Independence is a good thing. Yet the fact is, in marriage, we are interdependent on each other. We need each other financially, socially and emotionally. While we may have independent needs and even independent interests, we cannot lead separate lives from each other. What we need to do is balance our lives and our needs with the needs of our marriages.
You may wonder how a couple can live together and yet live their lives separately. When a married couple is actually living independently of each other it’s called living in parallel. They can do this even when they are living in the same house. A couple can be living in parallel without even realizing that they are living in parallel.
A couple that is living in parallel is:
- Spending their ‘down’ time separately in separate pursuits
- Likely goes to bed at different times and rising at different times
- They rarely share meals together or only meet over meals they plan to meet at
- They enjoy different hobbies and activities
- One may work outside of the home or inside the home – they may both work outside of the home
- They may value similar things, but put their weight in different approaches
Living in parallel happens gradually. It happens when married couples are so busy taking care of their lives that they forget to live their lives. When they get so diversified in their interests, they forget to treasure the things they share together. Couples who begin to discover that they are living separate lives need to learn to come back together – they can start by dating and eliminating some of the extraneous things that they do that they don’t do together.
Have you and your spouse ever found yourselves living in parallel?