“The ticket to a long-term and fulfilling union is for each person to have time to pursue passions outside of their relationships and domestic duties,” says Iris Krasnow in her book The Secret Lives of Wives.
Well, I couldn’t agree with her more.
I began reading this book fairly recently and found myself completely in awe with the fact that it seems our society is finally beginning to get “it.”
I grew up with an old-fashioned, pretty ignorant (I mean this in the most loving way possible, he really just couldn’t think outside the box) father who would preach the importance of “becoming one” within a union or marriage. “You must share everything and know everything and agree on everything,” he used to say.
I remember hearing the arguments echo down the halls with the constant repetition of “we are one.” Well, no dad, you guys aren’t “one”; you are two whole individuals who have two entirely separate belief systems, values, morals, wants, needs, and desires.
However, I must say, being a unified front when it comes to children and major life decisions remains one of the key factors to successful parenting and union.
Krasnow touches on the lives of several women who have been married for over 40 years telling their stories and most intimate secrets as to how they made their marriages work. This has been a great read, but most importantly, I have found it to be refreshing and liberating.
For a long time I have avoided the dreadful concept of long-term relationships and marriage in my own personal life due to the fear of “becoming one” with someone. For years I have been waiting for us as a society to embrace the notion that time separate from your husband or wife is crucial to the success of your marriage. I had this immense fear that whomever I fall in love with would have the same unrealistic demands and expectations as I witnessed growing up since that is just how everyone seemed to think.
This notion that you have to spend every waking minute together and do everything together which in turn only lead to insecurities, jealous, and pretty serious separation anxiety. So, I just avoided it entirely. It took me a little while to realize that although many people are still stuck in this 18th century mentality, many have also realized its many counter productive ways. All hope for me is not lost after all.
When Krasnow stated “…many of the happiest wives need stretches of time away from their husbands, time alone in which to remember and celebrate who they are and the autonomy of their souls” it was like is music to my ears.
Obviously I hate to be apart from my partner and I want to do many things with her, but having my autonomy and embracing my own personal desires and passions are imperative to my own happiness, which brings me to the next secret of a successful marriage, relationship, or union.
The expectation that another person can make you happy is nothing but a short-lived “honeymoon” phase and mentality. For as long as we depend on our husbands, wives, girlfriends, boyfriends, partners, friends, family, dogs, cats, fish, cars, or clothes to make us happy… we will NEVER be satisfied.
One comes with the other, autonomy and independence comes with personal satisfaction and happiness and thus erases emptiness and voids expectations. Expectations are our biggest demise. If you are unhappy in your marriage, turn inward. Figure out what YOU can do to make YOURSELF happy because even if he or she does that ONE thing you need them to do to be happy, there will just be another “thing” that you need, because that internal self-fulfillment is not there.
Stop waiting and stop expecting someone else to make you happy and enjoy your moments and live your OWN life. He or she will either fall in or fall out, and most of the time they fall in. Now I’m not encouraging anyone to become the depiction of self centered or selfish, but start doing what you need to do for YOU, all within reason. The mere fact that the expectation, blame, and the nagging diminishes in your relationship due to self-fulfillment will allow for a more joyous and pleasant attitude from both parties.
So, basically, take time to YOURSELF… lots of it.
Want more tips on how to improve your relationship and take your love to a new level? Schedule an appointment to speak to one of our Loving Life Team members.