If taking nurturing, good care of yourself is something you know you should do, but don't actually do (until you get sick or break down in exhaustion), listen up! Regular self-care is not only essential to your own health, well-being and sanity, it's vital for your relationship, too.
Perhaps one reason why you don't take the time you really need is because you're spending the free time you do have with your partner. There are only so many hours in your already-crammed-full day, and when you have a spare hour or so, that becomes couple time. We absolutely agree with that! In order for a love relationship or marriage to survive and thrive, the couple needs to create and make the most of their quality time together. However, the connection-potential is erased when one person (or both) is yearning for some nourishing and soul-replenishing alone time instead. Here's the challenge and opportunity:
When you feel torn between your own need to recharge with time alone and your desire to be with your beloved, no one wins. To do something for yourself while being guilt-tripped isn't going to truly nourish you. You'll spend that precious moment of solitude worrying that your partner feels rejected or neglected. And to put off self-care (yet again) to be with your partner could build resentment in you both. You'll start to see your partner as an obstacle to what you desperately want and aren't getting, and he or she will sense your resistance and feel confused and disconnected from you.
Nobody wins when you don't honor your need for self-care. There is a solution to this turmoil and it's actually the key to an amazing and close passionate relationship. The key? Become a self-care couple.
A self-care couple understands that self-nurturing isn't an extra luxury, but a necessity. Both recognize that solitude isn't a threat to their relationship, but rather, beneficial to connection. When you and your partner take a wider view and consider the ways that self-care provides renewal, which then translates to more openness and greater availability to one another, then everything becomes easier. Your entire relationship becomes more joyful and delightful.
Factor it in early in your relationship; talk about self-care. Once you officially become a couple, talk about what frequency and level of self-care each of you requires to be at your best. Give one another (and yourselves) permission to do what you need to do to nourish and renew.
Keep in mind that what your beloved considers to be self-care may look very different from what you prefer. Don't make him feel badly if his me-time involves going over to a friend's house once a week to play cards. And just because her form of self-care doesn't have her sitting on a meditation pillow or zafu, it doesn't mean it's invalid. Do create clear agreements so that whatever each of you does to recharge is in alignment with your relationship commitment, but don't get judgmental. Be accepting and allow time for self-care. Just as you schedule in date nights and get-aways for just the two of you, make room on the calendar for you and your partner to nourish yourselves in solitude or with friends if you choose.
A really wonderful possibility when it comes to self-care is that it doesn't have to be something you only do alone. So much depends on what you're craving at the moment, but find self-care activities that you and your partner can do together. How about giving one another back massages? This doesn't have to be a prelude to lovemaking, but it can if you're both open to that. You could have a homemade spa night complete with facials, bubble baths and whatever helps you both unwind. If you both enjoy music, light a few candles, turn off the lights and just sit and soak in melodies and rhythms that move you and feed your soul. This can even be a form of meditation.
Many people prefer more active forms of self-care. Go for a run together or play a vigorous game of tennis or even touch football together. Moving your body and exercising is a way to get out of your head and some even find it meditative and spiritual.
Find a mix of sharing self-care and time alone that feels good to you both. Remember, you don't have to sacrifice your personal well-being for the sake of your relationship. With mindful communication and an openness to possibilities, you'll discover that self-care is what makes your relationship as wonderful as it is!
Regular self-care is one way to avoid the death of passion in your long-term love relationship or marriage. More tips for keeping the spark alive are in our free ebook: Passionate Spark~Lasting Love. Get it at: www.relationshipgold.com
More Stories From YourTango:
- 7 Most Surprising Things About Marriage
- 22 Of The Weirdest Celebrity Couples
- The 3 Best Sex Games To Play With Your Partner
- Help! My Husband Is Bored Of Sex
Also on HuffPost:
"I took this on Christmas because we wanted to give everyone a photo as a present, but I spotted the tree a few weeks before and envisioned the photo at that moment as well. I setup my camera on a tripod, but wanted the picture to look as flat as possible so I placed it about 50 yards away from the tree. I thought I was going to be able to get the shot on one take and had the cameras timer maxed out at 10 seconds. It took me 5 tries. I was so winded by the last shot, but that was the one. To see the look on Jades face when I make something for her is greatest. So perfect." - Dustin Safranek
"This is my Valentine gift to my husband." - Rani Rauniar
"At our pre-wedding photoshoot 2 years ago." - Nike and Bayo
"This is my fiancee Rossella and I on our way back home to San Francisco after a night of celebrating a friend's new job in Berkeley. She is the greatest comfort and joy I have ever known, and I think the expression on my face captures it." - PJ Barry
"Lindsey and Nick: a couple with special needs on their wedding day." - Linda Atwell, <a href="http://outoneear.com" target="_blank">Out One Ear</a>
"Our first trip together to the Telluride Film Festival. Margaret and I have been married 8 blissful years as of January 13." - Danny Lee Ladely
"True love is carrying your girlfriend down a mountain when she wears the worst hiking shoes ever...even after 'he told me so'" - Paula & Osmar
"Our first dance at our December 1st wedding." - Mia Aquino
"My fiancé Cecelia and I are waiting for the music and partaking in our second favorite pastime: trying not to botch a self-portrait." -Tom Gaines
Submitted by Carrie Burns
"This is my husband and I on our wedding day. My favorite picture from the day. Yes, he wore a kilt." - Adele Flaherty
"My fiancé (Chris) and I, from our engagement shoot. We're getting married in May. I absolutely love this photo!" - Gretchen J. Wolf
"With my fiance, Kusum, sharing an intimate moment together. What it's all about." - Nitish
"The way my husband is looking at me, shows how in love we are." - Ashley Cohen-Lewe
Submitted by Dena Lopez.
"Our 20th wedding anniversary. Best 20 years of my life. Going to try for another 20!" - Cheryl Smith Rizk
"This photo was taken of me and my partner 14 years ago ... and we are still waiting for our relationship to be legally recognized in all the states. However, that has not stopped us from becoming doting grandmothers, or from overcoming many of the same challenges, hurdles, and tough times as any of our family and friends have." - Debra & Deborah
Submitted by April LaMon
"Our wedding day." - Brooke Johnson Delk
"Here is the photo I think shows the love I have for my husband! I was singing along to him while we had our first dance... (Turning Pages - Sleeping at Last)." - Brianne Geiger
"We had no idea the picture was taken until the next morning." - Amy Nagrodzki
"With you there is nothing I can not do!" - Shannelle Armstrong Fowler
"This is from the early stages of our relationship last summer, when our friends kept catching us 'staring into each other's eyes.' We couldn't keep our hands off of each other." - Jon & Bethany
"My little bride was just being herself, taking time to smell the roses, when I whipped out my cell and snapped this candid shot." - Tom Collins
"Danielle and Jason Parker, Dec 20th, 2004, St. John, U.S.V.I." - Danielle Parker
"This is from our wedding five years ago, Jan. 12, 2008. Never have our vows 'in sickness and in health' been truer. My husband, Phillip, started chemo this week for Stage IV Leukemia and I've never loved him more." - Jessica Efron Sauer
"Coldplay's my favourite group. So this is three of my favourite things: My boyfriend 'M', Coldplay & lights. He asked me out this night. 4th Dec 2011. Manchester, MEN Arena, England." - Patrick Ellis
"We were in a long distance relationship for over a year, David in Berlin, Germany and me in Brooklyn. We spend every cent we had on plane tickets to visit each other every other month for over a year, taking turns going back and forth. We finally decided enough was enough and I picked up and moved to Berlin to be with him. We were MARRIED on October 26th, 2012 at the City Hall in Copenhagen, Denmark. Every day since has been one of the best days of my life." - Joe Cooper
Submitted by Nicole J. Richardson.
"[Our] 16th wedding anniversary at St. Pats, still crazy about each other!" - Deirdre Yack
Submitted by Jenny Waggenheim.
"Here is a picture of me and my boo on our wedding day. He still captures my heart." - Kara Williams
"Neil has made my cheeks hurt since the day I met him. There is laughter in our house every day. He has changed my world and I can't wait to marry him on June 14, 2013." - Melissa Bupp
"This is my fiance Troy. I think this photograph captures 'Love In One Photo' because this is looking at him through my eyes when he doesn't know I'm watching him. My heart skips a beat because he made me the happiest I've ever been when he asked me to marry him last summer." - Kimberly Malott
"Our winter wedding day (Jan. 6, 2013) in Chicago." - Julia Nissim
"The photo was just taken by my cousin we were not even paying attention, she took it because she said we were always touching." - Gabrielle Morales
Submitted by Mini Hutson-Montoya.
Submitted by Andrea Marie Luistro.
"In this photo John and I are feeding the geese along a waterway in the Netherlands, when a dangerous biting swan came along pushing everyone out of the way, coming for us (we'd both been bitten prior by this guy). I'm letting John know to watch out, protecting him from the deadly swan!" - Patty Webster
"Our 'first look' before our wedding ceremony." - Jessica Armour
"It's not true for us that the higher you climb in love, the further you fall." - Dana Britt
"Ian and Emily’s love summed up in one photo!" - Emily Beaulac
"This to me is the model of love. My Grandparents walking arms around each other." - Lisa MacGregor
"Roy and Linda Peay, married since 1990." - Linda Peay
"My husband and I are unknowingly captured in the background at my friend's wedding." - Robyn Atkinson
"This photo is at our wedding day, our daughter ran up to be with us at the altar." - Amanda Oberhaus
@jenehirchiou: Our Wreck The Dress Shoot
@GulfShoresGirl1: because through sickness n health I'm there IN the bed no matter what germs lurk #lovehim
@claudiaamigo73: Here's one of us taken 5 yrs ago, we´ve got our fingers crossed for marriage equality
@tristakronfuss: After our wedding, we took pictures in the Snake River by Jackson Hole, WY
@sarahgarvey16: husband & I during our 1st look photos on our wedding day. middle school sweethearts