Four Ways My Selfishness Healed My Marriage

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I don't think there's anything that can prepare you for marriage, and as hard as it's been for me and my husband to navigate through, it's also been the absolute best thing for me as a woman. My husband and I have been married for just over ten years now, and just like any other marriage, it's had its ups and downs. But about five years into our marriage, a lightbulb went off in my head. I know it may sound a bit counterintuitive, but I decided to place my own personal development and interests as a priority. And you know what? My marriage became stronger in the process. Here are four ways my selfishness made my marriage stronger.

1. I got a hobby. And when I say, I got a hobby, I don't mean I just went out there and started taking knitting classes. I took some time to reflect on the parts of myself that I had neglected for so long. As the nature caretakers that women are, we naturally seek to take care of others often at the expense of our own well being and health. So I took stock over my life, and although I loved being a wife and mother, there was a part of me that I needed to bring back to life. I felt like something was missing and I needed to go out there and find out what that was. In the process, I rekindled my love of writing. I am now a blogger and just published my first book.

2. Just say NO! I made the conscious choice to stop perpetuating the Black Superwoman Syndrome. I can't be everything to everyone all the time, and when it came down to it, I didn't want to! Acquiescing to everyone's needs can really begin to create a sense of resentment and unappreciation in your life, and that's no way to live. There's nothing wrong with saying no to additional responsibilities at work or saying no to cooking dinner every now and then. You've got to carve out time for yourself and it's never going to happen if you're constantly chasing after others. Make sure you take time to fill yourself back up so you can continue to pour into others.

3. Become a health nut. LOL, I don't mean those annoying kind, I mean someone who consciously takes account for what you put in your body and what you do with your body. So make changes in your diet and what you feed your family. I know it can be hard to introduce new and healthy foods to young kids and a husband, but take it one step at a time. Also, make exercise a priority in whatever form works best and you're most comfortable performing. Looking good and feeling good is a great recipe for a thriving marriage so get to work! Also, surround yourself with healthy thoughts and people. Health extends beyond our physical appearance and what you think and listen to has more power over you than you could imagine. So take stock of your mindset and make sure that the things you want in your life are also the things you speak out of your mouth.

4. Get away. My husband and I are very serious about spending time away from each other. We both plan trips away with friends and the time apart keeps us stronger. Not ready to take a long getaway from your spouse? Then plan girl's nights out once a month or so. It's so important to cultivate relationships outside of your primary one which adds a new layer of depth to you. Spending time away from your spouse and experiencing new things without them also serves as lessons to bring back to your marriage. And finally, we've all heard the phrase, "absence makes the heart grow fonder", and it really does. My husband and I miss each other while we're away, we give each other space to have a good time without the other, and when we come home, we're that much more excited to re-engage and re-connect.

Of course all this comes down to communication, a cornerstone to marriage, and when I started to communicate my needs to my husband more openly and unapologetically, he got on board and our relationship grew in deeper intimacy. So now it's your turn, how can you be more selfish in your marriage?

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