5 Ways My Marriage Forced Me To Be More Independent

“Then two shall become one flesh.”

That biblical verse and concept is read a lot at weddings. It implies that two people – two very separate and unique individuals –really do become one, in spirit and flesh. What God has joined together, let no man separate.

Funny thing, that. 

Because when the honeymoon is over, life moves on, and reality sets in, though a couple is now together and married, they have separate lives. Still.

And believe it or not, every couple should have some separation (within their marriage) in their lives. It’s probably the healthiest thing any couple can participate in to have a right relationship.

What I’ve learned - err, was forced to learn - over the last 17 years, was that while my husband and I lean on each other for support, love, relationship, and friendship, there will come an enlightening moment in your daily life when you realize one important thing: your spouse won’t – and can’t – be everything for you.

I mean this in the best way possible. I really do.

But, your knight in shining armor will be late for dinner, he’ll forget about you sometimes. He’ll text his friend or be on the phone when you are with him after hours of not seeing him. 

Want the truth? Though he wants to be the best he can be for you, he can’t fulfill every need or lack or longing. 

That’s impossible. 

He’s a human being. Human beings have faults. Faults means disappointments. And disappointments mean rethinking everything.

Did I feel this way before I married? Did I need him to do everything for me before we met? No. So, when and why did I suddenly switch my thinking and feel I needed more from him now than I needed before we were married?

Here are a few ways to become more independent and avoid being overly co-dependent of your partner. 

Re - Examine Yourself

Arguments happen. But they’re really a good thing. They allow you to reexamine what you believe in, why the arguing is taking place, and how to resolve issues. My husband and I agree on a lot of things. We also have differing opinions on plenty. I’ve learned to keep my opinions but still appreciate his. The respect is maintained and we’re still a unit …but with opposing views. This forces my independence. Which is good! I get to believe what I believe in and I get to respect his views as much as he respects mine.

Redefine Yourself

My husband is a firefighter. This means that for roughly half the week, I’m alone. I am a single parent in EVERY sense of the word. There is no one to fix things for me, to rescue me, or to help me. He’s out. He’s unavailable and out of service and rescuing other people. I am not who I am based on him being home! Nor, am I who I am based on when he’s gone. While my role shifts, from single to married every week (which takes its toll), this is a way to learn how to be comfortable with who I am in both roles. It’s taken time to figure this out, but it’s made me a stronger and better person.

Renew Yourself

There are times when I feel very alone and it’s through no fault of anyone. It’s the nature of two people living and going through things together. Life is busy. Kids crowd out peace and intimacy. My husband’s job keeps him away from me all the time. But, as much as I could focus on that, I don’t. Instead, I take these days away from him as time for me. Time to let me watch what I want to watch! I have the remote! I cook things I want to eat that he doesn’t always like to eat when home. I let God take care of me on these days. This time away actually renews me and makes me feel more me, more independent and a stronger woman for my husband when he comes home. In the end, I realize that there’s not a whole lot bad about this arrangement.

Refine Yourself

The great thing about hardships is realizing I don’t need to depend on him for everything. And I’m actually refined because of it. His absence sharpens me. It has allowed me to get rid of all the mushy, pudgy parts of myself and force me to be stronger, leaner, braver and more… me. I’m stronger with him because there are two of us. But even without him, I can be strong. Honing in on what’s not so good about me (complaining, nagging, etc) while he’s gone makes me a super-woman when he’s home.

Remind Yourself

If there was anything that grew me up, that showed me I could still love, honor and respect my husband and also be my own woman, it was believing that my husband couldn’t solve my problems. This is probably something everyone, male or female, goes through. We are human. But, my gosh. I shouldn’t place that burden on him! We can’t all fix everything. It’s unrealistic to think my husband can solve all my problems any more than I can solve all of his. Together, we’re the strongest. But separately, we too can figure things out.

Marriage is tricky. Finding balance is what we’re all after in all areas of our lives.

I have to think of myself as an independent person, who happens to love, live and give everything to the man I married. When I’m strong by myself, I’m even stronger with him. And tell me, what man isn’t going to be attracted to that?

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