Bob: What brings you here to see us?
Monica: I don’t know if he loves me anymore.
Steven: Of course I love you.
Monica: Then why don’t we ever spend time together?
Steven: She always complains we’re not spending enough time together. I feel like she wants me to pull it out of a hat. I’m in sales, so I have to be out a few nights a week with clients.
Monica: Our kids are seven and nine years old. We both work. At night it’s just the kids and me; they don’t even ask anymore, “When is dad coming home?” And the nights he is home, he’s answering the cell phone or returning emails. It never ends.
Steven: Yes and I’m doing that to support our family!
Monica: I know, but if it continues like this we may not have a family.
We see many couples like Monica and Steven in our practice. Not having enough time is one of the most common complaints we hear from couples.
Although not having enough time together appears to be the presenting issue, we find the lack of time together is rooted in not feeling connected. When couples stay in touch and nurture their connection on a daily basis, they find more motivation and desire to make time for their relationship.
Here are five tips that will help couples stay connected and find more time:
- Keep Your Partner in Mind – Even though you may not be together during the workday, take the time to connect with your partner. You may not have time for a long phone conversation to ask how his/her day is going, but there is no reason you can’t send a few texts.
- Establish Parting and Reconnecting Rituals – Create a habit when leaving for the day and when you reconnect. Instead of yelling “goodbye” up the stairs, take time for a one-minute hug and kiss, and an affirmation of love: e.g., I love you; Have a good day; Hope your presentation goes well; You are the best. Do the same when you come home each day.
- Express Gratitude – Think about what you love about your partner. Leave a notebook in a central place and take a minute each day to leave a message for each other about what you appreciate and what you are grateful for.
- Create Time Rituals – Here are some ideas:
- Schedule a regular date night.
- Get up 15 minutes early and have coffee together.
- At the end of each day spend 15 minutes together talking.
- Go to bed together at night and cuddle.
- Plan Ahead – Make time together a priority. Each Sunday look at your calendars for the upcoming week and block out times for your relationship. Make appointments for sex.
Creating more small connections on a daily basis will make a big difference. Try it and let us know the result.