This July, I will have been married for seven years.  In that time, I can honestly say that I have grown to love and appreciate my husband (much) more than when we first started dating.  I can also say, that as a result of both my experience as a married person and as a couple therapist, I have started to ask myself more questions about my own behaviors in the marriage instead of focusing continually on his. This has, perhaps surprisingly, helped me to better enjoy and appreciate our relationship.

For example, earlier in our marriage, I was not a very social person.  I am fairly introverted by nature, and often ‘didn’t see the point’ to going out, particularly with people I didn’t know or was not comfortable with.  I knew enough about relationship give and take that I did not want to refuse my partner all the time, so I would agree to go.  But I would do so with a bad attitude, keeping to myself, waiting for others to entertain me.  As you can imagine, I was not very much fun.

And then it hit me one day—what it must be like for my husband to have the wife who, sure, had agreed to go with him, but who would then be withdrawn and disengaged throughout the evening. I had one of those moments where I could see my own actions through someone else’s lens, and I thought to myself, Am I behaving like someone I would want to be married to?  In other words, would I want to be on edge at a party because I knew my spouse was waiting to leave? Would I want to be dragging around a petulant (even pouty) partner? Would I want to deal with someone sulking in a corner?

Yikes. Stepping back, I did not like this vision of myself.  I had thought I was doing the loving thing by agreeing to go in the first place.  But how loving was it to agree to go and then be unwilling to truly participate?

When I saw my own reflection through my husband’s eyes, I realized that committing to going to a social event meant more than showing up, it meant actively engaging in what was going on around me.  It meant trying to be there for and with my partner, instead of being another body in the room.  It meant trying to help meet his needs instead of focusing only on what was comfortable or convenient for me.

Obviously, this realization does not mean I have reached some sort of marital nirvana where I never behave petulantly, or never feel and act like a grump.  But for me, asking myself, ‘Am I behaving like someone I would want to be married to,’ gives me a way to think about my own behaviors from my husband’s perspective, and to take stock of how my actions impact him.  It has made me more mindful of what I contribute to the relationship, in both ways that nurture it, and those that hinder its progress.


One of the gifts of marriage is the ability to have a secure base while we open ourselves to new opportunities, to new ways of being in the world, even.  Allowing myself to be open to my husband’s perspective has not only helped him in no longer having to attend parties carrying along a miserable wife, but has also allowed me to grow and better appreciate life as a social being. I have actually come to enjoy being social.  I am more willing to spend time with people I don’t know, and more engaged in settings where I would have probably kept to myself in the past. Because I have made a conscious choice to shift my perspective, and be present for my partner, I have matured in ways that have helped both our relationship and me personally.  It turns out parties are more fun when you put energy into what’s going on around you, instead of wishing you were at home in your pajamas.

Check out our guest posts on TheDCLadies.comThis post first appeared on; click here to read more and subscribe.