Tuesday, January 12, 2010 | 6:56 PM
Commentary: Making Time For Love
Happy couples spend quality time together. They know that doing things together increases their closeness as a couple and their happiness as individuals. Sometimes we let our hectic schedules get in the way of this essential element of a successful marriage. But you don't have to stand by and watch your marriage fall victim to your busy lifestyle. There are warning signs that will help you catch the problem before it gets out of hand and ways to maintain your relationship so you don't slip into the too-busy-for-love rut.
A red flag that you and your husband are being negatively affected by busy schedules is if the two of you have come to consider time with each other as something that comes after everything else. Your demanding schedules are problematic if you find yourself giving each other the low energy, can't-talk-to-anyone part of your day. If your only greeting after a long day consists of a request to talk about a chore or upcoming child-related event, the demands of your life have taken toll! Another danger sign that you and your husband are being negatively affected by your tight schedules is if you find yourself saying or thinking, "I'm too busy to have sex." Although common, this is most certainly an unhealthy choice for marriages. Spending time together leads to feeling connected; feeling connected and having sex go hand-in-hand. Both are essential for a happy marriage.
In my book, "A Tired Woman's Guide to Passionate Sex," I suggest several practices that couples can adopt to maintain happy and healthy marriages, despite hectic and demanding schedules. The first involves aligning your values with how you spend time. Many women and men say that their relationship with their spouse is of utmost importance to them, yet this is the first thing to go when tight on time. So, the first step is for you and your spouse to resolve to carve out time for what is most important to you: each another. This doesn't have to be a lot of time, but making the commitment and keeping it is crucial. Preferably, you and your spouse will commit to spending some time each day together (e.g., five minutes talking about your days) and some more intensive and mutually enjoyable time together each week. Still, if this goal is too lofty for now, the key is to begin to make spending connected time with your spouse a priority.
Because "Where will I find the time?" is likely the immediate question that comes to mind, in A Tired Woman's Guide to Passionate Sex, I show readers how to use creative time shifting to find hours in their already busy days and weeks Another thing I recommend in my book is that spouses find some way to synchronize their busy schedules and to clearly divide chores. Such division is needed for the standard weekly or monthly chores, as well as the daily hassles that arise. This will help avoid mis-communication and resentment about who does what, and will free up energy and time for more fun, connected, loving time together.
Frankly, the biggest danger of busy schedules is that the marriage slowly ceases to be a happy one! If your marriage is already disconnected or damaged from lack of connected time, there may be additional healing that needs to be done. For this, solid communication skills are absolutely essential. In my book, I dedicate an entire chapter to communication. Some essential tips are to use non-blaming statements that start with the word, "I" rather than accusatory statements that start with the word "you." It is also important to hear and acknowledge the grain of truth in whatever your spouse says when the two of you are trying to work out disagreements. And, remember: becoming disconnected usually happens slowly over time, so getting re-connected won't happen instantly. Still, it is certainly an attainable goal. And, if your own efforts don't end up leading to productive change, seek professional help from a licensed counselor or psychologist. Your marriage is worth it.
Sex is an essential element of a happy marriage. Find out how often our Will You Marry Me? couples expect to make love
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