Many of us enter marriage anticipating working together as a team. But, how do we work together with our spouse and maintain our own voice, opinions and perspectives. This certainly can be challenging for many couples…to find this balance of togetherness and individuality. Those first few years of marriage are often a time of discovery and you and your partner may have different ideas of what togetherness and individuality look like. Success in marriage depends on finding a healthy middle ground, maintaining closeness as you search for these answers together, while holding onto one’s self.
As with anything in life – balance and moderation is the goal.
As you build a pattern of togetherness and individuality in your marriage, you will notice that you bring with you the very things your own family of origin emphasized as you were growing up. You are blending two very different models of home life – some families prefer closeness while others may have been strengthened by spending time in individual needs and activities. You and your spouse may have to find a new way that works for your new home.
Remember – this is a process as you come together as a couple and there will be times of struggle but here are some simple strategies for striking that delicate balance:
1. Relationships outside of your marriage – It is important to find the right balance in marriage when it comes to couple friends versus single friends. There may be some social adjustments so that you and your spouse both have your friendship needs met as a couple and as individuals. Your marriage will have its own social schedule in a sense – look for ways to nurture that in addition to your own personal friendships.
2. Time Spent Wisely – It is a challenge in such a frantically busy world to stay close. We are faced with busy work lives, parenting duties, and the daily-ness of life. It can be easy to fall into patterns of non-communication in the midst of it all. Research suggests that even 10 minutes of focused communication, eye contact and physical closeness a day can help you feel more connected to your partner.
3. Greet each other – Successful couples make their reunions at the end of the day meaningful. Give each other some attention at the end of each day and the end of each week. Create a ritual that you enjoy that allows you to reconnect.
4. Be Direct – Always be clear with yourself and your partner about your needs and wants. If you crave more time together – tell your partner rather than assume they know this. If you need some time apart – ask for it.
5. Conflict Resolution – Try to treat your differences and disagreements as things to be managed as a team while at the same time giving each other space to have your individual feelings and thoughts.