I received a message from a young woman asking if it’s wrong for her to want her husband to do everything with her.
She believes that a young couple should be together as much as they can, and wants to do everything with her husband – even if he just keeps her company while she does stuff.
But her husband doesn’t agree. He’s tired when he gets home from work and doesn’t want to follow her around while she does stuff.
Her argument is that after work is the only time they get to see each other.
Now, I believe the underlying issue prompting this woman’s question is that she feels she’s not getting enough time with her husband, period. And that, they should talk about.
But let’s answer the bigger, more general question:
How much time pursuing separate interests is healthy?
Should married couples do everything together?
The short answer is yes and no.
Every couple has to find a balance of time together and time apart for themselves – and it’s going to be different for each couple.
Let’s dive into the longer answer:
Couples should do things together. Common interests and pursuits hold a couple together, creating memories that make them feel connected. If a couple gets into the habit of each doing their own thing they will soon drift apart.
It’s great to make sacrifices sometimes and do something with your spouse because they enjoy it, but be sure that most of the time you do things that you both enjoy.
If you do do something together that only one of you is interested in, be sure that the one who is not a fan is choosing to be involved and taking an interest for their partner’s sake.
While it’s essential for couples to do stuff together, it’s also good for each one to do things on their own.
Relationships need a healthy amount of space to remain healthy.
Personal time allows each spouse to pursue their own interests or just relax. It allows each one to maintain their individual identities.
If you are only ever together your relationship could stagnate. But having individual interests and healthy interactions with others is stimulating, and it’s good to bring that energy and life back into your relationship.
How much time apart is too much? That will depend on each couple. Be sensitive to any erosion of the relationship and communicate about it regularly.
Expecting your spouse to be everything to you and to meet all your needs is a great burden to place on him or her and they may begin feeling smothered.
It’s a sign of maturity when a person can accept that their spouse needs some time alone. Learn not to take offense if your husband or wife expresses their need for individual time.
In a healthy relationship, time apart will bring fresh energy into your relationship.
The amount of time spent together and apart will be different for each couple. Find a balance that suits you. The key is for both of you to be happy with the amount of time you spend together.
If you are not getting enough time together, make adjustments so that you can – marriage is give and take on both sides. One spouse may need to adjust their attitude, the other their schedule or vice versa.
This is one of those relationship dynamics that has to be solved through repeated communication because needs change. Learn to express your needs clearly, without belittling, accusing, or nagging.
If you feel that your need for time together is not being met, talk about it with your spouse. Work together to find a balance that you are both comfortable with.
Not talking about unmet needs will create resentment, and resentment is a marriage killer.
Too much time together will stifle your relationship; too much time apart will create distance between you. Finding the healthy balance that works for you is what makes a marriage successful.
Do you have enough time together and apart as a couple? How can you improve? What can you do differently?