The importance of personal space

Last February my husband and I were having a most difficult challenge in our marriage. We ended up having a short separation that lasted about 6 weeks. During the majority of this time I wasn’t sure if we would be together after he returned.

I had originally planned to go with him on a trip to visit his family, we only got to see them once every year or two. It had become clear to us both that we needed some time apart, so I stayed home. After he left I came to realize that home didn't feel good either. I was surrounded by the life we had created together, and it was too painful  to stay there alone. So I booked an Airbnb and took off for a five day retreat. I totally unplugged and created a sacred space to be only with myself. I had to have some separation from our life together and from my normal routine in order to tune deeply into myself and clarify what I needed and wanted for me as a woman, and for us as a couple.

During my personal retreat time I went through many waves of emotions and experiences. I had dreams about my old relationships and journaled about them. I wrote a list of things that brought me joy. I went to a store and bought toys and a little play guitar and bubbles. I played drums and guitar, did yoga and a four day juice cleanse. I sang, danced and cried. I spent time in the ocean, the mountains and mineral springs, my spirit was really freeing itself.

Then I had a huge revelation about myself and my marriage. Our relationship was suffering because I had become too dependent on it. I realized that I needed this personal retreat time for my spirit on a regular basis. I realized that the suffering I was experiencing in my marriage was coming from making my marriage my whole life, and not having enough balance with my personal and alone time. I saw and journaled a pie chart and realized that only one piece of that pie was our marriage, but in reality I was making our marriage the whole pie. The pressure was building and about to break us apart. I then realized that I loved my husband but I didn't really need him. He is a piece of my life that I consciously choose, and I needed to make amends for putting so much pressure on us as a couple.

When he came home I told him my realizations and that I was choosing to be with him because I love him and believe that we can make a beautiful life together. I was no longer in fear that if I lost him my life would be over. It was never said, but I believe that a lot of the pressure released during that time apart helped save us from divorce.  Soon after that, we made a vow to schedule personal time apart from each other every year and make time for ourselves on personal vacations and occasional weekends, in addition to our regular vacations and free time together.