One major observation I have when I coach couples is that it seems they sometimes forget their marriage is a partnership. The two may have said they’ve become one, but their actions tell a whole different story.
I always listen intently as couples share their conflict. I coach them through their individual challenges before I remind them they are in this together. There won’t ever be a resolution if a couple struggles with recognizing they have to create one jointly. That’s sometimes a tough pill for them to swallow. It’s hard to get out of their own thinking and personal needs to focus on the other person.
In some instances some married individuals are still holding on to a single person’s way of thinking and may not even realize it.
It can be very difficult for couples to overcome challenges when they are still operating from a space of excessive independence and singleness. Here are a few examples of how you may be acting single while married and not even know it:
Behavior 1: You act as though you don’t need your spouse. Of course you’re independent and you can take care of yourself – you know it and your spouse knows that too. But your spouse wants to know they serve a purpose in your life. They need to know they add a value. Do they make you happy? Do you feel supported and protected? For most people it feels good to know someone needs you. Tip: Remember you have a partner in this world and allow your spouse to be there for you in some way.
Behavior 2: Your hobby has consumed your time. Couples need to have their own outlets, it’s actually really good for your marriage. However, when a hobby becomes that person’s everything and causes them to no longer make time for their spouse, that becomes a problem. Tip: Remember your spouse has to feel like the priority in your life. Make them first and everything else comes after.
Behavior 3: Your friendships come first. Again, your spouse needs to feel important to you. If you’re choosing to spend more time with your friends than your partner, that might be a sign that something else is going on in the marriage. Tip: If you’re putting your friends first because it’s more enjoyable, think of some creative ways to spend time with your spouse. He/she can be fun too if given the opportunity. If they aren’t, find out what’s happened that caused the change.
Behavior 4: You don’t check in. I know, you’re a grown up and shouldn’t have to answer to anyone. But in marriage it’s truly about common courtesy and respect. Why should there be an instance when your spouse can’t know where you are and what you’re doing? Tip: Don’t put your spouse through that type of worry. Treat them the way you would want to be treated.
Behavior 5: Your coworkers know more about you than your spouse does. Communication and connection are just about everything in a marriage. If you’re sharing more with those outside of your marriage than your spouse, you’re killing your marriage. Tip: Be open, be vulnerable and trust your spouse with your everything. Honest communication strengthens your union and enhances the friendship within your marriage.
Before 6: You talk like you’re single. If there is never any mention of your spouse that could be a problem. Or if you’re always telling others how sexy another woman is and rarely speak that way about your wife, it’s disrespectful. Tip: Talk like you’re in a committed relationship. Give your spouse the respect they deserve. If you’re having a challenge doing that, communicate that to your spouse so you can resolve the problem together.
Independence is cool and I’m not trying to take that away from anyone. It’s just really important to remember that it takes two to make a thing go right. You and your spouse need one another to keep your marriage healthy and strong.
What are some other behaviors that demonstrate a married person might be acting single?