My husband and I are joined at the hip—figuratively speaking. If we’re in the house at the same time, both of our phones ring when someone calls. We know each other’s passwords for everything—we share all bank accounts. At one time we even shared a facebook account (it was my account that I allowed him to use) until he got tired of all of my rules (i.e., no posting, no commenting, etc.) and made an account of his own.
This closeness didn’t happen by accident; When we first got married, we moved away from our families and worked out of our home for six years. With no one to lean on but each other, we created an impenetrable bond. That was great in most instances, but it certainly wasn’t in all. From my perspective, I became what I would say now, was too dependent on my husband in unhealthy ways.
I remember once I was at a yard sale with a friend and found this beautiful, antique bike with one of those old-school banana seats—I instantly fell in love! I purchased it and was eager to start riding, but hated the idea of riding alone. So, I encouraged Des to buy a bike too—he did one better and bought new bikes for us both. The only problem was he would never ride. I had to make the decision to either go out and ride without him, or forgo something I really loved. With much trepidation and even more anxiety I chose the former–that choice changed my whole world. With each solo ride I got stronger and more confident, okay again with the company of just myself.
From there I branched out even more—I joined clubs and groups with women who enjoyed the same things as me. Eventually I got so comfortable doing things without Des that he sometimes feigned jealousy, but I knew he didn’t really care; he was just happy that I was finally enjoying myself without him having to be tortured, for the both of us it was a win!
It’s been almost ten years since then and I’m still leaving Des behind. Just the other day we were out walking—he’d obliged when I asked, but I could tell he really didn’t want to go. About fifteen minutes into the walk, he pronounced his husbandly obligation was fulfilled. I acquiesced, gave him a kiss, and continued walking by myself!
I realize for some women this may seem trivial: they may not have ever struggled with carving their own identity in a marriage, but I also know there are many women who do. To them I say it’s okay—if your relationship is strong, trust it enough to know that you can leave a spouse behind in certain situations and everything will be just fine. Doing your own thing sometimes is not only healthy, it benefits your spouse as much as it does you!