Tuesday, June 11, 2013

"Honey, I Need Some Space"-- Why Some "Me" Time Might Be Just What You Need

When you're dating and he or she calls you out of the blue and says "Honey, I need some space" It usually means its the beginning of the end of the relationship. But after you are married it is totally different. Learning how to give your spouse space doesn't mean the end of close cuddly conversations or romantic movie nights. It doesn't mean you are saying bye-bye to your snuggle buddy.

However much you love your work, you still need a vacation. However much you love your family, you still need some time alone. People tend to feel guilty about taking time for themselves. Perhaps they wouldn't if they realized that doing so gave them more energy to devote to the ones they love.  Not to mention that this is an important aspect of your spouses sanity!

I remember while staying at my sister's place, she would occasionally go out on Sunday afternoon. One day I told her I wanted to go with her because I thought it had to be somewhere very exciting. Reluctantly, she agreed and told me to  take something to read so I hopped into the car, only for her to drive 10 minutes away to a quiet restaurant, order a drink, and start reading the novel she had been reading all week.When I asked her quizzically "For real, this is it?" she was like "Yeah, this is how I get my space, I'm home all day, everyday with the children, after a while you feel suffocated you even start thinking like a child. These few hours are "My Space".At the time she was a stay at home mum with 3 little ones. It is human nature to end up feeling imprisoned by the sense of being permanently glued to another person or persons. To be whole, it is important for all of us to feel autonomous as well as attached.

Defining Space
When one of you says you need some space, what type of space are you asking for?
  • Creative space
  • Quiet space
  • Working space
  • Emotional space
  • Fun space
  • Away space
  • Financial space
Of course, all of this must be discussed, this must be a friendly, caring discussion; don't go into such a discussion with a chip on your shoulder about your wants and needs, or repressed anxiety, or a general seriousness about "our relationship has to be like this or else" that really serves as an ultimatum. These types of negative approaches will simply give rise to fears of rejection and will cause the conversation to be filled with self-defensive tactics that will not change anything. 

Vanetta Chapman writes in Christianity Today that "When couples dedicate themselves to allowing each other the space and outside interests they need, they have stronger marriages. According to Dr. James Dobson the one factor that's done more damage to families than any other is 'fatigue and time pressure, which leaves every member of the family exhausted and harried.' One way to avoid that trap of exhaustion is to allow each other some time alone."

 Having your own space gives you time for self-realization, quiet moments to exchange thoughts with yourself, time to re-energize, regroup, and reconnect. If the space needed is emotional, then don't chatter on when your mate is reading a book, or has asked for a quiet evening.

I suggest you give one another a day off several times a month and even schedule it . This means that the spouse with the day off is free from responsibilities concerning the kids and the house. I hope that by understanding and respecting each of your unique Alone Time needs, the time you spend together will become that much more special, loving, impassioned and delightful.

Ijeoma Olujekun

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