Time apart can strengthen a marriage!
Good luck finding a podcast, blog or marriage book that will give you that advice. But this idea can actually strengthen your marriage.
In the first year of marriage, couples naturally go into the honeymoon hole for about a year. It is a time when they are learning to be a couple. It is almost like they are in their own little world. It is a great time; everything is new and everybody is happy. The mistake that many couples make, however, is assuming that all activities must be done together. Spending time apart from each other can strengthen your marriage. Studies have found that depending on your spouse to fulfill all your needs doesn’t work. Neither spouse should try to be the be-all, end-all partner if you want your marriage to be strong and healthy.
Time for yourself refreshes your soul and enables you to be a better partner. The options for personal time are quite simple. It could be working out, reading a book, or relaxing in the bath. The quality of your alone time strengthens the quality of your together time. It is also true that healthy couples need other friendships and connections in their lives whether it be with other couples or in groups. Most couples find that community and friendships contribute to their overall health and happiness.
An easy way to find other friendships is within the small group concept, and they are all around you. Try your church, the YMCA, the library, the local coffee shop, a social club, or a sport activity. You will find people who have some of the same interests as you do. It could be a group of moms who like to run at the track on Saturday mornings or a group of guys who meet every week over breakfast. Small or life groups can be a source of encouragement and support. If the group makes you feel welcomed, challenged, and accepted, it makes you stronger and more confident in your personal life and in your marriage.
Most groups typically have 6 to12 people who just have something in common with each other. The group is large enough to create a community but not so big as to make someone feel like they are lost in the crowd. Meetings can be set on a regular basis or at least often enough to continue to be interesting and friendly. Your time together is when you develop a fellowship that turns into a camaraderie, a feeling of friendship and goodwill. When you have people supporting you, you feel better and your marriage is stronger.
This concept of spending time apart is not new. Before television came along, couples made it a point to find and include others in their lives.
Taking time for a life group develops a habit that produces growth in yourself and developing a community helps you come home refreshed after meeting together. Find a group that makes you feel welcomed, challenged, and accepted. A group that can support you through failures, help you face fears, and calm anxieties that worry you. When you find a good group, often you are open to share about your marriage. You begin to realize nobody's marriage is perfect and there is a community that wants to encourage you through hard seasons. At the heart of it, we don’t want to see anyone fail. Like watching a movie, we want people to win. In a group, that is often the dynamic. We cannot always see the things we need to work on, but we want those around us to do well and improve.
Being a part of a community of faith or a community of common interests will help to make your marriage union stronger.
You can find the people who want to see your marriage succeed they want to watch you grow. You will see your marriage come out better on the other side when you begin to build community to protect your marriage union.