Right before I was married, my husband and I went over to a close friend’s house to be with her as she waited with her little baby until her husband came home from work. Once he arrived home, he changed his clothes quickly and told his wife he was leaving to go be with some friends. His wife asked him to stay—nearly begged—but he chose to go. He decided his social life was more important than the time with his family. As we spent the night talking to our friend, we found out that this was a common occurrence, her husband choosing his friends over her.
I could tell you the outcome of their marriage, but you probably already figured it out.
Modern society makes us believe that there is a choice to be made: love or freedom. We hear jokes all the time about marriage being like a prison or our spouse being “the old ball and chain.” I have seen a countless number of TV shows where characters are scared of commitment because they don’t want to lose who they are. We are led to believe that marriage will be the end of our own individuality.
But I’m not buying it. What about changing the idea to love is freedom? Because that is the honest truth.
Studies on infant attachments show when a mothers and children have a strong attachment, the children become more independent and more confident in exploring the world around them.
I think this principle can be applied to couples as well. In a committed relationship, we create a safe and secure base that allows us still to be our individual selves while fulfilling our need for connection. In no better setting can we achieve both our need to be unique and our need to be loved.
When I was first married, I too struggled with the fear that I would never be my own individual again. But then I realized that my husband chose to marry me because he loved me for who I was, not for who I was trying so hard to be. He was the best and only person I could be my true self with and I shouldn’t hold back.
I decided to try and be the best person I knew I could be. I developed more self-esteem and confidence in my abilities. And I felt a deep peace with myself that I had not felt in a long time. I know this was possible because I felt safe with my husband and I knew I could be myself with no judgment. I became happier and was having more fun than I had before. And it was because I had someone who I loved and could share my thoughts, feelings and experiences with!