At the beginning of our relationship, Tim and I didn’t have trouble spending time together. It didn’t take long after we started dating to make it a priority to see each other every day. Sometimes that meant a little sacrifice and inconvenience: I dropped by his house for a few minutes after youth group or he would get up early to see me at work before heading to school. Aside from trips that took us out of town, we continued this trend of daily face time into our engagement and our marriage.
Time is an essential ingredient for building any relationship. It takes time to get to know someone. It takes time to invest in someone. It takes time to produce intimacy. It takes time to maintain what you have worked to build. Marriage is one of the most important relationships to preserve and keep healthy, which requires time.
It seems like being married would make spending time as a married couple easier, right? I haven’t found that to be the case…
Being married does mean you get to live with your love, but it also means that real life is now inseparable from your romantic relationship. You can’t really escape into the fairy tale of boy-meets-girl when you also have to make your marriage exist on a practical level.
For me, that reality looks like bills making going-out dates less frequent, a messy house distracting me from cuddling on the couch, and our daily routines taking the place of intentional time together. We may have more time in the same place (does sleeping count?), but it takes purposeful planning to make that time feel like quality time.
I travel for work. (You can find out more about my work in this post.) This is immensely fun for me, but has been an interesting dynamic to navigate as a newlywed. Not only are we adjusting to life as a married couple, but I am gone a third of each month. My time away has not been detrimental (though it has the potential) to our marriage, however, it makes me very aware of how we spend our time when I’m home.
Even if quality time isn’t your love language, it’s necessary to give it and receive it for a marriage to thrive. (<– Tweet this!) For Tim and I, the actual quality time isn’t difficult to generate, it’s finding the time for the quality time. We can’t just let quality time form itself or it won’t happen as often as it should.
Here’s how we make quality time an intentional part of our marriage:
- Communicate! I get a detailed calendar of Tim’s schedule for the week on a regular basis. This helps me not to build false expectations of the time we get to spend together when I’m home. (Amy Lynn Andrews has a great post on how to create a weekly schedule using Google Calendar.)
- Plan – Using that calendar, plan the time that you will turn into quality time. You don’t necessarily have to plan what you’ll do, but if you don’t plan on it, it rarely happens.
- Just Say No – Once you have a plan, stick to it. This may mean you have to turn down other offers. No is difficult to say, but quality time with your spouse is worth prioritizing.
- Evaluate – Sit down with your spouse and evaluate all the activities and groups you are involved in. Are they all necessary? Do they add to your quality of life or do they take away your valuable quality time with each other? Make the necessary adjustments.
- Get Away – Sometimes you just need to get away from your everyday environment to secure that quality time. Tim and I have made it a priority to get out of town every couple months. Even if it’s just in a neighboring city, not having the distractions of home is really positive.
Quality time is important in every season of marriage! Each stage of life will come with different distractions and obstacles. While I’m still a newlywed, I want to make quality time a habit.
How do you make time for quality time in your marriage?