Marriage… it’s an interesting thing for many reasons. One aspect that intrigues me is that you fall in love with someone, move in with that person and then spend most of your free time together because your spouse is just that good looking. Well, that’s why I did it (fine, and he’s fun and smart, too).
My husband and I own a business together, so we truly spend a ton of time with one another. We work from home, so it’s just the two of us for the most part, day in and day out. His love language is physical touch, and this usually involves being around me every waking minute, holding hands and well… lots of physical touches (duh).
Recently, he returned home from a day-long event. I smooched him to welcome him back home, and we munched on cheddar cheese Sun Chips while he told me about his book signing event. After a few minutes of catch up, I sat back down at my laptop in our living room and started working again.
A few minutes later, he came back to the living room and carefully spoke these words, “Do you think I could have a little time to myself? I just need some space.”
I gave him my one-raised-eyebrow-look and said “Ummm. Why?”
In my head, a percentage of my thoughts included,
“Oh my goodness… why doesn’t he want to be around me when we have been apart all day long?! This can’t be a good sign. Did I do something wrong? Crap. I totally ate all the chips again, and he’s pissed because he’s specifically asked me to chill out on my intake of those. This is weird–he usually LOVES being around me.”
Outside of my head, I said, “Sure. Do you want me to hang out in the office and you can be out here? Or do you want me to like leaaaave the apartment?”
He said I didn’t have to leave, but he just wanted some time to himself. I said I would head downstairs and work in our community room for a few hours. I realized that just because I married an extrovert, doesn’t mean that he wants to be around people, even his wife, all the time.
I flashed back to when we were on a 50-city tour around North America putting on workshops together and were literally on the road for four months straight. More than a few times I had to ask him if he would sit in the lobby of our hotel for an hour because I just needed quiet, alone time in our room. I needed ‘me’ time and to hear only my breath and be with my thoughts.
Why would he not need that, too?
The softly spoken words by my husband asking for time to himself were not a reflection of me not being a good wife or partner. He wasn’t upset with me or annoyed with me. In fact, it had nothing to do with me and everything to do with him needing some time to himself in the comfort of our home.
Upon reflection of this, I think it’s interesting that my mind immediately jumped to assuming it was something I did wrong, and he must be upset with me. It also reminds me that I want to continue to be in a healthy marriage where both of us can be open to what our needs are and respect them.
After about two hours, he came downstairs with our dog and we went for our sunset walk.
It turns out he just needed some time to sit in silence without the anticipation of me asking him random questions about work, Or, if there were any more chips (“No Chelsea. You ate them all again”), his phone ringing or being around people.
So no, if you or husband ask for some space, I would not be worried and don’t immediately assume the worse. Of course, if this is happening all of the time and your spouse never wants to be around you… that’s another story.
As we sat on the bench, both of us in a better state of mind, I realized… he just needed space, and it had nothing to do with me.
Please share your thoughts:
- Are you an introvert or extrovert? Does this influence your need for time alone?
- How much time do you spend each day with your spouse?
- When’s the last time you made the wrong assumption/interpretation of something your spouse said?
Photo: Flickr/ JF Sebastian