Before marriage, I wasn’t the slightest bit worried about no longer being independent. In fact, I was running from it. I wanted to share my life with the love that I had been waiting for and resign that ‘doing it alone’ label as quickly as possible. I had allowed that title to define me for way too long. I didn’t have the fear that I would somehow lose myself to my commitment… despite the countless opinions of others that said differently.
To the contrary, I found that having a healthy marriage actually gave me permission to embrace myself, create an authentic life, and the courage to start chasing my dreams. All situations are not the same, and not every woman is her best self in solitude. In some instances, like my own, there is strength found in marriage. The strength that is found through acceptance and in peace-of-mind. The kind of strength that allows you to not only find comfort in who you are but also to explore the woman that you are meant to be.
Here’s how to find your way and your independence despite your life-long commitment:
Be Secure in Your Own Space
On the weekend, I can either be found in my office working or binge watching something on Netflix – complete with a glass of wine, onesie, and snacks. On the other hand, my husband is content with catching up on CNN, watching sports or digging into a good book. Although we are similar in a lot of ways, we are also very different. When you understand that you are each unique individuals, with separate interests and preferences… you give each other permission to be true to yourself.
Confidence Flourishes with Support
Someone recently asked me what gave me the courage to resign from my career and pursue my passion. My answer: my husband. He encouraged me to pursue my dreams and stop making excuses. And, at times, when I have allowed fear to get in the way, he was that constant reassuring voice. Now, don’t get me wrong for some, that voice is a family member, your longtime friend or even your business bestie… but for me, it’s him.
Be a Good Catch
I often find myself staring at my husband and thinking, “Damn, I’ve got a good man.” But if I’m being honest, I feel that way about myself too – not to be confused with conceit, this is a testament to my confidence. In a strong, loving relationship, it’s important that each of you feels as though you struck gold.
When you present the best version of yourself and have the ability to stand on your own, you create the perfect scenario for your individual happiness and your collective love.
Leave Rigid at the Door
Being independent has its pros and its cons. You have to be willing to have a voice and communicate your needs to another, and at the same time be flexible with your expectations of them. You can’t simply make demands and expect them to be followed. Unlike in your single life, you’re not the only person to consider now. You have to be understanding that your partner is their own person, with experiences and expectations that may be different from yours.
Be Complete BEFORE the Wedding
The biggest mistake that most women make is thinking that their significant other should meet all of their social needs. We want them to be our everything from our best friend to our counselor. I’ll be honest, I could be stuck on a deserted island with my husband, and be happy for the rest of my life, but having such lofty expectations (in real life), is not only unrealistic, it’s also unhealthy. In order to truly flourish in marriage, you have to find fulfillment in yourself FIRST.
Throw out the notion of a perfect relationship. Decide instead to be open to a fun, positive, healthy and loving relationship, with someone that meets you where you are and pushes you to be your best self! Remember, he or she should add to your equation and make you a better person… but never complete you.