I remember when I first started dating my husband. Being apart from him for an hour felt like a small eternity. If a weekend came up and we were unable to do something together, it felt as if my world was crumbling down. I remember in those early days always asking "can my boyfriend come" whenever I would get invited to things. Now, I relish in the ability to go at it on my own.
Not to worry, this story has a happy ending to it. This 'boyfriend' as I affectionately called him before is now my husband. Spending time together is just as necessary now as it always was as we are always looking to learn and grow within our marriage. But a funny thing happened a few years ago; I realized that a considerable amount of growth for us within our marriage comes from us doing things apart.
One of the pillars of any stable relationship, after love, is support. Supporting your partner in whatever he or she is attempting to do whether this is better themselves, advance their education, change careers, or just trying to become a better person overall. Especially for those of us in the Military Spouse community, supporting our service members is at the crux of all we do.
But what happens when you realize that the bulk of your life has now turned into being a support system for your partner? Does this make you a horrible partner if you want more for yourself? No, it does not. It makes you self-aware, and self-awareness is the first step towards self-love.
Websters Dictionary defines 'Self-Love' as "regard for one's own well-being and happiness (chiefly considered as a desirable rather than narcissistic characteristic). Did you see what it says there; a DESIREABLE characteristic, not an awful one but a desirable one. So what does this idea of self-love really mean? While I can't pinpoint this down for everyone reading, I can tell you what it means for me.
A few years ago I was strategically placed at a crossroads in my life; continue to have my marriage be all about my husband (which he did not encourage at all) or allow myself to start to put my needs and desires first? In small doses, I began to put myself first. I began saying "no" to things that I did not genuinely want to do, I sought out social organizations that had nothing to do with the Military, and I began distancing myself from people who were filling my life with unnecessary stress.
Every morning when I wake up, the first two hours of my day are entirely mine. No emails will be answered, social media will not be checked, and no one is receiving a phone call back unless it is an extreme emergency. By forcing myself to carve out my own time within the universe, I am giving myself the opportunity to put myself first.
It has become common in our household on the weekends for a part of the day I am somewhere doing something that makes me happy, and my husband is somewhere doing something that makes him happy. The fun part is linking back up with each other after the fact to talk about how our afternoon went. The ability to let your partner live their version of happiness is a true testament to love.
You see, I began to realize early on in our marriage that if my whole world revolved solely around my partner, what had happened to me? Regardless of if you are married, engaged, in a new relationship, or still trying to find your life partner, YOU still exists. YOU must still exist for you to feel like you are living your best life in your best version of yourself.
I believe with every fiber of my being, that if you truly do not love yourself and your own identity, then it is impossible to love another. With Valentine's Day on the horizon what a better time to sit and ask yourself "what have I done, or am I doing, for me?" The if you are feeling particularly feisty go a layer deeper and ask yourself "am I happy with the way I love myself?" Here's the good news, there's always tomorrow.
My name is Adriana, and I'm a military spouse with a passion for people, travel, and culture. I've lived overseas as well as in America, and I believe anything is possible with the right tribe, so I strive to bring as many on my adventure as possible. See what happens when you step out of your comfort zone!