The Secret To A Really Great Marriage? Acting Single
When people talk about how to make a marriage work, itâ€™s normally focused on you two acting as a teamâ€”communicating, planning, staying connected. And being a strong couple is undeniably important, but thereâ€™s another important aspect of marital advice thatâ€™s often neglectedâ€”and thatâ€™s about keeping up your individuality. Because the key to a happy marriage might be acting, well...single once in a while.
Acting a little single, even in a relationship, is seriously underrated. You get to feel like you havenâ€™t lost yourself in a relationshipâ€”and it can even make your marriage last longer. Marrying when slightly older is often linked to a lower divorce rate. Why? Well, one theory is that it has to do with having more security and wisdomâ€”which is probably true. But it also could have to do with the fact that older people generally have had time to develop their own separate livesâ€”lives that they donâ€™t trade in as soon as they get married. Being independent and having your own life benefits you and your relationship. Here are the reasons why acting single can be great for your marriageâ€”and how to do it.
Friendships Make You Healthier
Being married means acting as a unitâ€”but it shouldnâ€™t mean acting as a unit all the time. Having separate friends (and spending time with them) is so important. In fact, studies have shown that friends really can make you healthier and happier. â€śA long-term study of more than 6,500 Britons found that men and women who reported having 10 or more friendships at age 45 had significantly higher levels of psychological well-being at age 50, whatever their partnership status, than people with fewer friends,â€ť the New York Times reports.
â€śAnd two recent studies of nearly 280,000 people in almost 100 countries by William Chopik of Michigan State University found that friendships become increasingly vital to well-being at older ages. Among older adults, relationships with friends are a better predictor of good health and happiness than relations with family.â€ť So donâ€™t underestimate how much your friendships outside of your relationship can help your marriage.
Time Away Can Be Good For Your Relationship
And itâ€™s not just about having separate friendsâ€”spending time away from your partner can really help. That might mean traveling solo or it might just mean having your own hobbies, but taking some time away from your spouse has a lot of benefits. Missing them reminds you of what you love about themâ€”and youâ€™ll have more to talk about when you see each other. Spending all of your time together means thereâ€™s nothing new to share. So if you want to add some excitement back into your relationship, try taking some time away and then swap storiesâ€”itâ€™ll be worth it.
Independence Breeds Happiness
Plus, doing your own thing some of the time is crucial for your sense of self. You want to be fulfilled by and excited about your lifeâ€”and sometimes your needs are different than your partnerâ€™s. Maybe they love yoga and you just want to go out for cocktails. Thatâ€™s okayâ€”you can both get what you need if you spend a little time acting single. Youâ€™ll be happier for itâ€”and that happiness will translate into your relationship.
It Manages Expectations
Expectations are a relationship killerâ€”especially when it comes to marriage. Itâ€™s too easy to think that once we marry â€śthe one,â€ť this is the only person we need in our lives. But not one person can give you everything. Itâ€™s just not fair to expect that from them and youâ€™re bound to be disappointed. Keeping up your own life means youâ€™re getting different needs met by different people, so your spouse can focus on what they do bestâ€”being an amazing partner.
Itâ€™s Easier Than You Think
Acting single in a relationship isnâ€™t scaryâ€”itâ€™s actually really fun. If youâ€™re someone who spends a lot of time with your partner, you can start small. Go to an exercise class or a museum with friendsâ€”or pick a night where both of you socialize with different people. Youâ€™ll come back together and have great gossip. If you like that, you can start to dream biggerâ€”and maybe a trip with your girlfriends or a solo excursion wonâ€™t be far behind.
Being "single" in your marriage might sound counterintuitive, but it can really work. Just because youâ€™re now part of a unit doesnâ€™t mean you should sacrifice your individualityâ€”and spending all of your time together can actually hurt your marriage. Youâ€™ll lean on each other too much and, ultimately, blame each other if things go wrong. Instead, make sure that you keep yourself happy, healthy, and fulfilled. Because two happy people are what really makes a happy marriage.