Monday, September 3, 2012

A Little Space Goes a Long Way

As promised, the issue of couples having the same group of friends will be addressed! 

It sounds ideal doesn’t it; socializing together with other couples (or singles), having everything out in the open. Just one big happy shillah. Something about the idea I find unsettling though. In my head, couples who always socialize together have one heck of a car ride home to look forward to! A lot of “why did you say this?” and “what did you do that for?” I’m sure. Let’s not forget “you embarrassed me in front of all our friends!” oh dear! What you see on the ever-so-popular TV show FRIENDS is not normal. It is not normal to always and forever be involved in a single group of friends together with very limited friendships beyond that. It is not healthy! It’s always good to diversify.

Sharing friends, or situations where ‘my friends become your friends’ are slightly worrying. Maybe I’m thinking with the end in mind here, and how bloody awkward it would be for everyone involved if the relationship didn't work out. Who gets custody of the friends?! Or if you're in the middle of an argument, who gets to hang out with the friends?

Seriously though, without being too cynical, it’s nice to have friends outside the marriage who are your friends alone. Sure your friends can come round with their spouses for a couples’ night every now and then, and maybe you even do share some friends. But make sure you have a social life beyond that, one that is your own. You don’t have to be attached at the hip and do everything together. Not every event has to be attended together; you’re no Hollywood or royal couple where people will talk if one of you doesn’t show. As Khalil Gibran so wisely said in the The Prophet
‘Let there be spaces in your togetherness’.
I can never ever deny the truth in the saying ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’. And that goes duly for a marriage. I mean your spouse becomes the single person you see the most on a daily basis, day-in and day-out. As much as the thought of being away from your partner might be too much to bear sometimes, you need a healthy dose of you! You need to allow yourselves to miss one another. So any chance to do so should be welcomed. True, you do share a life now, but that shouldn't keep you from tending to yourself - love thyself!

I don’t believe one must wait for an excuse to get some space either. Let him have his boys' nights and let her have her girls' nights. If you don’t get a chance to get space, then create it! I suppose people might be sensitive towards the idea and feel their spouse is running away from them or is fed up with them, or that in doing so you are actively creating distance. However with the right amount of distance every now and then it could ultimately strengthen your relationship (too much would be a piss take). Both of you should allow the other to get this space without any hard feelings. Let it be something you both accept from time to time - before the space appears after an argument or fall-out of any kind by force. Just a regular dose of space can do wonders to a relationship. Sometimes this space can be in the form of a weekly or monthly trip/ritual e.g. he goes hunting while she spends the day at the spa. Or it can be in the form of a longer trip like visiting a friend or relative in another city/country. Through such absence you can actually miss each other and renew that excitement of reuniting.

Just be careful you don’t drift too far apart. Allow there to be space between you but make sure that space is not constant. Allow yourselves to lead separate lives but do not squeeze each other out. To me this is also a sign of trust; you trust your partner enough to not have to be a part of and actively involved in each and every aspect of their life. However, if I am with someone whom cannot be trusted this way, actually I wouldn't be with them in the first place! I wouldn't be comfortable with someone who I have to track their every move to keep them in check. Don't live your life supervising your spouse; you will both grow to be paranoid and find yourself doing things you never dreamed of doing because of it. Also, make sure it's mutual; he can't get his guy trips if you can't get some sort of equivalent.

Believe it or not,  I've seen married couples who have assigned certain days in which their spouses can see their friends. Please don't let it get to that, that's just sad. I honestly didn't know what to say to that when I first saw it, and I honestly still don't know what to say to that now. You're not a parent here, you're a spouse. This level of control over each other's life is unhealthy in my eyes. 

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