We all feel it – whether it’s caused by work pressure, financial strain, raising the kids, or the aftermath of Harvey. It feels like there’s not enough time from morning to night. When (or if) you get a free moment, rarely are you alone. Many couples feel guilty for taking precious time away from their children to relax and enjoy each other.
A recent article from the Journal of Marriage and Family described a study by University of Minnesota researchers, who studied 47,000 couples from 2003 to 2010. The found that couples were twice as happy with their life when they spent time together. Furthermore, the researchers found that the stress levels of both partners dropped significantly and that the couple reported their life as having more meaning when they spent time together.
During stressful times, it’s important to make time for your partner. Although careers, children, and unplanned events may distract you, schedule time to be together. Couples can survive floods, children’s schedules, financial worries, and demanding careers better when they spend time together. Making time for your spouse is the best way to preserve your emotional health, which impacts your physical health.
The researchers mentioned several warning signs that you’re putting your relationship on the back burner. Keep a mental check-list of the following to consider whether you’re not spending enough quality time together.
You notice you’re arguing more when you’re together.
You feel as though you’re the only one planning date nights or special moments.
Work takes on a new meaning and you begin getting your need for connection, joy, and fun through work instead of with your partner. You fill your evening hours with work.
You begin taking your spouse for granted.
When you do have spare time, you sit glued in front of the TV instead of with your partner.
If you’re experiencing the warning signs above, here are some suggestions to help you take time and be with your partner:
Have a set time when you shut off your phones and other devices.
Take “mini-catch-ups” with our partner throughout the day. Marriage research suggests it takes only 2 minutes of conversation for couples to feel connected. Make a schedule when you begin this in your marriage because it requires that sort of commitment.
Let the children know your marriage comes first. The best gift any couple can give their children is to love each other. Children may not show it, but they are secretly proud of their parents when they see them in love. Love is also a verb; keep date nights once a week.
Display little signs of affection. You’ve heard this before and that’s because it matters. It’s the little things you do for each other that help keep you emotionally stable and feeling good about your life no matter what you’re going through.
Gratitude is a marriage vitamin. No matter what chaos goes on in your day, take time to thank your partner for one thing every day.
Who you choose as your spouse is one of the most important decisions you will ever make in your life. The health of your marriage affects your own and your children’s emotional and physical health. The best assurance for overall happiness is sharing your life with someone you love and someone who loves you.