How to maintain your independence after getting married

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Jennifer Garner says she works hard to not just be the 'wife of' Ben Affleck...

Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck at 2013 oscars

© Getty - Handbag

Power couple Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck have become a beacon of a successful relationship and, dare we say it, a normal family in Hollywood.

However, like most married women, Jennifer Garner has said it can be tough to maintain your independence once you get hitched.

Speaking to Allure magazine about why she can be seen on the red carpet without her hunk of a husband, she explained, "Sometimes it's a pain because my heels are so high and it would be really nice to have his arm. And he''s such a great date! But it can be too much. I think especially for women, they can really lose their identity and just become 'wife of.'"

Hollywood A-lister or not, Garner makes a point. So how can women keep their independence after they say 'I do?'

Here's a list of suggestions on keeping the you in a marriage...

Your career is yours
So what, you got married? Big whoop. Your job is still yours. Nothing has changed. If you were ambitious and aiming high before, then carry on.

Maintain personal friendships
Ensure you spend time nurturing the relationships outside of your marriage. See your friends without the other half and make time for nights out and girls holidays with just your mates.

Alone time
While you want to embrace all of the great things about your newly married life, it doesn't mean giving up hobbies and activities that you enjoyed before.

Love going for a quiet jog in the morning? Leave him in bed. Taken up a photography course? Great - enjoy. Or even if it's just needing a few hours with a book and your thoughts - you are entitled to not feel selfish for wanting some me time.

Actions speak louder than words
Whether you choose to change your name or not is a personal decision - but remember that keeping your maiden name doesn't guarantee independence. Keeping who you are goes beyond that. Your friends won't care what your surname is if they never see you because you're at home with hubby watching box sets of Mad Men.

Set some goals
Now you are a unit - inevitably you'll be working towards some goals together. Buying a house, a holiday you both want, someone mastering how to use that blasted bread maker you got given at the wedding. But that doesn't mean you can't have targets and dreams of your own. Whether financial, personal or to do with your career - personal developments are still key.

Manage expectations
Chances are you're not marrying someone who expects you to become a 1950s housewife overnight - however there is a certain level of married life admin that needs to be undertaken.

Seemingly trivial issues like who buys the birthday and Christmas presents for the family or who does the washing up can lead to needlessly massive rows. Just sit down and have a chat about how you see the roles playing out now you're wed to avoid mismatched expectations.

Ignore everyone else
You've already seen it with the wedding prep - people project certain ideals and expectations onto you. It's time to shut out the noise and just do what works best for you and your marriage. Communicate with each other and everything is going to be just rosy.

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