But in many marriages, spouses tend to short change their time together. Why is that? We make sure we have time for work, chores, doctors, kids’ events, sports, and other things. But if you ask many couples, “When was that last time you went out together…just the two of you?” they will fry brain cells trying to remember when they last spent that kind of time together. Ask many couples, “When was that last time the two of you just hung out together and relaxed?” they’re liable to tell you, “Last night when we went to sleep.”
Why is it we tend to short change our marriage when it comes to spending time together? We all feel pressed for time, but really it’s such an easy thing to give. It doesn’t cost us anything. We don’t have to worry if it’s the right size. We have as much of it as anyone else. Why don’t we spend more time together? Maybe it’s because…
- We feel like there’s too much to do. But there will always be too much to do. We don’t need less to do, we need to figure out what’s most important to do. If you’re not sure, ask yourself this question…”When I’m on my death bed looking back on my life, where will I wish I had spent more time?”
- We’re too busy doing things we think are important to our spouse, but really aren’t. I’ve known husbands who have spent most of their time working to provide the life-style they think their wives want. While all the while, their wives would have rather had the time with their husband. I’ve known wives who have spent most of their time keeping the house clean, tending to kids, and going to the gym to look good for their husbands. While all the while, their husbands would have rather had the time with their wives.
- We don’t like the same kind of things. Welcome to the club! Husbands and wives usually differ in the things they like to do. But we spend time with all kinds of people who don’t like the same things we like…bosses, coworkers, parents, kids, etc. If we can spend time with them, we can spend time with our spouse.
- We don’t know what to do or talk about. So often, husbands and wives get so wrapped up in earning a living raising a family, and taking care of stuff that they lose touch with one another and become more like roommates than spouses. The first time my wife and I were intentional about spending time together apart from the kids, we decided to go out on a date and not allow any talk about the children. It was as awkward as any blind date I was ever on. Maybe more so. But we got better at it.
- We think the quality of our time together is more important the quantity of our time together. I have news for you. If you’re not having good quantity time together, you’re not having good quality time together.
Spending time together is a little thing that will improve your marriage. So, if you’re a couple who needs to spend more time together, here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Start by doing nothing…but do it together. Maybe she’s reading and you’re watching TV. Fine, but do it together in the same room. And you get extra points if you sit next to each other when you do nothing together.
- Schedule at least one date night every other week. Find a reliable sitter. Put these dates on your calendar. Don’t let anything trump the date night. But here’s the kicker…on these dates there is to be no talk about the kids and no other couple with you. Yeah, it may be awkward at first, but you’ll get used to it.
- Learn to do stuff you don’t like. In my house, there was a wife and two daughters. If I didn’t learn to go shopping, I would have never seen them. In turn, my wife has had to learn to tolerate the Apple Store and non-stop Big Bang reruns. Just remember, you’re not there for the event…you’re there for the company.
- Make up conversation. That’s right. Make it up! Talk about something that happened that day. Talk about something you saw on TV. Talk about something you see while you’re out together. Steal the old Jerry Maguire line and say, “Hey, did you know the human head weighs 8 pounds?” It won’t be long before you’re talking like old friends again. If you just can’t seem to get started, go get “The Ungame.” It’s a card game with a lot of easy questions you can ask one another. Questions like, “What was your favorite TV show growing up?” It will help.
These suggestions should help you get started and before long, you’ll be pros at spending time together.
We have a limited amount of time to spread among an unlimited amount of demands. Make sure that spending time with your spouse gets bumped to the top of the list. It’s a little thing, but it means a lot.
And one last thing… If you’re one of those couples who’s doing fine in the spending time together department, hang on to this post. There will probably be a time in your marriage where you’ll need it.
What are some ideas that have worked for you and your spouse when it comes to spending time together? Leave a comment and share them. You’ll be helping the rest of us out.
Copyright © 2014 Bret Legg