The Dance Between Intimacy and Independence in Marriage

 / 

,
The Dance Between Intimacy and Independence in Marriage

The honeymoon phase in your marriage will always rule if you proficiently balance the rhythm between intimacy and independence.

The first time apart is a rite of passage for most newly married couples. We recently experienced it ourselves when Constantino left town for a short business trip.

He was sad to be away from home and talked about how much he’d miss David. David, on the other hand, was relishing the idea of a night alone but was feeling guilty for looking forward to it.

We’re new to this marriage thing, and still working out the tricky balance between intimacy and independence.

Both of us are introverts. We love our friends and community dearly, but nothing is more restful to us than an evening at home alone. These moments together are when we’re best at building our Love Maps.

However, we like to call Constantino a “duovert,” meaning he’s an introvert who is able to recharge not only when he’s by himself but also when he’s alone with just his husband. To Constantino, David is rest.

Conversely, David is more of a classic introvert: he likes to be completely alone in order to recharge.

As someone who has trouble connecting with his emotions, David needs an absence of external stimuli to be able to identify his feelings and assess his internal well-being; otherwise, he becomes disconnected from himself.

Even though many of our wants overlap, there are variations in our needs for time together and time alone, and sometimes it becomes a source of stress in our relationship.

In his book The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, Dr. John Gottman points out that one partner often ignores the other not out of malice but because of their respective needs for intimacy and independence.

Read A Truth about Intimacy Love and Romance

Marriage is something of a dance,” Gottman says.

“There are times when you feel drawn to your loved one and times when you feel the need to pull back and replenish your sense of autonomy.”

The potential for conflict arises when spouses fall on different points of the spectrum in terms of their needs. Some people desire more frequent connection, while others crave more independence.

David is aware of his need for greater independence, but he often has trouble expressing it. Early in life, he picked up a false belief that his needs weren’t important or valued, so he has trouble asking for time alone.

He fears that Constantino will interpret his need for independence as rejection.

Furthermore, it’s often difficult for him to identify this particular need because David also loves being with Constantino; their time together is enjoyable, so it’s easy to forget that solitude is important for his well-being.

Constantino loves doing even mundane things together: errands, chores, working out. Intimacy is valuable to him even in life’s routine activities.

Because we continually work on strengthening our Love Maps, he’s aware of David’s need to spend time alone and can sometimes even spot it before David does.

In instances like these, Constantino offers to go to a coffee shop for the afternoon or run errands alone so that David can have the apartment to himself. It’s a small, kind act that yields huge rewards for the marriage and for both partners.

Trouble arises when either David fails to express his need or when Constantino is feeling empty or insecure in the relationship. The two problems are often related.

If David ignores his need for independence, the abundance of intimacy begins to breed resentment.

When David begins to feel crowded, he pulls away emotionally and stops responding to “bids,” or those small requests for each other’s attention, humor, or support.

The effect is that Constantino, who thrives on quality time and touch, senses that there’s something wrong in the relationship.

His way of repairing an emotional gap is to drive deeper into intimacy, which is the opposite of what David needs. It becomes a downward spiral that can result in harsh words, hurt feelings, and a need to repair the relationship .

Read The War of Independence In Relationships

We’ve learned to balance this tug of war between intimacy and independence by first filling up our emotional bank accounts and then speaking our needs out loud.

We focus on building a strong, positive rapport by turning toward the bids we offer each other throughout the day. That makes us feel connected and united.

When we both feel emotionally full, it’s easier for David to ask for time away and easier for Constantino to understand.

We also work on building trust by making a request that includes a compromise.

For example, David might say,

“I want to go for a walk alone this afternoon, but can we plan on watching a movie together tonight?”

Or Constantino might say, “I’d really like for you to come with me to this event on Saturday night, but you can do your own thing on Sunday.”

In that way, we’re asking for what we want but also acknowledging the other person’s need.

Constantino has another business trip coming up, and this time we know how to approach it: David will enjoy the time alone without feeling guilty about it, but he’ll also text Constantino to make sure he knows that he is loved and missed.

Constantino will recognize the value that time apart offers and honor that space as a way for David to recharge. Because our needs are different, we know this tension between intimacy and independence will always exist.

Viewing it as a dance rather than a tug of war reminds us to collaborate to meet each other’s needs rather than fight to preserve our own.


By David and Constantino Khalaf

The Dance Between Intimacy and Independence in Marriage

— Share —

— About the Author —

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



Up Next

The 3 Most Common Types Of Cheaters: Uncovering The Love Fraudsters

Most Common Types Of Cheaters: The Silent Echoes Of Deceit

In every love story, the sweet haze of romance often hides some unsettling figures lurking in the shadows—figures of deceit that can turn sweet stories bitter. When it comes to infidelity and cheating, you might be a bit surprised to know that there are different types of cheaters, mainly 3 types of cheaters.

Revealing these types of cheaters might bring out uncomfortable truths, but they’re important for understanding the complex world of human emotions. Through their different ways of dishonesty, they show the complicated and tangled nature of cheating. Each one represents a warning about the rough patches that love can sometimes



Up Next

The Zodiac Wife Handbook: Which Zodiac Wifey Are You?

Twelve Zodiac Signs As Wives: Accurately Revealing Zodiac Traits

Have you ever thought what kind of wife would you make? Let’s take a look at the zodiac signs as wives and what unique value they bring to their marriage!

Astrology offers an intriguing lens through which to view human personalities and tendencies. The zodiac provides archetypes that can help us understand individual quirks and attributes.

Marriage, as one of life’s most significant relationships, is a particularly interesting area to explore astrologically.

Below, we delve into what each



Up Next

5 Brutal Reasons Divorced People Threaten Married People: The Challenging Dynamics Revealed

Divorced People Threaten Married People: Five Brutal Reasons

Have you ever wondered why some divorced people threaten married people? It’s an intriguing phenomenon that can stir up a range of emotions and reactions. 

The truth is that married people are threatened by divorced people in ways that may surprise you. In this article, we’ll delve into five compelling reasons behind this intriguing dynamic.

Read more here: 9 Warning Signs Of Resentment In Marriage And How To Deal With Them

What Are The Possible



Up Next

Revitalize Your Marriage: 5 Easy Steps To Recharge Your Relationship

Revitalize Your Marriage: Five Easy Steps That Can Help

Do you feel like the romance has gone from your marriage? Are you wondering how to revitalize your marriage or how to recharge your relationship? This article is going to explore in detail some of the underrated and best ways to revitalize your marriage. 

Have you ‘lost that loving feeling’ with your mate? What began as a small sense of separation has grown into a gaping chasm that competes with the Grand Canyon?

If your marriage is like many, then that state of affairs is understandable. Among the thousand things competing for your attention each day, your spouse is just one more on the list.

It’s not that you don’t care, you’ve just fallen into a routine. Both of you have slowly walked int



Up Next

The Anatomy Of Marriage Failure: 5 Major Reasons Why Marriages Fail

5 Major Reasons Why Marriages Fail: Breaking The Vows

There can be so many reasons why marriages fail, but there are a few major causes of marriage failure that might not seem like a big deal but can prove to be the final nail in the coffin for your marriage. Let’s find out the top reasons why marriages fail. 

The divorce rates for first marriages have declined in recent years and are now down from 50 percent to just over 44 percent (World Population Review, 2023). The rates rise to 60 percent for second marriages and 73 percent for third marriages (Divorce.com, 2023).

According to the data offered by the Pew Research Center,



Up Next

Exiting The Infidelity Maze: 5 Ways To Get Out Of An Extramarital Affair

Get Out Of An Extramarital Affair: 5 Ways To Break Free

Sometimes ending an affair, especially when it’s an extramarital affair can be a slippery slope for many. However, it’s important to get out of an extramarital affair if you want to save your family and marriage (if that is your prerogative). This post is going to explore how to get out of an affair and how to end an affair. 

Even though 84 percent of Americans believe that infidelity is morally wrong, the infidelity rate in the United States has been slowly on the rise (Pew Research Center, 2014).

Zuckerman (2020) reported that approximately 20 pe



Up Next

Love, Laughter, And Forever: 40+ Inspiring Happy Marriage Quotes

40 Best Marriage Quotes That Will Touch Your Heart

Love is a flame that ignites our hearts, and marriage is the union that binds two souls together for eternity. Let these inspiring marriage quotes remind us that true love knows no boundaries and endures all things.

Heartwarming Happy Marriage Quotes 

1. “A happy marriage is a long conversation which always seems too short.” – André Maurois

2. “A great marriage is not when the ‘perfect couple’ comes together. It is when an imperfect couple learns to enjoy their differences.” – Dave Meurer

3. “A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.” – Mignon McLaughlin

4. “A long-la