Giving practical ideas on how to adjust your schedule; and some real time advice on how you can make time for each other.
What couples want:
I recently polled some of my clients and asked them to tell me some things they wish they had with their partner that they currently do not. The answer, not surprisingly, was overwhelmingly this:
They want more one on one time. Not more sex, or more travel together; but more alone time. It seems that with our busy lives, kids, jobs and school obligations, we miss out on just being together, not as a family, but as a couple; two lovers experiencing life together, without all the outside noise.
I know it’s easy to say and hard to accomplish. We are all so overextended and stretched thin, we find it hard to say no; as if the more we do allows us to work our way towards being better people. This not only stresses us individually, but it also puts stress on our relationships. Not just with our partners, but with our kids, our friends, and our extended family, such as parents or in-laws. It seems like a selfish thing to take time for ourselves, but I say it’s not. You can’t pour from an empty cup, so you need to take time to rest, to recharge, to something that is for you (and your relationship) and not always be living for someone else. I thought I’d give you some ideas on how you can make that happen.
Some of these may be “duhs” – but I’m not really being “Captain Obvious”, if you’re not doing it now, why not?
- Clear Your Calendar – Gasp! No, really. Both of you need to set aside time and make an appointment. This is the only way that some of you will ever meet this commitment. Put it in your calendar that “Tuesday from 1- 6PM Spend afternoon with __________”. Start with an afternoon or morning once a week. Do this for a month. Then choose one day in the following month where you take the entire day. You arrange for childcare, make no appointments, no meetings on that day. That day is sacrosanct. For you and your partner only.
It doesn’t matter what you do, if anything. You can do nothing (but I’ll bet you won’t)! Both of you will begin to look forward to your special day, and maybe if you pull that off, you’ll go to two days the following month. It will get easier to say “no” to those who demand your time in favor of spending it with your loved one.
- Date Night – Sit down with your partner and decide what it is you’d like to do together. Make a list of places you’d like to go and things you’d like to do and go through your community paper and find out what’s happening in your area. There are plays, concerts, community events, charity dinners and all manner of things happening all the time. I know it can be expensive to go out, but if you’re serious about spending time together, pony up and go out and do something. It can be as simple as dinner and a movie, or a walk through downtown. Make it fun and make it special, but above all, make it about being alone together on a date!
- Get away for the day or weekend. Go somewhere – Take a day trip or an overnight trip out of town. Visit the tourist places or the out of the way places that look interesting along the way. A night at an AirBnB or hotel is a fun way to spend time together. If you absolutely have to be home in your own bed, make a day of it, have a late lunch, or early dinner then head back home. Whatever time you spend, make the most of it and just enjoy each other’s company.
- Staycation- If you don’t want to or can’t arrange to travel, stay in. Turn off your phones, don’t answer the door, order in, and just hang out. No housekeeping, no laundry, no yardwork. Just be together, have a day or weekend where all you do is whatever the heck you want! Take the time to appreciate this wonderful person you get to spend your life with. Tell them and show them how much you want to be with them and how lucky you feel to have this time together. If you find you’re discussing family obligations, or dentist appointments, each of you has permission to tell the other to get back on track. Today is about you. Today is about now, being here with the one we love and making it a special time together.
Got any more ideas? I’d love to hear how this worked out for you. Please leave your comment below.
Stuart Fensterheim, LCSW helps couples to overcome the disconnection in their relationships As an author, blogger and podcaster, Stuart has helped couples around the world to experience a unique relationship in which they can feel special and important, confident in knowing they are loved deeply and that their presence matters.