You want to reconnect with your partner, but you can’t find the time to do it. We’ve all been there. Once you include working (inside or outside the home), looking after children, cleaning, paying bills and taking care of business… it sometimes feels like you barely have time to scratch yourself, let alone spend quality time with your partner or worse still, spend some relaxation time on your own!
But this is another thing killing our relationships. A lack of quality time leads to a lack of communication and a lack of connectedness. Neither of which are a good place to be.
“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” Steven S. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
“But the other things I’m doing are really important”
In his bestselling book, Covey asks readers to look at time management in a different way. No longer was it about “getting more done” in less time. Covey urged people to consider what was most important to do first, even if it wasn’t necessarily urgent.
Important but non-urgent activities include relationship-building, long-term planning, exercise, and preventive maintenance.
Think about what these activities have in common: They create a solid foundation for a healthy future with your marriage, your health, your assets, and your life.
And that’s where communication and couple time fits in. Because unlike a work deadline, a ringing phone, or weekly chore, your relationship goals don’t come with an appointment or an alert.
You have to set those yourself.
Your relationship goals don't come with an appointment or alert. Set them yourself.… Click To Tweet
“Since we had kids, we’ve got no time at all.”
I basically love my son more than life itself, but there’s no denying having him has really changed things. The reality is that having children puts a strain on a couple’s relationship. What used to be easy for you to arrange—dinner dates, spontaneous trips to the movies, lazy Saturday mornings for sex—now take a backseat to family time and caring for children.
“The transition from two to three is one of the most profound challenges a couple will ever face.” says Ester Perel, author of Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence
And while some people manage this admirably (having help in the form of babysitters/nannies/helpful family goes a long way), for others, it’s a constant struggle. I have friends who can’t even remember the last time they had a date night.
But ignoring your relationship comes at a cost to your family as well as your relationship.
“Don’t look at time away from your family as a bad thing. Look at it as a gift to them because you’re returning refreshed and happy.” Carol Ummel Lindquist, PhD, author of Happily Married with Kids: It’s Not a Fairytale
Risk of Divorce
Gary Chapman, author of The 5 Love Languages, states that every couple needs quality time together. However, if you or your spouse’s primary love language—that is, the way you like to express and receive love—is through quality time, then a lack of it is certainly fatal to your relationship.
How do you know if quality time is your partner’s love language? He’ll say things like, “We never spend time together anymore,” or “You used to like spending time with me,” or “You’re always too busy these days.” Maybe even just “Can we please do something together today?”
One of the most common causes people give for divorce is lack of commitment. 73% of people blame this lack of commitment to each other for the breakup of their marriage. Guess where the root of that starts growing? A lack of quality time together.
Work, work, work
You’re both busy with work and when you come home, you have chores to do and kids to raise. By the time you fall into bed at night, you may barely have enough energy for a peck on the cheek, much less sex or conversation. You’re starting to feel like roommates instead of lovers, and you miss that connection you had before real life got in the way of your love.
This is how it is, right? Or at least that’s what you think. Your friends seem to be in the same boat, so you tell yourself that when the kids get older you’ll have more time for each other. But will you—or will it be too late?
How Busy Couples Make Time for Each Other
Schedule a Date. Stop wishing for spur-of-the-moment romance and put it in your calendar! Bonus: Brainstorm 4 weeks of date opportunities on the first of each month. If this seems overwhelming, at least go out for a regular coffee or dinner and have some quality conversation. You’ll need to enlist some help in the form of babysitting. If you don’t have a helpful family member available, consider taking turns with parents of another child to have a playdate. (Not all dates have to be at night – so don’t worry if your child is not at the stage where they have ‘sleepovers’ or late nights.)
Take a Digital Detox for at least an hour a week. Spending time together without the distraction of your phone or television will give you a deeper connection with each other. Play a board game, listen to music, draw sketches of each other, cook together, go on a walk or bike ride. In my course, LoveSparkME: STRENGTHEN, I suggest a few unusual questions you can ask each other to get a new type of conversation flowing (which isn’t about the children or your finances!).
Practice active listening, which means not interrupting or multitasking when your partner speaks. Give him 100% of your attention, even for 5 or 10 minutes. Those few minutes here and there add up to a strong connection that keeps your love tanks full.
So how do I start?
You don’t have to flip the switch overnight from no time together to 24/7. That would be a bit drastic and potentially have a completely unintended negative effect. The first step to regaining that connection in a relationship is to ask for it.
A busy couple can start by having a simple brainstorming session to plan some time together. Maybe you send each other text messages as you think of an idea. Maybe you brainstorm over coffee in the morning. Perhaps you keep a notebook on the kitchen counter and write ideas as they come to you.
Just bonding together over the need for connection and how to find it is a powerful first step. If you are not the list-making type and need some support along the way, try the LoveSparkME: STRENGTHEN program, a 30 day course which will give you a simple task each day – some of which are focused on spending quality time together.
May the Love be With You