February 15, 2018
It can seem a bit contradictory to say that one of the keys of a healthy marriage is to spend some time apart. But what it means is that couples must happily accommodate each other to have some down time or ensure both husband and wife are being given some opportunities to develop their individual interests. This is something we probably had down pat before we had a baby (or maybe you now have two or three littles) before or after work we both had time to do many different things we enjoyed and then still come home and have a leisurely evening together.
But now throw parenthood (need I say more) into the mix and our personal interests have been put way, way back. Exercise is something that’s quite important to us both. I’m most certainly not an athlete by nature, Mark however looks ripped all year around no matter what he eats and how little he exercises – but making sure I do something active most days is really important for my wellbeing. I’ve been exercising since J was born but it’s getting increasingly harder – with either having to entertain a toddler while trying to do a home workout, or squeeze it into his naptime along with the other hundred jobs I need to get done it was starting to not be as enjoyable. For Mark – since we’ve been housesitting my parent’s home by the sea for the last few months, he’s been without his home gym set up and with longer work days and travel time, he has also struggled to fit it in. So when the new year rolled again, it’s always a good time to restart and refresh. One big thing we discussed for this year was to make sure we’re happily giving each other time (and being a cheerleader of it) to do something solely for ourselves. We both wanted to encourage it, embrace it and not begrudge the other when it’s their turn. We both equally deserve child free time and we know it brings an even greater level of love and appreciation to our relationship and makes us happier parents too. I’ve just finished a 21 day Reformer Pilates Challenge and man has that been amazing for me physically – but more so it has increased my gratitude to Mark tenfold, by watching how graciously he has allowed to go to classes on so many evenings. Now I can’t wait to ‘release’ Mark to go and do something for himself and see him pursue a new hobby or interest. It won’t always be turn-taking and we’ll continue to get better at balance, but our hope is to see the fruit that it brings to our marriage and family by putting each other first.
We’d love to hear how you guys make it work in your marriage – children or no children!
Some takeaway questions to reflect on –
Are both husband and wife being given some opportunities to develop their individual interests?
Are our separate interests causing resentment or are we genuinely pleased to give each other this time? Are we both seeking to ‘release’ the other rather than to grasp time for ourselves?
Are we willing to give up our separate interests if family circumstances require it?