“Being independent means writing one’s own story each day. This is the first page.”
There’s immeasurable value in being part of a couple and equal value in being on your own. You can make your own decisions. In fact, you’re forced to make them and it can be overwhelming and terrifying when the “buck” starts and stops with you. But it’s also liberating to be able to do things on your own: buy a vehicle, rent or purchase a home, make a business decision, pay off a debt, emotionally stand on your own. Just in knowing you can gives you an enormous amount of confidence in your own abilities.
I tell my children to make sure they can do these things and are able to take care of themselves in adulthood first before they have others depending on them and before they depend on others (like a spouse). I want them to know they can, from a financial, emotional and practical standpoint, handle things on their own should they need to.
Part of my reasoning might seem a bit pessimistic, but important nonetheless: I never want them to feel trapped in an unhealthy or harmful relationship because of their doubt or fear that they can’t make it on their own. I want them to know they can do just fine because they already have.
Finding your own independence offers remarkable freedom. You can feel a healthy sense of pride and accomplishment. You come to know that being “uncoupled” doesn’t mean the same thing as being “alone.” A healthy place can be made for yourself while you discover the next course for your life and prepare yourself for it. You know that even if you don’t have the ability to fix your own car or leaky pipe, that you you’ve learned how to get estimates, search out good reputations, make a call and suss out a repair person for the job.
On the flip side of that same coin, being coupled doesn’t mean you lose your independence. You learn to share the load and have the bonus of knowing you can depend on the other person for certain things and vice versa. Standing on your own and making your own decisions and being accountable for them will help you gain a great deal of perspective, wisdom, and strength. We all need help. We all need people who support us and teach us, and when you become independent, you’ll learn to be one of those kinds of people for someone else.
Melanie Pickett is a mom, wife, writer, blogger, and Jesus girl. Melanie spends most of her time at her own blog, melaniespickett.com where she writes about her domestic abuse survival, healthy relationships, life, and faith. Melanie contributes to Sonoma Christian Home where she is an Associate Editor intern and is a regular contributor at Huffington Post and The Mighty. Melanie has been featured on BlogHer.com, Splickety Magazine, Whole Magazine, and Breathe Writers Conference blog. Melanie lives in Michigan with her husband, two teen children, and her pug Gracie. Her favorite Bible verse is Jeremiah 29:11 and one of her favorite quotes is: “They call us the dreamers, but we’re the ones who never sleep.”