In Becoming Married (1993), Anderson & Fite talk about having a “room of one’s own.” This concept is not about a physical space, although it can be, as much as it is an emotional space. It refers to the delicate balance between needing connection within a relationship, and the need to still be an individual with autonomy and uniqueness. A “room of one’s own” honors the need to be separate at times where one can examine one’s thoughts, feelings, and wishes, while realizing the need to also be committed to relationship.
There is a paradox in the separate but togetherness of relationship. Marriages often negotiate the balance between separateness and togetherness in an ongoing dynamic requiring delicate conversation and cooperation. It is most difficult when two people’s needs do not match at the time or where one party needs more space and another might need more connection. Like many aspects in relationship, it requires open communication, the ability to safely express one’s needs, and the ability to know what one is feeling. Finally, it often requires compromise. It is an important aspect to consider in premarital work, but may need renegotiating even when couples have been together for a length of time as different stages of life may present new challenges to the established balance.