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Time Alone With Your Spouse… Get Creative and Let Go of Old Expectations

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Spending alone time with your spouse is important. Unfortunately, couples  often sacrifice quality alone time to the detriment of the marriage long-term.

Michele Weiner-Davis, a marriage therapist with a website called Divorce Busting, puts it this way, “I’m convinced that the single biggest contributor to the breakdown in relationships today is the fact that couples aren’t spending enough time together. They aren’t making their relationships a number one priority. The relationship gets put on the back burner. Everything else seems more important – careers, children, hobbies, community involvement, and personal pursuits. And when relationships aren’t attended to as they should be, trouble sets in.”

Spending time as a couple can be complicated for a number of reasons, and these reasons go way beyond logistics. Multiple studies show, however, that spending time together as a couple—alone—is vital to the health of a marriage and contributes significantly to the health of children’s home environment. Quality “couple time” does not need to be that standard perception of a nice dinner out and hiring a sitter. Exercising, going for a daily walk around the block, reading a book together and discussing it, or watching a movie after the kids are in bed can all count as quality time together. The most important factors are enjoyment, time to talk and listen, and the message that the other adult in your household is important.

Many families are on strict budgets these days and view alone time as a luxury they cannot afford. When money is tight and dinners in restaurants and sitters are not a part of the plan, think creatively. I know a couple that meets for lunch one day a week when their children are in school. This couple makes sharing a homemade sandwich seem romantic because it is a priority in their lives. They want to be together. They religiously carve out a bit of time for one another. As with everything, attitude is everything. Hike to a beautiful view spot, take a walk on the beach. If you really want to go out, go out for a less expensive meal—like breakfast—and leave the kids with a relative for a couple of hours on a weekend morning. Time and prioritization is more of an aphrodisiac than candlelight and tablecloths.

Michele Weiner-Davis adds, ”Time together can be the great healer. Even if it’s awkward at first, when two people commit to investing energy and time in their love life, only good things can come from it. When people put their relationships first, they feel appreciated and important. They feel loved. Spending time with your partner tells him or her in no uncertain terms, “You matter to me.” Time together gives people opportunities to collect new memories, do activities they enjoy, to laugh at each other’s jokes, to renew their love.”

Eventually, children leave. It’s the natural way of the world and, deep down, what we want for our children. All of us have heard the stories of couples that are faced with the realization that they now live with someone who they do not know anymore—their spouses—after their children leave home! While nothing is certain and couples can grow apart for a myriad of valid reasons, couples can also make efforts to grow together. These efforts do not need to cost money or even take a lot of precious time. They can be as simple as a shared sandwich on a park bench.

[AUTHOR: Hilary Doubleday]

 

July 12, 2015

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