When we are in a long term relationship, it’s because we love the person we are with. Unfortunately, that love can turn sour if you spend all of your time giving love to another person, and not taking care of yourself. Loving yourself is key to a great partnership – even if it seems a little backwards.
One of the oldest laws known to man was: Love thy neighbor as you love yourself.
My question is: How can you possibly love your neighbor if you can’t even love yourself? How can you possibly love your significant other if the love for self is not there?
Which is why I wrote this post. To help you show love for others by first showing yourself love.
With that said, here are a few ways you can strengthen your relationship through self care.
Learn to Say “NO” to What Makes You Uncomfortable
Setting boundaries is an important part of taking care of yourself. If you don’t feel comfortable with something your other half wants you to do, forcing yourself to do so is as good as agreeing that this should be a normal part of your routine. If your significant other wants to go to a sports game and you don’t want to sit there for hours waiting for it to be over—don’t. You’ll both be happier doing something you enjoy together, rather than simply getting into a tug-of-war over which event to go to.
Being forced to go places you don’t want to aren’t the only examples of boundaries. One spouse should not be in charge of all household chores. Men can wash dishes as well as women. Men shouldn’t be pressured into fixing the car or doing household maintenance, especially if they don’t know how. Being a man doesn’t automatically make you an expert in all things handy.
Set boundaries when you have disagreements as well. It’s best to work that out ahead of time. Words cannot be taken back. Once they’ve been said they will remain in your partner’s mind forever. If you know that you have a temper, explain that. When a disagreement happens walk away until the temper part is gone so it can be discussed.
As with children there should be time when the bathroom is off limits. Long term relationships can make people feel comfortable with each other, but no one wants to be in the middle of using their body scrubber in the tub when their other half decides to use the toilet. No one needs to be that comfortable with another person.
Also keep your children in mind when setting boundaries. Make sure your spouse is on the same page with you about rules and discipline. Also make sure that which child does what chore is known.
Make Going Out with Friends a Part of Your Routine
Being married doesn’t mean you have to give up your friends. It also doesn’t mean that you have to bring your spouse along. Go out with the girls and watch a chick flick. Head out with the boys and have a beer while you watch sports. It’s a healthy way to relax and have some time to just be you.
There are also problems that talking to someone of the same gender can help resolve, and not just relationship wise. No matter how close you are with your spouse, certain topics are better off talked about with other people.
Keep up your interests
Most people have hobbies. Being married doesn’t mean that you have to give them up. If you like to read, get books and spend time enjoying them. If you like to cook, get the fancy ingredients or that neat cooking gadget, if bubble baths are your thing, buy yourself a new body scrubber and make bath night a priority.
This includes interests that your spouse may not necessarily approve of. If your passion is video gaming, you don’t have to give it up because there is a whole world of other things you can be doing. Your spouse married you for who you are, games and all.
Get enough rest
Studies show that people who don’t get enough rest have lower immunity and don’t live as long. They also indicate that you are more likely to get into a car accident or have a mishap at work from exhaustion. If you’ve ever met a toddler who is late for their nap, you get an unfiltered view of how all of us feel when we’re too tired. Getting rest can stop petty fights from happening in the first place, and make everyone feel better.
Watch your diet
If you only have a half an hour for lunch, going to the fast food place and getting a burger, fries and cola may sound like the best option available. Those burgers can have an unfortunate side effect however, both in how you feel, and the direction the scale goes when you check your weight next.
A healthy diet can help improve mood, make yourself feel better, and keep you healthy. If you only have a limited time for lunch, bring a packed lunch so you can choose healthy food. At dinner it doesn’t take a lot of extra time to make something that has plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains in it. You can even improve cup-a-noodles from absolutely terrible by throwing in extra vegetables.
Taking care of yourself is an important part of a relationship. Your mental well being is as important as the physical. With a little effort you will find that your relationship will strengthen.