In relationships, one of the main sources of conflict can be time. There are only so many hours in a day and how we spend them and who we spend them with can be a difficult balancing act. For couples, it is important to have these moments to reconnect and recharge your emotional battery, but it isn’t always that simple. The amount of time available to dedicate to your partner will vary with each person, however the imperative aspect to remember is quality really matters, not necessarily quantity.
Between everyday life demands like work, children, friends and so on, there is often limited moments left for “free time” for couples. According to the American Time Use Survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average working American has only 2.6 hours a day of leisure time and the majority of that time is typically spent watching television. There is nothing wrong with cuddling up next to your partner and watching your favorite show because that can be a quiet, bonding experience, but you also need to ensure that at some point your interaction goes beyond passive activities and mind-numbing silence. For couples to truly spend “quality” time together there needs to be communication. Stereotypically, women crave this more than men, but it is a key component to keeping your connection alive and thriving. Go out to dinner or cook together at home. Choose activities that allow you to converse and engage in eye contact. If your idea of a date night is a movie, take a walk or grab a drink after so you can discuss what has been going on in each others’ lives that week. You don’t have to participate in romantic candle-lit dinners or long, meaningful conversations every day, but it is vital to set some time aside each week to devote to just each other. The Office for National Statistics suggests that if you don’t make the effort to create this alone time that you will soon find yourself in a relationship that revolves around television and sleep. Remember that your special time together should be something outside of your daily routine so you can decipher between “quality time” and everyday activities.
I am a firm believer in keeping the spark alive no matter how many years you have been together, so if you want a successful relationship, you must put the effort in and reach outside of your comfort zone at certain moments. It is easy to fall into a relationship rut and stay stagnant, so always keep things interesting and moving. And though I am talking about the importance of spending time together, there is also something to be said about time apart and the positive effect it can have in revitalizing your connection. Stay tuned next week to see how this can help improve your relationship.