Does freedom exist within marriage? Some people (hopefully jokingly) say the two don't go hand in hand. You know, the ol' ball and chain. Many say that once you're married, there is no freedom because you become one with your spouse, forsaking individuality and forgoing your personal goals, hobbies, and even your own personality to a degree. But I'd like to argue, as many happily married folk would, that marriage actually means freedom. Hear me out...
Freedom within marriage does not mean doing whatever you want whenever you want... sure, you can behave that way in marriage, but it's common courtesy to check with your partner before running off on that ski weekend with the guys or before accepting a spa weekend with the girls (don't behave like a selfish, needy jerk). Freedom in marriage does not mean having things your way around the home without compromise (don't be a spoiled control freak). Freedom in marriage does not mean innocently flirting with the opposite sex - this breeds a host of disastrous troubles within marriage (is disrespectful to your spouse and makes you look insecure and sex-crazed). Freedom in marriage does not mean 'letting yourself go' (eating what you want, becoming unhealthy, not dressing as nice as you used to, becoming a slob, and being lazy around your home) because you now have your spouse trapped in marriage so they can't get out (lazy and manipulative!!!). Now that we've covered just a few examples of what freedom within marriage does not mean, let's dive in and look at what it does mean.
I believe freedom within marriage represents three major components:
The first freedom within marriage is the freedom to fully be yourself (without judgement, without criticism). This requires unconditional love, true love. This is when you love your spouse so much, that you give them the freedom to be, act, talk, and behave in their own truth. It doesn't mean you allow them to get away with behavior that is self-damaging or damaging to the marriage) - of course you gently and lovingly call them out when necessary. After all - in marriage, you should be each other's accountability partner. Why? Because when you love someone wholly, you want what's best for them and sometimes love requires us to call each other out (but let me be clear, this should be rare). There is much freedom in having an accountability parter - it's like your own personal safety net. There is much comfort in knowing that someone loves you enough to have your back in this way. You can count on your spouse to lovingly and gently inspire you to grow. A major goal in life is to constantly grow, to become a better person - and having an accountability partner is one of the best tools for growth (if done correctly). But having the freedom to fully be you is not only liberating, but it's the only space a person feels safe enough to fully reach their potential and be great for those around them.
Freedom within marriage also means total peace and security. Peace, within marriage, means freedom from worry - worry of infidelity, abandonment, abuse, loneliness, and unhealthy misconduct that produces stress and marital decline. When you are confident that your partner has integrity (won't lie, cheat, abandon, or abuse you, and that they will love you fully) , one can relax, be at peace, and concentrate on the important things in marriage and life that lead to growth, fulfillment, success, and joy. Marital love is the ultimate expression of freedom because it also provides security throughout life - you have a best friend to take on the world in all her glory - the ups and downs. With your best friend by your side, trials aren't as bitter and celebrations are so much sweeter.
And last, freedom within marriage means individuality. When you're in a healthy relationship, you both focus on unity and togetherness, whilst fostering a degree of individuality for yourselves. The individuality I speak of is not a selfish endeavor, but a mutual desire to keep your marriage strong, with variety, and allowing you each to partake in your own interests. It provides both spouses the freedom to pursue their own friendships (not alone with the opposite sex) and interests (whilst occasionally sharing those experiences together). Think about it, if you both did all the same things all the time, you'd have little to talk about during your daily musings. And let's be real here, you aren't going to love every hobby/interest your spouse does. We partake in our love's interests some, for the sake of sharing, giving, and connection, but if it's an activity you don't love, you shouldn't feel the pressure of tagging along every time. Example? Many men like to hunt and many women enjoy the spa - should the wife go hunting with her husband because he loves it that much? And should the wife drag her hubby to the spa for facials and pedis? A small amount of time away from each other is healthy and breeds variety and balance. While you continually strive for unity within marriage, you also want to be a complete, strong, happy, and fulfilled person on your own. To maintain unity and individuality within marriage, you both need to be responsible, respectful of each other, mature, maintain moderation/balance, and be each other's accountability partner. Follow the Golden Rule of Marriage: do to your spouse as you would have him/her do unto you.
So marriage, if lived out correctly, provides one with full freedom. How do you celebrate freedom within your marriage? Please leave comments below and tell us what freedom within your marriage looks like and means to you.
Until we connect again, I wish you all the best in marriage! xoxo