A few weeks ago I curated an article from Michael Hyatt on ‘How to be your spouse’s best friend’. A few days ago, I found this article in Psychology Today by author Isadora Alman who has an interesting perspective and some good advice:
With any client’s first visit, usually presenting with some aspect of a relationship concern, I always review other aspects of their life – general health, the work he or she does and feelings about it, other people in their life (family, friends), what recreational activities are pursued, and if the person has enough time for him or herself. Almost always the answer to this last question is “no”. While all the other aspects of a life I ask about may have some bearing on a relationship issue, this last one always does.
Most of us these days lead frantic lives with demands for time coming at us from all directions. Priorities have to be assigned and almost always personal needs beyond the most basic of food and sleep are often swept aside. Even then, many people are not eating well or getting enough sleep so a half hour a day to simply take a deep breath of fresh air is just not there. Time to connect with a partner about how your day went or what’s on your mind in general is left, if it happens at all, to a few groggy moments before sleep takes over.
Let’s say, however, that one does manage to schedule a movie or a meal out. What if your partner prefers a different movie than the one you want to see, or a different type of restaurant food? What if he or she would prefer not to go to a movie at all but to a sports event or an art museum? Do you forego what you want for the sake of couple harmony? If so, no wonder you might be feeling lonely although coupled. You’re living your life via someone else’s choices rather than your own.
An oversimplification perhaps, but I strongly feel that you need to be your own best friend. Your own needs must be given some priority so that, as a fulfilled person, you can then be in a position to be more generous with your partner and others around you. If you’re feeling lonely and not getting the support, sympathy or help from your spouse that is the very definition of friendship, look elsewhere – for a friend, usually same sex, and not place that burden of such expectations entirely on your spouse. If you are feeling too much closeness within the coupled bonds, take what space you need for maximum enjoyment of life….and for maximum enjoyment of your partnership as well. Two people who each have their needs met, who take responsibility of fulfilling their own needs, will make much better and more interesting partners to each other.