One of my good friends, I'll call her M&M, and I vent to each other whenever necessary. Its harmless venting; "He didn't put the dishes in the dishwasher" or "He was late again" that sort of thing. She brought something to my attention the other day that, I know I've written about before which basically means its worth repeating!
We don't have to do everything together. With our significant other, that is. For example, my Kurt can go to his parents' house without me and it doesn't mean anything is wrong. I can go to a book reading or animal event without him and it doesn't mean anything is wrong. In fact, I can leave a party before him or he can go to a family event without me and all this means is that we're strong enough in our faith of our marriage that we are okay to go our separate ways once in awhile.
M&M, an avid animal lover, burns her wick from both ends and is oftentimes over-doing it and double-booking herself. A situation arose where she had a prior commitment for an animal organization (although, that shouldn't matter, just the fact she had a prior commitment is the relevant portion of this) and her in-laws were also coming in town. Unexpectedly.
Now, this has happened to me far too many times; someone drops in or an event is planned unexpectedly and we're at a crossroads: which do we attend? For those of you who are planners, you are with me in that we are planners for a reason. While I attempt to remain as flexible as possible for those around me, I do plan for a reason. And, if you want to spend time with me or want me to come to your event, I need a heads-up. And, by heads-up I do not mean a few hours.
So, M&M struggled with the decision internally for a bit then brought it to her significant other whom, it turns out, completely understood her predicament and that she'd made a prior commitment. His parents coming in town last-minute while great, was not conducive to her schedule so they missed out on seeing her that particular trip.
He went his way (family stuff) and she went her way (prior commitment) and all was well.
And that, my dear readers, is what a healthy relationship looks like.