Your partner needs space to grow as an individual.
Stop the presses! We've discovered the most important ingredient of a successful marriage! And do you know what it is? The answer is . . . (drum roll, please) . . . alone time!
Successfully married couples around the world over our past 30+ years of interviews have told us this very simple truth during our interviews with them — the secret to their happy marriage is having time for themselves ... time alone with their own thoughts, their own meditations, their own self, in their own physical space.
Isn’t this an interesting notion? You can take this advice to the bank! Here’s why ...
If there is one thing we know is true, a successful marriage requires your contentment with yourself. Only those capable and willing to spend time alone can describe themselves as content with themselves.
If you can’t live comfortably in your own skin, it's difficult to share yourself authentically and fully with someone else. Being content with oneself is essential to a healthy, happy, and successful relationship with another human being.
There are many lessons to learn from this notion of healthy aloneness nurturing marriage, but the most important are:
- Learn to live within your own skin. Liking you comes first. Liking yourself allows you to develop positive relationships with others. Work on this notion as if your marriage depended on it!
- Respecting your own need for privacy and aloneness is an important first step in building a loving relationship with your spouse. There is a fundamental predisposition of every human being to have time alone. Recognizing and understanding that need in yourself and your spouse is a huge step towards building a love that lasts.
- Aloneness is not a bad word! Spending time alone is good for everyone. Not recognizing this need is highly detrimental to your relationship with the one you love. Learn this lesson well. If you never give yourself or the one you love alone time, you willingly harm your own relationship.
- Don't smother each other. So often when we've spoken to couples who split up, they say, "My spouse suffocates me!" The meaning of suffocation in a nutshell — I had no time to my own thoughts, my own being, and my own feelings. My spouse did not respect my need to know and grow into myself. The suffocation destroyed our marriage!
- The need for alone time is universal. Successfully and happily married couples around the world report this "truth" to us repeatedly and overtly. This notion is not an American thing. It is not a European thing. It is not an Asian thing. The secret ingredient for the best marriages around the world is to respect the need for privacy and aloneness in yourself and in the one you love. Never forget it! All truly successful marriages place this need at their foundation.
Give your life’s partner the gift of privacy and aloneness. Your marriage will not regret it. Love well!
For marriage advice and hundreds of practical tips, read the best-selling and multiple-award winning book Building a Love that Lasts (Jossey-Bass/Wiley). Available wherever books are sold. Learn more about America's #1 Love and Marriage Experts.