Relationships and Maintaining Independence

By Dr. Craig Martin

Spring makes me think of Aries and the fierce individuality it symbolizes. It takes a lot of independence energy to make a new beginning as big as spring. Other seasons propel themselves from the efforts of the previous one, but spring follows winter, the time of inward movement and hibernation. By contrast, spring is the time of year for initiative, action and new expression.

Inside all of us is the energy of spring! We all have an inherent desire to express our uniqueness, take action, and live our lives in a personally authentic way. It’s not always easy for us to achieve a state of complete self-expression, but most of us try. We take classes, learn, play, work and love as an extension of our identity. And that’s important.

A relationship is another facet of the way we express ourselves in the world — who we decide to be with, the manner in which we “live” as a couple, and the way we shape each other’s lives becomes an integral part of our own individual life. The balance between being a couple and being a separate person amounts to more than just the time we spend together and the time we spend apart. It is a complete attitude of separate-but-together that is more conducive to the successful life of a loving couple.

However, that attitude is easier said than done. Most people feel very protective, if not possessive, about the time they spend with their spouse or partner. Just ask the guy whose wife is working the weekend because she’s pressed for a deadline. Or the woman who gets yet another call that her partner won’t be home in time for dinner. We want to have our own sense of independence, and we certainly want to offer that to our loved ones — but it can be complicated.

The reason most of us are in a relationship in the first place is multi-folded. We want companionship and someone to have fun with, and we may also want a family and the joys it can bring. We may even be looking for someone to grow with spiritually. We  want to spend time with our partner —but the time spent in the relationship is time we don’t have exclusively for us.

Finding that balance between work, hobby or “alone time,” and also our relationship is one of the greatest juggling acts we will ever do. There are certainly times when more energy needs to be dedicated to work, and the relationship may get the short end of the stick. The opposite is true as well — times when our relationship places demands on us that make it difficult to keep up with other duties.

The trick is not getting too enmeshed in one or the other. Trouble always begins when we lose focus on the balancing act that’s needed to have a full life. And it’s easy to lose that focus. Spend too much time at the office and not enough time with the kids and you are likely to hear about it. Go through a rough spot in a marriage and your work is likely to suffer. Yet, our individual life and our relationship do not have to be seen as separate at all. Together, they are our lives — and while they are different expressions of life, they are connected to us just like spring is connected to the Earth.

Relationships can fuel our individuality just as certainly as our individuality brings about a relationship that is right for us. They work together and are definitely not opposed. It only seems that way because of the duality of self and other. But the truth is always a bit different from the way things appear. After all, spring comes, even when there’s still snow on the ground.

Dr. Craig Martin is an astrologer, interfaith minister and spiritual counselor. Working with both individuals and couples, he resides in Los Angeles, and practices in both New York City and California. He is the author of “Elemental Love Styles: Find Compatibility and Create a Lasting Relationship,” and can be reached through his Web site at