Marriage and Personal Freedom

One area with which many couples struggle in their marriages – especially early on – is the issue of personal freedom. When two people get married are they to abandon social life outside of the marriage? Should partners have personal interests and pursuits that do not involve one another? What exactly are the appropriate limits on personal space after you tie the knot? This brief article addresses these and related questions.

When two people get married they forsake certain aspects of their previous lives in order to share a new life together as one (Gen. 2:24, Mat. 19:5). Certainly this necessitates some significant adjustments and even some sacrifice at times. However, it is a grave mistake to think that becoming one with your spouse requires you to completely ignore your individuality or forgo all personal goals, interests, or enjoyments.

At the same time, marriage is not a suitable lifestyle for the self-centered and immature. When you become united in marriage the relationship between husband and wife takes precedence over the personal desires of either. Your decisions and actions do not affect you only – they also affect your partner and your relationship and life together.

Strong marriages include an intentional focus on unity and togetherness, but also a degree of individuality and separateness. This separateness is not a selfish venture. It is a mutual freedom that is necessary to keep the marriage sound. It involves allowing one another personal space to cultivate friendships, pursue interests, and grow as a person. Indeed, an appropriate amount of separateness in marriage is a healthy endeavor.

Balance is the key to negotiating the proper connection between togetherness and separateness. You must continually strive to become one with your mate, but also be a mature and complete person in and of yourself. Achieving a suitable balance requires responsibility, moderation, mutual accountability, fidelity, and a sense of fairness. In short, you follow the Golden Rule and treat your spouse in the same manner that you like to be treated.
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