You Can’t Be Together All the Time – Respecting Your Husband’s Space

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Something I deeply treasure in our marriage is the time we spend together.  Whatever season we’re in, whether there is ample amount of time, or barely enough time to reconnect, I truly do value that sense of togetherness.

When we were dating and in college, some of our mutual friends joked that we were attached at the hip, they said they never saw us by ourselves – we went everywhere together, did everything as a couple, and tried to see each other as much as humanly possible.

When we were first married, I heard the term co-dependent and worried that we’d fallen into that relational category because of how much we loved to spend time together.

Co-Dependent -a psychological condition or a relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition (as an addiction to alcohol or heroin); broadly:  dependence on the needs of or control by another

 

Obviously, we weren’t co-dependent at all.  In reality, we were both growing into our own persons, becoming inter-dependent, and inspiring each other to reach our own individual goals.  My husband went back to school with a renewed attitude after marriage, and was driven with an inspired purpose.  His grades reflected the change – he was suddenly making all A’s and loving his progress in knocking out classes.

We energized each other, and encouraged each other to succeed.

But even in all this togetherness, there was still a lot of times where we would not be so attached at the hip.

There were many nights where we would relax and be in the same vicinity, but doing completely different things.  Myself reading a book or the beauty magazine, Allure, while my husband read his own book or played his game console.  Both focused on other things, but still under an umbrella of love and treasuring each other.

There were still many times where we would read together – to each other even, but it was in these times of separateness that the comfort and relaxation of just knowing that we were there for each other, being quiet and immersed in our own interests, a sense of confidence in our relationship emerged.

I once knew a woman my age that had just gotten married, complain that she was sitting on the couch watching her husband play his game console, and had the incredible urge to throw it across the room.

She was angry that he wasn’t spending time with her in that moment, and maybe in some ways she was lacking intimacy in their marriage.  But this controlling neediness from women to always be the focus of their man, is something that drives relationships into the ground.

Couples need time where they are by themselves, and men in particular, seem to need to be alone or with other men, even when they’re crazy about the woman they love.

There are times when my husband will get off work at night, and instead of come straight home to me, he stays to talk and laugh with his friends there, or goes to visit friends and past co-workers for awhile.  He misses them, and visiting with them, even though it takes away a little of our couple time, gives him so much fulfillment.

Sometimes he’s talking about his work, even asking their ideas and opinions on things he faces, or they’re telling horrible jokes that would make me blush or faint, but this time is his and his alone.  It is not meant for me to intrude upon, or to make him feel guilty for.  He needs that time with others, other men and even a few women who add an overall deeper meaning to his life experience that I alone can’t provide.  When he does come back to me, he’s usually glowing with the happiness of getting to be with these crazy people, and can’t wait to tell me what’s going on in their own lives, or the dirty jokes they shared LOL.

Do I miss him when he stays out later to be with these other people he loves?  Of course, but he needs them… they add to his life.

Men need their own time to get away, to recharge, to become energized.  I remember growing up my mom told me about Abraham Lincoln’s wife.  She was apparently, an extremely jealous woman, who hated allowing Lincoln to spend time with anyone else, especially another woman, and it was hard on him because he was naturally friendly and very people-orientated.  My mom used her as an example of the ugliness of jealousy in a woman, and how she can use it to control and manipulate her husband’s time and his life.  She told me that Lincoln was sad about his wife’s character flaw, and paid the price for it by having less enriched relationships with other people in his life in an effort to keep her happy.  A woman like that makes her man have to keep her happy, or she’ll try to make him miserable, or throw his game console against the wall to get his attention.  She’s allowing her emotions rule their relationship (and rule her husband) and coming from a place of jealousy that’s inspired by insecurity.

Women need their time alone as well, there have been so many times throughout our marriage when I’ve been grateful for the time spent away with other women friends when we gathered together for talking at the park with our kids, or Bible study, or even going out together.  There is something that I get from them that my husband cannot (and probably should not) try to provide for me, simply because they’re women – we connect at a different level and share experiences that men don’t understand.

You just can’t be together all the time.

Men seem to respect that women have their hobbies or girly activities, it’s women like Lincoln’s wife that don’t seem to get that men also need their space – their time to relax and spend time with friends.

It’s good to respect our husband’s space, to let him have the hobbies he loves – reading, writing, hunting, baseball, game-playing, visiting friends, or whatever it may be.

Respect his space, be interdependent.

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13 thoughts on “You Can’t Be Together All the Time – Respecting Your Husband’s Space

  1. Jon describes the time spent in the same room in silence as “doing different things together”. He finds it pleasant and reassuring to have me around, but sometimes he just wants quiet, or to play a game, or to read a book. I never noticed how much he liked it until he mentioned it. And four and a half years in I still get the same comment every few months “I like how we can just sit here and do our own thing and still be together”.

  2. The photo is from a fitness website, but I thought it kind of looked like us a little 😀 Awww I’m so glad that we remind you of your relationship – makes me so happy!

    Yea, our college friends were sick of the togetherness LOL… I think we had too much PDA, too. Love your comments, Liz, thank you for reading here ❤

  3. That’s almost verbatim what my husband says as well!!!!!

    More proof that men really need that right? They don’t want to be smothered, just like women don’t want to be (smothering beta behavior anyone?).

  4. This was an amazing read and glad to see someone that get’s this! I think it should be in a magazine for everyone to read.

    I’ve had this situation where I am drawing or going to play games and suddenly would be verbally attacked that I am not paying attention or whatnot to my gf at the time. Im luckily not faced with that with my current gf.

    People definitely need to grow together as well as independently to mature and be better for each other. Otherwise that’s asking to get stuck in a rut of a relationship.

    Thank you for the read!

  5. I have this theory: the men and women who want to be smothered are the “Betas” and they don’t want to be smothered by each other.

    The Beta male smothers because he wants smothering, because he wants a mommy figure with Jessica Rabbit’s looks to care for him and pander to him. And he smothers his girl in THE SAME WAY he wants to be smothered: food, cuddles, gifts.

    The Beta female smothers because she wants to be smothered, because she wants a hunky Johnny Bravo who will jealously protect and obsess over her. And she smothers the way she wants to be smothered: with overprotectiveness, jealousy and dominance displays.

    They’re basically trying to give their partner a clue by acting out the role they want their partner to act. They’re badly suited to each other, but, as you said, two sides to the same coin. A match made in Hell.

  6. Reblogged this on Biblical Gender Roles and commented:
    This is a great post by DragonFly and so needed in marriage. Abraham Lincoln’s wife being so needing and jealous is a great example of what not to be as a wife.

    While husbands and wives definitely need to talk,have sex and give each other quality time – that does not mean we have be spending every moment staring into each other’s eyes or talking or even having sex.

    We and we should be able to have our friends(both husbands and wives) – I think this makes it better when we do come back together for quality time.

  7. I love that phrase “doing different things together”. Sometimes it should be good enough just to be in the same room together even if you are both just reading books or surfing online on your laptops or tablets.

    Obviously there is always the danger that this what you ALWAYS do and you don’t talk, have sex or actually interact and that is the other extreme. But the Christian life is about finding balance and we as husbands and wives should not think that we have to fill every moment with words or hanging all over one another.

  8. Great post! We do this often and my husband always comments that he loves us doing our own thing together. I think alone time is very healthy in marriage.

  9. I definitely struggle with this. After reading a lot of manosphere blogs, I’ve had to realize that my husband doesn’t want to be my friend, and it’s a role that I can’t fulfill for him. Now that we’re married, this means that when we’re both home I usually don’t see him unless it’s dinner time, or if he wants to watch something together on TV. When he feels like spending time with me – I love it. When he doesn’t, I think I just need to be more comfortable with respecting his space. Thanks for helping me put that into perspective 🙂

  10. Hi CH, I definitely think being your husband’s friend is good! My husband and I are seriously best friends… But at the same time,I’m just not a man…. He needs his male friends just as much as he needs my friendship. And it’s the same vice versa- that he can’t be a woman… And I need women friends in my life because they add so much to it!!! Where would I be without female friends I set don’t know. But my point was not that your husband’s doesn’t need your friendship,rather tha t he needs his space and male hobbies or guy time. Hope that makes sense!

  11. What about going to bed at separate times. One of my favourite things about boing married is going to bed together, sharing my bed with my husband. Recently he has said that he was to go to bed at different times, maybe him stay up and watch TV or play games and this really upset me. Thoughts please?

  12. Hi Jobson, that’s one of my favorite things to do as well, going to bed at the same time. But my husband works a schedule that prevents that 5 nights out of the week unless I stay up extra late, and even then, being a Police Officer, he doesn’t always get to come home on time. And sometimes, like I think I mentioned in this post, he really does need to talk to his people at work or his friends in order to kind of come down from the high adrenaline rush from work. It also helps him process different things he encountered or is a time where he’s told me he gets to ask questions from the older veterans who know more.

    I’m not sure what to tell you about him wanting to go to bed at other times (and I saw your other comment about him having a lower sex drive 😦 ). Pushing him to do what you want him to do (when he’s already told you what he prefers especially) is only going to make him pull away from you more. That much I do know about most men. I know for my husband, sometimes staying up later playing a video game actually helps him decompress. Do you think maybe that’s the case with your husband?

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