I have never counseled a couple who wanted to improve their marriage that did not value spending quality time together. That is not the issue. The issue is finding the time. We talk a lot about the different stages of marriage. Each one has its benefits and its challenges. Some have more available time to spend together than others. Our busiest years were probably similar to yours. Those were the years when our kids were most active and not yet driving. Yet, even in those busy years we needed to find time for us. So many couples that I talk to say the demands of parenting leave very little time or energy for quality time together. I agree, but I know that if you don’t carve out time for each other, you can become strangers in just a few years.
What is the answer? It’s maximizing your opportunities. Now, just how do we do that? First, make it a priority. Look at a typical week together. When can you spend time together? For many of you, it may be when the kids are in bed and you want to go to bed too. That is when connecting with your spouse takes priority over sleep. Our experience was that when we sacrificed sleep for time together, we never regretted it. What that time together did for our marriage was well worth the sleep it cost us. I’m not saying stay up to midnight every night. I am saying that taking thirty minutes to focus on each other and connect is well worth the loss of sleep.
Take Couple A who made the decision to spend thirty focused minutes with each other every night after their kids were in bed. Take Couple B who made the decision to go to bed as soon as the kids were in bed every night. You might not notice the difference for a few months but eventually the quality difference of the two marriages will be obvious. Couple A’s investment in their marriage will pay off big time by growing their marriage and their connectedness. The time spent connecting actually energized them individually and as a couple. Couple B’s lack of connecting over time caused distance between the two of them. They were just going through the motions trying to survive life and doing it basically alone. The bottom line is that you can find the time. The question is, will you?