8 Ideas for Self-Care in Marriage

When two people get married, it can be easy to imagine a life of fun, comfort, and ease. After all, you’re now with the one that you love most, and what could be better than spending a lifetime in adventure with your spouse? And who better to build a family with than the person you respect and like the most? 

I was 24 and Joy was 21 when we got married. They say that young people have the advantage of having all the time and energy in the world to pursue their dreams and make a difference in the world, and indeed, Joy and I did just that. I was actively involved in a nonprofit organisation designed to help teenagers find their purpose in life, and as soon as the kids were in school, Joy also jumped in the bandwagon, focusing on teaching children. 

While we found our work fulfilling, we’ve come to realise that we aren’t robots that can just keep going and going and going. Unless we are intentional about taking a rest, we can keep going until we burn out, and that’s not a pretty picture. 

When I’m over-exhausted, I can get crabby and snap at just about anything, and it also intensifies my nitpicking. That’s also the time when I’m most aggressive during a misunderstanding or a conflict. When Joy is exerted beyond her capacity, she tends to nag and scold the children more than usual, which annoys me and can also cause more strife.

    
Unless we are intentional about taking a rest, we can keep going until we burn out, and that’s not a pretty picture.
    
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8 Ways to Encourage Self-Care for Each Other

Do you know that it’s not selfish to take care of ourselves? In fact, we can only take good care of our families once we are healthy ourselves. Because of that, Joy and I have committed to find individual time for self-care. This means we both respect and encourage each other to make sure we take care of ourselves individually, and that we also take care of each other as a couple.

Here are some ideas to make sure you and your spouse get the time you need to take care of yourselves:

1. Put it in the schedule.  

When we constantly pour ourselves out for others, we tend to forget to take care of ourselves. That’s why putting it in our weekly schedule is important! It can be a thirty-minute or one hour block of time. Even if you don’t know yet what you want to do during that time, that’s OK. Just block it off first; that’s similar to giving yourself permission to go off during that time slot. 

2. Find different ways to be refreshed.  

Some people like to read a book, while others enjoy going for a walk or a bike ride. Whichever activities refresh you, consider doing them on your set self-care time. Also think about trying new things, because you don’t know what you might enjoy unless you try them.

3. Share your favourite activities with your spouse.

Talk about your favourite activities with your husband or wife. You might consider joining your spouse in activities that he or she finds worthwhile. But even if you do these things separately, understanding how they impact your partner can help you both honour the time you set aside for them. 

4. Schedule a regular date time.

Sometimes, self-care can be done during couple time. Consider doing activities that refresh the both of you during your date. Some ideas include going on a hike or nature walk, having a cup of coffee, or even exercising together. 

5. Invest in new skills. 

Self-improvement is one aspect of taking care of yourself. Think about a skill you may want to learn, and invest time and energy into it. Don’t feel guilty about it, because you are putting effort towards becoming a better you. This may be an individual or a couple activity, depending on your current life situation. For example, Joy and I took some lessons in baking—and although she clearly does it better than me, and I probably won’t be baking anytime soon, it was an enriching experience for both of us. 

6. Add exercise to your week. 

Taking care of yourself includes making sure you are healthy mentally, emotionally, and physically. Don’t underestimate the power of exercise! If you haven’t already done so, consider adding physical exercise to your week. Joy and I enjoy taking a long walk a few days a week. It has become part of our regular times together, and it may include a cup of tea along the way. But we believe the physical movement adds to our well-being. 

7. Take some time away from the kids and other household responsibilities. 

In addition to taking regular time off from family responsibilities, it may also be a good idea to consider taking a holiday of more than one day. Of course, you won’t want to do this too often, but think of the time away as a chance for you to recharge and re-energise.

8. Take care of each other.  

Not only do we encourage our spouse to do self-care, we can also think about ways to take care of each other. If your partner enjoys a good massage, consider giving him or her one yourself. In our case, I feel refreshed browsing the bookstore. Joy helps me do that by going along with me, even if she doesn’t read as much and doing so means that she occupies herself in the cookbook section! Even though we aren’t technically “together” the whole time, her doing so fills up my love tank and I feel refreshed. 

Value Each Other’s Self-Care

We hope these ideas can help you have regular time to take care of yourselves and your spouses. This is crucial for us to continue to be good parents, good employees or good bosses. If you want more ideas for date time as a way of taking care of each other, check out our post on date time ideas. 

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