17. We respect each other's space and give each other room to grow.
I already wrote about how we show each other respect. That was an easy place to start, unfortunately, because modern society talks so little about demonstrations of respect that these become one way our marriage stands out.
Yet there is more to respect than demonstrations of respect. There are also all the ways we respectfully give each other space—often by doing nothing when words or actions would be disrespectful.
We both have hobbies and respect the other person’s hobbies. We give each other time for our hobbies. We allow each other places in the home dedicated to the hobbies. We appreciate what the other person crafts and creates.
We both allow the other to have time away from the house with friends. I play Pathfinder with a group of guys. She goes on a long walk to chat with her best friend.
When we delegate household chores we never micromanage each other's share.
We encourage each other to follow genuinely self-directed efforts at self-improvement. We do not try to add a spouse’s agenda for "self"-improvement.
Finally, we do not create "negative space" for each other. We bring complaints to each
other promptly to avoid holding secret grudges. We never demean the other
in public. We realize that "choosing our battles" means postponing a request for a few hours or days because people can only deal with so much at once (instead of allowing "choosing our battles" to mean we must give up on something ever happening and thus becoming resentful).