Keeping oneselfI can't count how many recent conversations I've had have led around to this subject, prompting me to write this post.
Marriage. There are so many things that can make it succeed or fail, and sometimes they are just out of our control. Sometimes things are not meant to be.
But this issue, the issue of oneself, is one I see causing so much pain, yet is one of the more controllable. It gets harder if we add children and/or a high pressure career into the mix, but it becomes even more important then.
We must keep ourselves.
It starts with the realization that you and your partner do not have to do everything together. You do not have to enjoy all of the same things. You do not have to go all of the same places. It's not your partner's job to entertain you.
My husband and I have very different personalities. Especially compared to each other, he's an extreme introvert and I'm an extreme extrovert. This used to cause me a lot of stress, and because I was like an angry child over the fact that he never went anywhere with me, caused him stress. Lots of stress.
But at some point, when I had a preschooler, a toddler, and one in the oven, I realized I had to release him from that burden of expectation. I stopped bugging him to go places with me and instead enjoyed things like live music with my best friend, secure in the fact that we were both where we wanted to be, and that I didn't have to find a sitter. I learned how to crochet and knit, and became active in a variety of activities at church, even though he doesn't go with me. Very importantly, I stopped asking him before I made plans. I do tell him and I very clearly label plans on the family calendar. Chances are, he's not going anywhere,so it's rare for us to conflict. I am happier; happier to see my husband, happier to pour myself into parenting, when I've done the things that feed and define ME.
In closing, there are so many things that can stress a relationship, it seems silly to add any stressors. I'm glad I didn't become a woman who lost herself in being a wife and mother, even though those are the most important things in my life. They are not all of me. And I'm glad I didn't stay wallowing in resentment. It's much easier to be happy with someone who is allowed to be who they are.