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Self Care Enhances Your Marriage

Taking Care of Yourself Is Not Selfish


Photo: John Slater / Getty Images
Photo: John Slater / Getty Images
One of the standard closing lines we use in letters and emails is "Take care." And we mean it.

We often tell our readers to remember the importance of taking care of themselves, both emotionally and physically. That means minimally getting enough sleep, consuming a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and having some fun and laughter in life.

For some of you, taking care of yourself is taking a daily walk, or enjoying quiet time to read before falling asleep, or enrolling in a class, or not making your bed every day, or bird-watching. Regardless of what you call it or how you do it -- centering, recreation, renewal, self nurture, self care, recharge, inner peace, being true to yourself, time alone, personal truths, restore -- you need it. And your marriage needs it too.

Not Enough Time

For others, self care is an impossible thing to do. There are just so many hours in the day and so much to be done. There is no time for you. Some day when this project is finished or when the kids are grown, you'll have time for yourself. Anne Lamott refers to this type of thinking as delusional: "They are absolutely sincere, and they are delusional."

We agree with Lamott. If you are in this group of folks who think you don't have time to take care of yourself, if you don't make taking care of yourself a priority, you are fooling yourself and your marriage will suffer. Not taking care of yourself can lead to bad moods, negativity, and stress.

There is enough time. You make time for others. Make time for yourself.

Comments Worth Making Time to Think About

Dan Beaver: "A wife used to be encouraged to tend to her husband's and children's needs first. But if you do that, you'll become resentful ... You have to care for yourself before you can care for others."
Source: Jane Bianchi. "10 Marriage Rules that No Longer Apply." RedbookMag.com.

Anne Lamott: "I’ve heard it said that every day you need half an hour of quiet time for yourself, or your Self, unless you’re incredibly busy and stressed, in which case you need an hour. I promise you, it is there. Fight tooth and nail to find time, to make it. It is our true wealth, this moment, this hour, this day."
Source: Anne Lamott. "Time Lost and Found." Sunset.com. April 2010.

Polly Campbell: "Now, science explains what I experienced. A new study, led by Amy Brunell of Ohio State University Newark campus, shows that men and women who were true to themselves get along better with their partners. Those who lead more authentic lives reported a greater sense of personal well-being and also behaved in more intimate, less harmful ways toward their partners."
Source: Polly Campbell. "How Leaving the Laundry Can Improve Your Relationship." PsychologToday.com. 4/12/2010.

Amy Brunell: "... being true to yourself doesn't mean that you should accept all of your flaws and not try to make positive changes in your life. But you should be aware of both your limitations and areas where you can improve. One payoff could be better romantic relationships."
Source: Amy Brunell. "For better romantic relationships, be true to yourself." Eurekalert.org. 3/15/2010.

Carol Mithers: "... it's not selfish to do what allows us to continue giving to others. It's not selfish to treat ourselves with the same thoughtfulness we show those we love."
Source: Carol Mithers. "Be Good to Yourself: How to Self-Nurture." Ladies' Home Journal. July 2007.

Helene Brenner: "There is a way out. And it doesn't come from fixing, improving or changing a single thing about yourself. We have seen that living from the forgotten self comes from losing connection to our inner seles, to what we know, sense, feel and want. Like the princess in a fairy tale, something essential within us seems asleep and unreachable, locked behind closed doors and blocked passageways. But those passageways are still there. You just need to know how to open, or reopen, the pathways within and travel their lengths, and listen to what your inner self is trying to tell you. Then you can come back to knowing what you know, sensing what you sense, feeling what you feel and wanting what you want."
Source: Helene Brenner. I Know I'm In There Somewhere. 2003. pg. 29.

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