In today’s world, we are pulled in a thousand different directions. Smartphones, tv’s, computers, friends… distractions that take us away from what should be at the very top.
A healthy relationship, one that has longevity has time at the core. How often have you said or heard someone else say “there aren’t enough hours in the day,” “we just never have time together.” Now here is an exercise I want you to try, one that will open your eyes in a major way.
Follow this exactly as laid out and you might be shocked at the results.
1. Take a piece of paper and write out a 24-hour span in hour or half-hour long blocks. Do this for two or three consecutive days.
2. Record everything. Time spent at work, driving the kids to events, hanging out with friends, texting, social media, the works.
3. I have to stress this. Be exact. The only way to get perspective is to be brutally honest in having a visual recording of your day-to-day.
4. At the end of the experiment, take a second sheet of paper and on this one make two columns. One labeled “Time with Partner” the other labeled “Everything else.”
5. Add up the # of hours that you spent on each activity. Only include undistracted, unplugged, connected time with your partner in the partner list. This does not mean just romantic gestures. Did you spend time talking? Eat dinner together? Go for a walk? Think of all the moments that you had with your partner throughout the day, no matter how big or small.
6. Now compare them.
What did you find? Which column was bigger? Which one got the most priority and chunk of your day?
See here is the thing, work, kids, errands, they do take up a significant portion of our day, but what you will find, perhaps, is how little of it is used by the person you’re in partnership with.
You don’t have to cling to each other like barnacles; you don’t need to spend every waking moment obsessively thinking of each other, but you do need to prioritize. There is always room to make time for the person you love. Too often we take our partner for granted getting further away from what came so easily before, sharing moments.
That show you just had to watch, set in on the DVR and sit on the sofa together talking instead. That friend who always needs you late at night, be willing to say no, and giving that hour to your partner instead. Those hobbies that require you to lead virtually separate lives find a way to pair down the “me” wants and find “us” wants instead.
You would be shocked at how little it takes to define quality time. Taking the time in the middle of the day to send a text message, or leaving a love note on the counter before work. There are so many ways, to reach your partner and let them know that you care. Putting the kids to bed early one night and snuggling on the couch with a movie instead of your phones, spending 5 minutes listening to the sound of their heartbeat as you snuggle in bed. There are so many ways to make someone feel special, needed and wanted, that require nothing more than a little effort and thought.
Love is an action not a noun. It cannot survive without a concerted effort on both parts.
Try the exercise, it takes seconds to write out what you’ve done from hour to hour each day and you might be shocked at the results. Better yet, do this exercise with your partner, then compare your results. It may help you to see a pattern that you currently cannot.
Remember, there is always time. Only you can decide the best way to parcel it out.