Busyness seems to be a symptom of our society. It's almost a badge of honor. We rush from activity to activity saying, "I'm so busy." We even feel guilty if we don't have something to do at any given moment.
We hear from couples who work full-time, go to school, raise kids and volunteer at charities, and wonder why their marriages are having difficulties.
Assessing your priorities
We live with the lie that we can have it all, do it all and deserve it all. Many couples are so busy that they don’t take time to maintain the foundation of their family - their relationship with each other. When the marriage begins to crumble, everything else comes down with it.
Here are some warning signs that busyness is taking a toll on your marriage:
- You think you have to choose between your spouse and your kids.
- Your lives are fragmented; you spend more time running around doing things than spending quality time together.
- When you're together you both tend to be in your own world.
- You both find yourselves easily irritated over small annoyances.
- Disagreements and misunderstandings between the two of you increase.
- Several months pass before you realise the two of you haven't had a date or planned alone-time together.
If you see some or all of these warning signs popping up in your life - stop and take notice! Your time with your spouse is too important to the security of your marriage to neglect. It's more important than the time you spend at work or even with your kids. Remember this - time you set aside to spend with your spouse isn't time you don't have; you’ll use it for something less important if you don't use it for each other.
Make your time count
Couples need to get away alone to talk, laugh and have fun together; that's when true connection takes place. We need to learn more about each other, our past and our dreams for the future. We need to feel at ease with each other as we face new challenges together.
If you and your spouse are both working or going to school full-time, it can be incredibly tough to find time to spend together. Don't have any regrets when it comes to your family. You get only one chance with them. Perhaps putting off school for a season or cutting back on work hours will give you the time and energy you need for each other and for your family.
Sometimes having one of you quit work or cut back on hours isn't possible because that second income is needed or that degree is one semester away; cutting back may end up causing more stress instead. In cases like these, you need to make a concerted effort to have at least a few minutes a day just for you and your spouse. This makes your marriage a priority and gives it the intentional maintenance it needs.
The reality is that there may be time for some of those other activities in other seasons of your life - you can still go to school later, but the window of opportunity for keeping your marriage strong may not remain open indefinitely.
Adapted from Making Time For The One You Love by Dr. Gary and Barb Rosberg. Reprinted with permission from Focus on the Family Singapore.