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Sherry Amatenstein is a New York City-based marriage therapist and author. Here, she shares her top tips on how to maintain a sense of self in your married life.
The intensity of wedding planning and beginning a life together can lead to the sensation of the two of you being one person; of your thoughts, feelings and needs magically aligning in every sphere...Enjoy this stage.
Ultimately the best way to stay a happy twosome is by nurturing the "me" you were before morphing into a "we." Otherwise, there is a danger of looking to your husband to be your everything — partner, parent, cook, bottle-washer, authority figure and slave ... In that way lies disappointment and heartache — an arid desert of a relationship.
The more the two of you can bring to the marriage, the more the marriage can thrive and grow. Your individuality is what makes you endlessly fascinating to one another.
Kassandra Dasent shares, "When my husband and I married on October 12, 2012, we faced a major challenge as newlyweds. For a little over a year I lived in Canada; he was in New York City."
A plus side of living and loving long-distance was that when the two were together they made every moment count. Says Kassandra, "We live together permanently now and it's wonderful. But spending our first year of marriage apart helped us establish a solid balance of wanting to spend time together while continuing to encourage each other to go places solo or go out with friends."
See More: 4 Mistakes Every Newlywed Couple Makes
No need to do something as drastic as living apart to establish this healthy, yin yang dynamic. Instead:
Don't marginalize your friendships: Make time for the female buddies who were so much a part of your single life. This doesn't mean bar hopping on Friday nights but it should mean regular phone calls and/or Skype sessions, brunches, movies, sharing fun and frank conversations.
Maintain separate interests and hobbies: Continue your weekly tennis matches. Volunteer to help elect the politician you believe can make a difference in office.
Embrace your husband having separate interests: Just as you don't want him to squash who you are, you need to allow him his individual friendships and pastimes.
Have a weekly date night: Your "we" time should be sacrosanct. Make time to share not just time with the TV remote but to create bonding experiences.
How do you ensure you don't lose yourself in your relationship? Tweet us @BRIDES.