How to Maintain Your Sense of Self in a Relationship

For the last month or so, I've been working on a fun collaboration with Chelsea from The New Wifestyle! I'm really excited to have her here on the blog sharing this great post with you today and I can't wait for you to read what she has to say. After reading Chelsea's post, make sure you stop by her blog and read mine!

i am super thrilled to be collaborating with amberly and a prioritized marriage because placing value and energy into having a healthy marriage is incredibly important to me too! i'm chelsea and i'm the founder of the new wifestyle, an online community empowering strong women and our relationships.

my husband and i have been together for eight years and married for the last four. we've had our normal ups and downs, especially in dealing with how my anxiety affects our marriage but ultimately, i am very proud to say that we are happily married. i'm proud to say this because we work hard on making our marriage a priority, which is even more important since we now run a business together (talk about a lot of quality time together!)

i think it's incredibly important that you view your marriage as a partnership and i do think there is value in the 'we' mentality of going about life together. that being said, it's equally important that we don't become so entrenched in our relationship that we become "one" and only one. remember, there are two individuals in a relationship and we all come with our own set of world views, life experiences and crazy quirks.

Ways I Maintain My Sense of Self In My Marriage

i started heading down the "we are meshing solely into one" road a few years back and honestly, it's been a bit hard to get back on track with finding myself again. it's easy to fall into a routine of just spending time with each other and to be honest, it's pretty amazing when you get on the same page and can finish each others sandwiches sentences. that means you have great communication and enjoy being in the presence of one another. those are good things.

what i started to miss was feeling like i had a strong sense of self, which is part of what attracted my husband to me in the first place, and likewise for him.

he liked that i was super into music and passionate about social justice and i loved that he was adventurous and outgoing! since getting into our routine, i realized that at one point i hadn't been to a concert in over 2 years, which is an insane amount of time for me. he also stopped doing many adventurous things like bungee jumping or skydiving because i flat out refused to participate in those adventures (i really love my feet on stable ground and for airplane doors to stay closed).

ryan and chelsea avery portland jumping shot

we realized that we wouldn't be taking away from the powerful 'us' if we engaged in things that interested us, even if the other person wasn't directly involved. it's important that you understand what one another are interested in and to appreciate that. we've found it's actually lead to more intimacy as well as feeling more solid in who we are as people and partners.

i absolutely love being a wife but at the same point, i have other identities that need to live too. below are ways that i'm finding it helpful to ensure that my sense of identity and self aren't lost in my marriage.

1) being intentional with time to myself

i'm an introvert (and i'm married to full on extrovert) so it's imperative that i spend time alone to feel recharged. sometimes this time is spent reading, sometimes going for walks alone or binge watching 'gilmore girls.' regardless of how i choose to spend that time, it helps me remember "hey! i like hanging out with you...you." it gives me time and space to reflect on my life, my ambitions and/or to watch rory make bad decisions on TV.

2) setting my own personal goals

my husband is a motivational speaker and if you ever receive an email or a letter from him, i can guarantee you it will be signed "dream BIG!" at the end. we've actually set a pretty big goal this year together to be the youngest married couple to speak on all 7 continents (don't even get me started on my anxiety levels with getting to antarctica).

ryan and chelsea avery portland headshot hug

while i love setting goals with him, i realized it's incredibly important that i have personal goals and ambitions of my own. of course i share them with him so he can support and encourage me, just like i do for him, but it's important that i have goals that help me grow as a person, in addition to helping us grow as couple.

3) sharing my thoughts and opinions openly

there was a point in our relationship where we were SO in-sync that i started hesitating to share my differing opinions because i was afraid it would throw off our groove. this was ridiculous because i was raised to be a vocal woman who isn't afraid to speak her mind, let alone to the person closest to me! once i got over that weird hesitation (thankfully it only lasted a short while), it turned out that our conversations became more lively and interesting because how boring is it to always just agree with what's presented and go along with the flow. that being said, don't get us started on that dang "what color is the dress" because that turned heated.

it was important to me to marry someone with similar core values so those don't waver for us. where we do differ at times is the direction we are taking our business ideas, how we view situations that occur in the world around us and the best route to a new restaurant.

regardless of how you go about maintaining your sense of self in your relationship, do figure out how to spend time on things that you personally enjoy. it's important to remember that your spouse fell in love with you as a person so be careful not to lose that person while you grow deeper in your relationship!

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Don't forget to head over to The New Wifestyle and read about how I maintain my individuality in my marriage.