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The 10 Commandments of Marriage: 10. Make Special Time for Yourself
Too often in a relationship, people forget about their own needs. The Tenth Commandment gives you that permission.

Finding alone time is just as important in a marriage as together time.

There is nothing more wonderful than a good solid relationship where you enjoy each other, enjoy spending time with each other, and share common interests. That does not, however, mean that you have to be together all of the time and do everything together.

In order to enjoy your time together and to maintain a good marriage, itís important to allow yourself special time for you. This might be exercise time, reading time, watching a ball game or even enjoying the luxury of a massage. The point is, in order to be at your best in your partnership, you must feel good about yourself. That means that, occasionally, itís okay to take care of you. You donít want to feel resentful that you never have any time to yourself to rest or just pamper yourself with a hot bath or long shower, a good book or a crossword puzzle. The fact that you may need this time doesnít mean that you donít love your partner. Itís an acknowledgement that we all need space occasionally. Remember what the flight attendant says to you at the beginning of every flight; if the plane loses air pressure and those little yellow cups fall from the ceiling, if youíre traveling with a small child, put your face mask on first. If you want to be at your best as a spouse, take care of your self first.

Also, you may find that you and the love of your life donít share every interest together. One of you may like to go to yoga class, for example, while the other is a couch potato. Itís not a rejection of the relationship for you to find a friend to exercise with you, so long as itís for exercise only and not to stray from the marriage. Some men like to watch sports while their wives do not. Having the guys over occasionally gives you alone time and allows him to follow his sports teams.

Itís a gift to the relationship to be able to acknowledge that each of you can still enjoy your individual interests without your spouse and not demand that your partner give up the things that he/she enjoys to be with you. You donít want to smother your spouse or make constant demands to always be together; and you donít want him or her to do that with you.

As the marriage grows, you may find the balance between those individual interests and your together time. It is often possible to grow to like each otherís hobbies and passions. Compromises also can come into play. If one likes to vacation at the shore while the other likes the mountains, rotating the vacations is always an optionóprovided youíre not grumpy when the vacation is not your choice. You can learn to bowl if he loves the sport, even if itís not your first choice of entertainment. If, however, you use the time when he or she is in the bowling league to have your special time, thatís also part of the compromise that makes a marriage strong. On the other hand, if there are too many things you canít share, youíll ultimately grow apart and have little in common.

The need for alone time is not a rejection of the relationship. It is an acknowledgement that the marriage of two people is a joining of two individuals together. Think of it as an image of a "Y," two people together who merge sometimes, but maintain their individuality. The alone time makes you healthier as a spouse and happier as an individual.

Commandment 9. Develop Mutual Interests
Commandment 8. Resolve Arguments One Issue at a Time
Commandment 7. Praise Your Spouse
Commandment 6. Leave The Baggage At The Door
Commandment 5. Donít Expect Your Spouse To Be a Mind Reader
Commandment 4. Argue Constructively
Commandment 3. Make Dates With Your Spouse
Commandment 2. Communicate With Your Spouse
Commandment 1. Prioritize Your Partner Over Everything

Lynne Z. Gold-Bikin heads the family law practice at Weber Gallagher Simpson Stapleton Fires & Newby, LLP. See release at http://www.wglaw.com/news/newpartners/299/.

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