Time seems to be a big marriage problem. Coordinating schedules, finding consistency, and freeing time of interruptions all make it difficult for a couple to maintain their friendship and romantic connection. Our busy lifestyles have drastically reduced our ability to spend quality time connecting with our spouse.
Here’s how it happens: All other activities (children’s extra-curriculars, education, work deadlines, etc.) have accountability on multiple levels. If we don’t complete the task or show up, we answer to others.
But what about your marriage? Our quality time with our spouse has no deadline or checkpoint. Will anyone besides our spouse notice if we fail to put this time in the schedule? Bonding with our spouse doesn’t seem to have the same urgency that life’s other obligations have. That’s why prioritizing your marriage can become difficult.
I’m sure you have experienced this like we have. We get busy, and we slowly start to drift apart, simply because we haven’t spent much time together lately. Then when we do, it takes a while to reconnect and catch up on all the life that happened. It can feel like we’re constantly playing catch-up. We need some type of schedule we can follow to avoid the drifting.
In the book The Gift of Sex, Clifford and Joyce Penner talk about the problem of time in a couple’s marriage and how that problem can affect intimacy. To make sure your marriage remains a priority, they advocate scheduling 4 types of “couple time” and actually blocking off appointments. They give this formula that has worked for them and couples they’ve counseled:
- 15 minutes per day – sharing about your day and connecting spiritually and physically
- 1 evening per week – date night or night at home
- 1 half or full day per month
- 1 weekend per season
“We are convinced that daily connecting and passionate kissing keep the pilot light on so that it is easier to turn up the flame. One evening per week might be a date night to take more time to pleasure each other without demand. It may be your scheduled quality time together. A half-day or day per month may be a getaway time or a time of loaning children to friends or family and enjoying each other at home.
The weekend per season isn’t possible for all couples, but it is a great bonus if you can take that time. So much reserve can be built during extended times together that will carry us through the stressful times.”¹
Ben and I often take breaks at home or go out together, but it’s not the same to stop for dinner after running errands or spending your day at home cleaning the house. We’ve really been challenged by this “formula” for making the best of our time on a daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly basis. If we don’t take charge of our calendar, an entire month can get filled without some planned quality time. When we do put it on the calendar, we have the security of blocked off time to look forward to (Anticipation is Half the Fun!).
Making intentional time to spend together is important for every marriage. Sometimes it feels silly for a couple to put time to sit at home and talk or time for the bedroom on the calendar. But if couples don’t schedule time, other demands will always come along and dominate the calendar.
This priority for time as a couple can get expensive! Hiring babysitters, dinners out, booking a hotel, etc. But that doesn’t make it any less necessary.
¹Penner, Clifford and Joyce. The Gift of Sex. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2003. 203.
This post contains affiliate links. So if you buy this book from this link, Real Married Life receives a portion of the sale.
Sharing at Messy Marriage