As humans, we all have things that fulfill us. And as women, we spend our single days looking forward to the moment when our prince charming comes along and becomes everything we could ever hope for. While we are waiting, it feels like we kiss a million frogs until finally we grasp something worth holding on to.
If we choose right, our significant others become one of the things that fulfill us. But it is important to recognize that they cannot be the ONLY thing that fulfills us.
I very much so believe in the importance of making a man feel like a man. Cater to him. Cook him meals frequently. Be caring. Be a listening ear. Show your support in all his endeavors. Uplift him when he is weak. Be everything he needs.
But somewhere in there, don’t forget you.
Something for You
There is so much importance in having something that is for you. As wives, and even girlfriends, we devote a great deal of who we are to being the best we can be for our mates. I wholeheartedly believe that this endeavor is what makes for a successful relationship. In fact, successful relationships are all about each person giving 100% to the other.
However, just as important is self care. We’ve all heard the saying that you cannot pour from an empty cup, and it’s true.
Pouring into yourself in some way is the only way to fully devote 100% to your spouse without feeling strained or burning out.
Whether a stay at home mom or a corporate beast, one of the best ways to help your relationship is by doing something for you. That something can be heading up a community service committee or starting your own blog.
Whatever it is, it should be something that fulfills you and gives you your own purpose.
We all have an identity. Losing that identity to your relationship actually increases the probability of resentment, depression, and lack of self esteem.
Let’s Talk About Me
For the sake of giving applicable examples, I’ll use myself.
I fell madly in love with a pretty amazing guy and decided to say, “Yes” when he asked me to marry him. Marriage meant two overly ambitious people having hard talks about managing career expectations in a manner that suited both of us.
In the end, we decided that we would make my husband’s climb toward success a major vocal point for at least the first few years of our marriage (considering plan B should we encounter some horrific experience that prompts us to go a different route).
This decision meant I relocated (and agreed to relocate as frequently as necessary for his career opportunities). It also meant I had to navigate a new plan for achieving my own career goals. And finally, marrying someone who literally works every day of the week, and is also on call when he is at home, meant I needed to find something to busy myself.
Thankfully, I’ve Got Things to Do
Interestingly enough, people are not big on filtering their thoughts as it comes to someone else’s relationship decisions.
As such, I get lots of comments that sound something like this: “Wow! I just don’t know how you do it.” or “It must be hard being the one making all the sacrifices in your relationship.” To which I generally respond, “Honestly, I love my husband, but I have things to do.”
Without fail, saying, “I have things to do,” instantly raises an eyebrow.
But it’s true.
Relationships are all about compromise and sacrifice. And although to others it seems that I am “making all the sacrifices,” I know that I am not. My husband is actually making major sacrifices to be the type of provider he envisions for his home.
There is no way I can deny the work he puts into our marriage or put myself on a pedestal as the ultimate “sacrificer,” without acknowledging his sacrifice too.
Nonetheless, here I am away from friends and family – embarking on a whole new world for my man. And trust, my loyalty is precisely why I am so immensely spoiled by my husband.
Yet beyond being spoiled, maintaining my own level of independence is what keeps me in a good place to give him the love and attention he needs after a 12 hour day. This independence is what keeps me from being grouchy that he works a lot or annoyed when he is too tired to go lollygag with me.
In fact, maintaining independence actually strengthens our relationship overall. When he finishes a busy day of fulfilling his dreams and I finish a busy day of fulfilling mine, we are happy to use each other as a haven. No matter how tired we are, we are looking forward to “us” time.
It’s Not Just Me
I see a similar pattern with friends who make it a priority to do something for them.
Jess is a stay at home mom who decided to write a book. One book turned into two and as she worked on something for her, I noticed how bright she seemed to be over the last few times I saw her. Jess looks so happy and fulfilled. Her skin is glowing, her smile is wide, and she seems peaceful.
Sure, having a great husband and beautiful children doesn’t hurt. But overall, I see the difference being an author made in Jess’ countenance.
Writing is her thing. It’s what fulfills her and makes her proud of herself.
She, like me, is probably all about encouraging women to maintain personal fulfillment – here’s why.
Why Independence and Personal Fulfillment is important to Relationships
- Maintaining fulfillment outside of your relationship decreases the likelihood of smothering your spouse
In the words of my dad, “Let a man miss you sometimes.”
It’s hard to miss someone who is so engulfed in the relationship that they are constantly dependent on having undivided attention at all times.
We call these types of partners bug-a-boos. Instead of their presence being valued it is actually annoying.
In fact, I have literally listened to various men complain about their significant others for this reason on several occasions. It’s generally the same story- “I really love her, but man can she annoy the heck out of me blowing up my phone all day and being right on my heels everywhere I go.”
To the contrary, when you pursue at least one thing you are passionate about, it decreases dependence and provides fulfillment that occupies your time. The result is that you are less clingy. And less clingy is more appealing to your man.
There are nothing like moments when my husband walks through the door as I am glued to my computer and says, “It’s so sexy to see you focused in like that.” It makes me feel good that he is proud of me. And I’m sure it makes him feel good to know he doesn’t have the pressure of constantly trying to pacify me throughout his day.
- Maintaining fulfillment outside of your relationship prevents idol thoughts
Isn’t it amazing how our minds can wonder when we have nothing to do? We start thinking the most random thoughts, don’t we?
I’ve always heard that, “An idol mind is the devil’s playground.” Based on my own experiences, I’d say that’s a pretty accurate statement.
A lot of the problems in our relationships stem from thoughts that have grown in our head over time. Sometimes these thoughts are on point and other times these thoughts are the result of engaging in idol thinking for too long.
I once thought my husband was breaking up with me when he was really planning a surprise. Why? – Idol thoughts and nothing to do.
I truly believe in woman’s intuition. Sometimes you just get a feeling. But in other instances, you’ve just got too much free time on your hands.
- Maintaining fulfillment outside of your relationship increases self esteem
As wives, we do a lot! We go the extra mile in hopes of a certain reaction from our spouse. When our spouses fail to respond how we expect them to, we are let down because they didn’t properly esteem us.
Don’t get me wrong, esteem from your spouse is an important component of any relationship.
Oh, but there is nothing like when I am proud of myself. I love, “I did it” moments. Those moments make me walk a little more upright and smile a little harder.
Esteem yourself sometimes.
Do something that makes you proud to be a woman.
The confidence you carry over from that moment is sexy to your husband. It will catch his attention more than whining about the things he doesn’t notice. At least, it will spark his curiosity about the difference in your mood. When I feel good about me, I feel good about being good to my husband. And that my friends, makes all the difference.
Challenge yourself to add dimension to your life which results in self fulfillment throughout your relationship. Be a good spouse, but also be good to your inner self.
This post is not intended to force stay-at-home moms to get a traditional day job or to imply that your husband does not have an obligation to make sure he is fulfilling your needs. However, no one is more responsible for your care than you are.
Make yourself proud.
Even if you stay home, do something that is just for you.
Life can become pretty miserable when it’s all about waiting- waiting for him to come home, waiting for a response, waiting for him to notice.
Take note of yourself.
What makes you happy? What could you do for free that would make your day?
Whatever that thing is, get to it.
I guarantee you’ll both appreciate it.