One of my favorite books is The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. If you haven’t read it, definitely put it on your reading list. We often give it as a wedding gift. The premise of the book is that we all have a primary love language, a specific way in which we feel most loved.
The five love languages are words of affirmation, acts of service, quality time, gifts and physical touch. Chapman says we usually have a secondary love language as well.
While we all have different love languages, I believe a common need we all have to feel loved and connected is time. When we spend time with someone, we get to know them better, we can express and receive physical touch, and we can laugh and have fun. Even if you can’t physically be with someone, you can still spend time together, thanks to technology. Two weeks after my husband and I began dating, I went to Argentina for a semester of college. We spent a lot of time e-mailing and on AOL Instant Messenger. (I’m totally dating myself, aren’t I?)
When we aren’t spending time with our spouse, we can quickly feel disconnected. We won’t know what’s happening in their daily routine or what’s going on in their head and heart. Consistent disconnection can lead to temptations and other problems.
Some say that quality time together is more important than quantity time. I believe it’s a mixture of both. How much quality and quantity time have you been spending your spouse?
If you’re raising a family, children’s schedules and activities can really press a couple for time. During the busy holiday season, it’s especially easy to put time together on the backburner with so much on the calendar.
Here are some suggestions to ensure you’re spending time with your spouse:
- Schedule an overnight or weekend getaway: ask grandparents or friends for help with childcare. Consider swapping with another couple so they can get time together too. If you can’t get away for an entire weekend or an overnight, you can always have a fun date night locally.
- Schedule intimate time: this is often another area that can easily be overlooked in marriage when you’re busy. While scheduled sex may sound too structured, it will happen if you schedule it, but may not if you don’t.
- Do chores and shopping together: the holiday to-do list can be miles long, so schedule a block of time with you cross things off your list together. Run errands and then share a meal at a new restaurant you’ve wanted to try.
- Turn off the TV or eliminate other distractions: this is a tough one because at the end of a long day, we often want to relax or zone out with TV or technology. Try to reduce the time you spend doing this on both a daily and weekly basis. Trade the time for conversation together or doing something fun at home, like playing a board game.
- Say No: We have so many invitations to say yes to other things on a regular basis, but too many yeses can mean no to time with our spouse. It’s okay to say no and have boundaries so you can ensure you’re spending quality and quantity time together. Your kids may have to adjust to this concept, but it’s great to model for them what it takes to have a healthy marriage.