Time can be a big source of conflict in relationships. When you get married ‘your time’ becomes ‘their
time’. And if you have children, you also need to schedule in ‘family time’. As a relationship counselor,
Nicola Beer has worked with many couples who believe that their relationship is taking a hit due to the stress of being pulled in many directions, and has some advice to offer
Whether you are currently planning a wedding or already married, has it gotten to a point where you are both so busy with other things that you go days without having a real conversation? Do you now only discuss logistics, finances or children’s activities? And what about your intimacy? Has that been affected? Arguments over how time is spent are fairly common in relationships. But it becomes a problem when quality time is eliminated from the relationship.
A lack of quality time over a period of months or years can lead to frustration, resentment and withdrawal. It can also cause feelings of neglect, which creates further emotional and physical distance. I feel passionate about this topic because poor time management is something I failed at in past relationships. I neglected to nurture my relationship in pursuit of business and financial success and ended up ruining it. Awareness that you are not spending enough time together is key, but it is only the first step. We all know that knowledge is useless without action. So, here are five tips to strengthen your relationship and put the fun, excitement and passion back into it:
It is difficult to have a happy marriage if both of you are highly-strung, depressed, stressed or exhausted. Look at activities that are overtly time consuming and find out what can be dropped or delegated.
Come up with a weekly plan for alone time together, without friends or family. You should look at an absolute minimum of 10 hours per week, ideally, 15 hours if you are currently in ‘save your marriage’ mode. And this must be separate from family time. Schedule it in, as this makes you commit and it is therefore more likely to happen.
If you only focus on the hours you spend with each other, without looking at what you do in that time, your efforts may be wasted. Today, we are bombarded with distractions from social media, games, online entertainment and much more. Then there is zoning out in front of the television, switching off using food, sleep or drink, all of which can also take us away from our partner. Make a commitment to lessen the distractions.
Each of us has different relationship needs. Share your desires with your partner about what you would like to do when you spend time together. The most common needs, for some, can be affection and engaging conversation, while, for others it could be physical intimacy or doing activities together.
I know this article is about time, but lack of time, hectic schedules, extreme tiredness and the need for a good night sleep can lead to the habit of separate rooms, completely different sleeping times or separation in the bed. This physical distance can soon become emotional distance and leads to a vicious cycle. Only you know if this is something that needs to be changed. If it is, do it, and you won’t look back.