"Me" Time in Marriage
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I enjoy being with my husband, but I also need "me" time. He doesn't really understand, though. How do I explain that to him without hurting his feelings?
My short answer: welcome to marriage—to the beautiful, hard, life-changing, frustrating, wonderful thing that it is to be in a marriage relationship.
My marriage has shaped and transformed me in a thousand ways. But what I'm finding is that while we do change along the way—we rub off on each other, we compromise, we learn from each other—there is still an essential self that we bring to the marriage, and it doesn't—and shouldn't—change much.
I'd put the need for "me" time in that category. I imagine you needed alone time when you were a little girl, and when you were in high school, and at every point along the way before you were married. That's how God made you. And moving into a committed relationship with your husband doesn't change the way God made you.
It sounds as if your husband needs less alone time than you do, though, and that sometimes he takes that need of yours personally, as though you don't want to be with him, or that you need something he can't give you.
On one hand it's great that he wants to spend time with you. I know couples who are married but seem to live and do everything separately! So it's important to acknowledge your gratitude for his desire to be with you. But it's also important for you to share your need—before you get so "me" time depleted that you explode!
My marriage is the opposite: I'm an extreme extrovert married to an equally extreme introvert, so that means I need a lot more relational time than he does, and he needs a lot more alone time than I do.
What helps us is talking about these differences in terms of our natures—the way God made us, the non-negotiable identities planted in each of us a long time ago. As with almost any marriage issue, conversation and storytelling helps so much. If you can tell stories that allow him to understand how it feels to crave that much needed alone time, that might help. If he can find language for how it feels to need more connection and relational time, that might help.
Some people think that all of our relational needs should be met in the context of marriage, but that's not what I've seen, and not how it works for us. My husband, Aaron, meets some of my relational needs. But I spend a lot of time with girlfriends, with my parents, and with my cooking club. Aaron needs fewer friends and more depth of conversation, while I like to maintain a wide circle of friendship with varying levels of intimacy.
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