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Monday, May 23, 2016

If time is the currency of relationships, is your marriage rich or poor?

Nothing can refresh the climate of your marriage more than spending time together.
My wife and I just spent a week in northern California together visiting our daughter and my wife's sister. Even though we were visiting with family, we purposefully arranged a few days of couple time for just the two of us. Coming in advance of a season of business travel ahead for me, it was wonderfully refreshing to have that whole week together plus those few days alone.

We are returning as I write this, feeling closer for the time we've been able to spend together.

I wrote last month about how there are great reasons to Intentionally Create Significant Memories together.  I understand that not everyone can take an extended trip like we just enjoyed. We are greatly appreciating the freedom these empty nest years are affording us!

But time together doesn't have to mean big trips.

A Daily Dose of Togetherness

In truth, I actually think that time together every day spent in genuine connection is even more important in sustaining your marriage than monumental trips you take every once in a great while.

It can be hard to prioritize one-on-one time on a daily basis. Life can be crazy busy, especially when there are young kids in the house. I get that. Even as empty-nesters, my wife and I still have to work hard to maintain our connection on a daily basis. As I've said before, it is really easy to put your marriage on auto-pilot.

Autopilot is easy. It's also dangerous.

What About Me-Time?

When life is crazy and stressful, I understand the pull of just wanting a little "me time."  If you have young kids, when the little ones are finally down for the night, it's natural to want to vegetate with the TV or a good book. Time together can seem like another demand - another thing on your overwhelming list. Same goes for when you work a demanding job that tends to suck the life out of you.

But, as important as taking care of yourself is, it's also necessary to sacrifice some of your "me time" for the sake of keeping your marriage strong. Don't think of your marriage as something on your to do list. You and your spouse are one. There is nothing else on your to do list that you can say that about.

Time is the currency of relationships, and when you neglect time together it will leave your marriage feeling deprived and depleted. On the other hand, if you prioritize keeping your marriage strong by staying intimately connected to your spouse, it will actually energize you to do the rest of your life!

Learn to Say No

Chronic busyness has become epidemic. We tend to load up every minute in a frantic attempt to "do it all," and we leave no margin. Further, we often don't leave room for the most important relationship we have: the one with our spouse.

Somehow we think "He/She loves me, he'll/she'll understand how things are. We will find time later." The problem is that later doesn't usually happen either, because we get stuck in our crazy-busy habit.

Don't relegate your marriage to leftovers. Truthfully, there isn't usually anything left over after you are done pouring yourself into all that you have signed yourself up for (or allowed other to sign you up for).

Bob Goff (author of "Love Does") quits something every Thursday. I love that idea. Maybe weekly is a bit extreme, but what if we regularly examined our lives in order to prune away the excess activities we've accumulated that don't line up with our piroirites?

What can you quit this week? What are you spending your time and energy on that God has not called you to? What are you willing to cut back on for the sake of improving the climate in your marriage through regular time together?

Do you have any tips on how you manage to get regular time together with your spouse? Share you thoughts in a comment

If you identify with the problem of living with no margin in your crazy-busy life, here is a great book: Margin, by Richard Swenson,

Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives

(aff link)


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