partner will drink too much. It may make you feel uncomfortable, when there is something your partner is doing when you’re with others. Talk with your spouse about it as soon as you get home (unless they’re under the influence).
If you practice open and honest communication often, then it’s no big deal if you’re telling them about some uncomfortable feelings you experienced recently.
As in all effective communication, use the “When you ___________ , I feel __________, I need ____________” format. Then ask, “Can we work it out so you stop doing that?”
Regarding alcohol, it’s always nice if the two of you talk about limits beforehand regarding what you’ll drink. Particularly if one of you is driving, it’s important to discuss this issue in advance.
Be careful and vigilant regarding your alcohol use, as individuals and as a couple. Why?
Studies indicate that more arguments and incidents of domestic violence occur when couples (one or both individuals) have been drinking. So, limiting your use of liquor can actually enhance a genuinely good time and close loving marriage together.
Trying these tips at home over the coming weeks should result in some healthy “alone” , along with some boundaries, both of which can help strengthen your relationship.