How many times have we heard that you lose part of yourself when you get married? Marriage is wonderful, but no one wants to lose the person that they have worked so hard to become.
Maybe we're waiting longer and longer to get married because we want to be sure of who we are before we jump into a shared life with someone else. We all want to be the best spouse. We want our marriage to have as many opportunities as possible. We want to be a smiling, happy-go-lucky person so we wait before tying the knot.
Marriage is about having a partner to achieve goals with and having the chance to grow together as a couple ... but you can still figure yourself out without losing that strong connection with your spouse. Remember these six guidelines and you'll be able to enjoy a journey of self-discovery while still keeping your marriage strong:
Part of any self-discovery journey is figuring out who you are in many different situations; remember to let your spouse help you realize who you are becoming. Just don't constantly depend on them reminding you how great you are.
When your sense of identity starts to change, involve your spouse. As a couple, realize that change is going to happen as you start a life together. You both will be shaped by shared experiences, but if you are working together as partners, these changes will shape both of you for the better.
2. Remember that they are on their own journey
Sometimes we play the victim card when we are doing hard things. It seems like everyone else's life is easy and we are the only ones struggling. This mindset is especially detrimental to a marriage. To allow your marriage and your sense of identity to flourish during hardships, remember that your spouse is also struggling with their own trials.
Work to support each other instead of thinking you have the harder road.
3. Don't bring up divorce
Maybe in the moment it might seem easier to go at it alone, but it will always be easier with your spouse by your side. When you are struggling with something (especially a lost sense of identity) the worst thing you can do is offer an idea that you actually don't want. In your journey of self-discovery, realize that your spouse and your marriage is an integral part of who you are; don't abandon that piece.
Whether it's crafts or sports or service, part of self-discovery happens when you are doing what you know you love. Find projects you can do by yourself and projects you can do with your spouse. You'll build your confidence and a stronger connection with your love by accomplishing projects together.
If your life feels like it's spinning out of control, decide to take back control. Keep a rigid morning routine, carve out time to exercise, find out a meal plan you can stick to and just live a structured life. Having such a disciplined schedule will allow you to accomplish goals and regain control of your time.
Talk to your spouse and let them help you decide what schedule will work best for the both of you. Find a schedule that allows you and your spouse to go to bed together and eat certain meals together. Encourage each other to keep that schedule and help each other accomplish the goals you two have made.
When you take back control you will be able to see what is really important to you and discover what you want for your life. You will be making decisions instead of letting things just happen - a crucial key to the self-discovery journey.
6. Find time to be quiet
We all need time to ponder. Find time every day (it only needs to be about 15 minutes) to put your phone down and clear your mind. In these quiet moments, practice breathing exercises or bring a pad of paper and write down all your thoughts. Mental clarity will bring more focus to your life and let yourself be more at peace with who you are.
Self-discovery can seem scary, but you don't have to do it alone. You can work with your spouse to find who you are and become a better person than you thought possible.
Christa is a part time photographer, part time writer and full time lover of life. She loves eating chocolate chip cookies and singing (but not at the same time). She has her degree in political science.