When you’re in love with someone you’re going to organize your schedule to make them a priority. Then you get married and you kind of get accustomed to having each other around.
Gradually, everything else seems more important, and the relationship drifts to the bottom. Then one or the other partner (or both!) get dissatisfied, and they start looking for excitement and adventure elsewhere.
That’s how perfectly happy couples start drifting to the bottom. So, let’s see how you respond to the five questions below.
- How much total time do you spend with your spouse each day?
- Of that time, how much is taken up with doing chores or things around the house?
- How much time do you spend in the same room, but doing separate things?
- How much time in a day do you engage in an actual conversation? That is, where you are actively listening to one another and maintaining eye contact?
- How frequently do you make time for each other to be just you, as a couple (a date)?
Time Spent Together is Well Spent
They say that if you want to determine what really matters to someone, just look at how and where they’re spending their time.
I once read that the average time a couple spends together in conversation about their relationship was as little as one hour per week, and for an average couple with kids, sometimes none!
And it doesn’t need to be an affair. Staying late at work, pursuing a hobby or sports excessively at the expense of family time, eating disorders, excessive TV, and an array of other so-called exits count too!
I don’t know about you, but this doesn’t sound like a good plan to me.
It is critically important to make the time to spend time together and talk to your partner, as this can determine the long-term success of your marriage. It shows the priority that you are giving to your relationship.
Then again, you might say “we’re busy.” I get that. We all are. Then again, it’s not that much time we are talking about.
So, How Much is Enough?
From my coaching practice and my personal experience, for a couple to maintain their relationship without it deteriorating they have to spend 1.5 to 2 hours a week together, talking. This is about their lives, about how the house is run, about what they’ve all been doing—to keep their stories caught up.
Just think of it for a moment! It’s 12-15 minutes a day!
Come on! Don’t tell me that’s not possible. It sure is!
Because what’s the alternative? Well, it’s not good. The alternative is that you become married to a stranger.
Also, once per week, have a date.
Two is better, but one is necessary. Of course, you can aim for a lot more but life is very busy and if it’s going to be sustainable it has to be realistic. By the way, you can have a date at home. As a matter of fact, there are plenty of ways you can have fun and spend some couple time at home.
That is a minimum. If you don’t want things to deteriorate, start with that. Fifteen minutes a day for talking, plus some extra couple time once per week is not rocket science. You really will have a hard time persuading me that this is not possible.
You Don’t Need to be a Hopeless Romantic
You don’t need to be a hopeless romantic to go out with your spouse and talk. For example, you can also just take a walk. This is what my wife and I do, and we do it as often as we can. We really enjoy it and it has become our way to spend quality time together, talk and do something for our bodies at the same time.
Going One Step Further
My wife and I also discovered something else. It really is important for us and I wanted to share that with you too.
Occasionally we like to talk about our relationship. So, not about the house, the kids, work, or how our cat brought us a dead squirrel again. We often do this during our walk, but sometimes over dinner (on our date night) or at home when the kids are not around.
What matters is that we discuss how we are doing as a couple. We reflect on past events, things we are proud of, and things we are not sure of. We laugh, and talk about the successes in our relationship, and reflect on the last time we handled a disagreement well.
If things have been a little tense lately, this is the time to discuss why. That sort of thing. By the way, that’s how you grow intimacy, not sex!
Now, you may not be used to spending time together and talking, or going out. You may be afraid you’ll run out of ideas for what to talk about when you start, or what to do while you’re on a date.
If that’s so, you’ll love my new book The 5 Little Love Rituals.
When you pick it up you’ll discover:
- How to reach out to your loved one and instantly deepen your bond. The good thing is that you’ll be able to start right away and you won’t need any cooperation from your loved one.
- 27 ways to spark a meaningful conversation and make your spouse feel like the most special person in the whole world when you talk to them.
- 39 free ways to have fun and spend quality time together, even if you are busy parents with young children.
- 48 simple surprise ideas your spouse will love, to make their heart start beating faster.
- 18 simple ways to touch and connect tenderly, not because you’re going to end up in bed together, but because you want to be with your loved one as a person.
- 10 extra tips for parents with young children.
UPDATE: What if you spent the next 28 days investing just a little time each day into your marriage? Imagine you had a simple step-by-step to follow that would give you awesome communication and deeper intimacy—not to mention the sex life you both want. I’m excited to share this awesome marriage training created by my good friends Dustin and Bethany Riechmann from Engaged Marriage. Best part? Members of the Feel Good Rituals community can still get it for FREE!
QUESTION: I love to learn from you. What is YOUR recipe for connecting? What do you do to keep the fire burning and prevent growing apart? You can leave a comment by clicking here.