The belief that all of your attention needs to be on your partner in order to create a an amazing and passionate bond is understandable– after all, there ARE two of you! The resulting impulse is to make your relationship with your partner the priority and let some other things slide.
Unfortunately, some of these “other things” in your life that you ignore can cause you to suffer and can cause your relationship to weaken and founder as well.
Self-care is often thought to be a luxury that many of us tell ourselves we don’t have time/energy/resources for. Self-care is seen as “self-centered” because of its inward focus AND self-care is among those “other things” that many of us set aside and neglect.
It’s actually not merely a luxury for those who think only of themselves; self-care is a must have if you want your love relationship or marriage to thrive and grow.
Self-care is a topic that’s regularly tossed out as something you “should” do. We all know how great we feel after a relaxing massage, long bath, luscious green salad, time sitting in meditation or even a delicious laugh while watching a comedic movie, but how many of us make it a habit to listen and respond to what we each need?
That’s right, self-care is a need. Perhaps not in the strict sense of the word (because you can survive without massages, movies, meditation and even salads), but to experience life fully and joyfully, it IS a need.
When you are well-rested, hydrated and fed, you can operate at an optimum level. When you feel at ease, you move with more confidence and certainty. Your day-to-day choices reflect how well you’re treating yourself and successes will come naturally.
Self-care is also a requirement for your relationship with your partner and here’s why…
- That 20 minutes you took to meditate helps you hear what your partner is REALLY saying as you two discuss a difficult situation.
- The extra hour of sleep you got last night allows you to be clearer and more focused as your partner talks.
- The run you fit into your day provides you with an energy boost so you’re ready for an night of intimacy and passion (even though it’s a weeknight).
- The facial and massage you treated yourself to leave you relaxed and refreshed and less likely to take it personally when your partner comes home in a grumpy mood.
Self-care makes all of this possible (and more).
When you make it a habit to listen to and honor your internal call for some form of nurturing or nourishing, you are more present, clearer and you have more to give. You can be a compassionate and responsive partner which can mean the difference between strain and cooperation or between barely getting by and more in love every single day.
Remember these 3 self-care guidelines….
1. Be responsible.
Here’s the mistake that many people make in their relationship. They feel tense and expect their partner to lighten things up. They feel afraid or insecure and look to their partner for reassurance. They feel overloaded and strung out and make improvement their partner’s job.
Yes, it is wonderful to be able to lean on the one you love and to feel respected, valued and supported by him or her AND it’s not your partner’s job to do any of these. It’s up to you to take responsibility for your well-being and care.
Whether it’s sticking to your exercise and diet plan, releasing stress, developing healthy self esteem or anything else….it’s YOUR responsibility to provide for yourself what you require to be at your best.
After all, who knows better than you what will help you be at your best?
2. Be effective.
This can get confusing. Figuring out where to focus your energy and how to direct the resources you have for optimum self-care isn’t always easy to do. There’s an overabundance of advice out there telling you how to eat, drink, sleep, move, think, breathe, feel and otherwise care for your mind, body and spirit.
Do continue to research and learn about new ways to provide self-care, but most of all practice tuning in to yourself. Listen for what you specifically need at a particular time.
This can be very simple: “I have a slight headache, so maybe a cool glass of water would be helpful.” It can also be more involved: “I’ve felt depressed lately. Here’s a workshop to help me heal some old emotional wounds.”
Be attentive to exactly what you are calling you to do right now so that your self-care efforts are most effective.
3. Be supportive.
Self-care is a gift to yourself. It allows you to move through your life more fully awake, alive and connected on all levels and your partner deserves that gift as well!
Remember that self-care is a very personal and changeable thing. What feels nourishing and renewing to you, might not feel the same way to the one you love. Leave the judgments out and stay open as your partner tries to meet his or her own needs.
Allow space for the kind of self-care your partner is drawn to and communicate your support for him or her to take the time and use the resources as necessary. Recognize how good it feels when you honor your own needs and celebrate it when your partner does so too.