Are You Too Busy To Be Married?
Sounds a little blunt? Ok, I am not trying to convince you to not be married. Let’s get that out of the way right now. I am wondering though, if you are too busy to have a good marriage.
Busy, busy, busy! Whenever I ask couples in my practice how they are doing, somewhere in their answer they are likely to say they are very busy.
“We are doing pretty well, but are very busy”.
“We are communicating better but have not spent much time together.”
“We are so busy that we have not had time to talk or spend time together since our last appointment”.
Schedules are very full or at least feel very full. Couples are too busy to talk or spend time together. They are too busy to have a relationship. Yet, if you ask couples how much time they spend watching TV, reading, playing video games or on their phones; and they are honest, they spend a vast amount of time doing those things compared to connecting with their spouse.
We spend time on what we value. We value leisure. We value down time to de stress. We value what will help us to feel better. What if time with our partner, accomplished that for us? What if the time we spend on some of our other distractions is a cheap substitute for what we could give and get from our partner?
Children. They keep us busy and rightfully so. But, are they too busy? Often, they are in cheerleading camps and competitions, school sports, league sports and traveling teams. The exposure to activities, the skills they learn and the social aspect are very important.
We are just being great parents when our kids are busy. When are they too busy? When we are too busy as couples to connect in a meaningful way.
So, what can we do. Let’s start with right now, today. Spend at least 20 minutes per day talking to each other. I say at least, because I hope some days will be longer.
That’s 20 minutes of uninterrupted, phone free conversation. Why is it a good start? Why is it helpful? For one, you create and update love map connections.
What are love maps? Dr. John Gottman, after decades of research, developed the Sound Relationship House Model based on the qualities that build good marriages. One of those is Love Maps. These maps are the connections you create and update during the 20 minutes of conversation. It is how well you know each other. Not just your favorite food and music, but what is going on inside you. How do you feel about life? What are your hopes, dreams, and fears? How do you feel about yourself?
Not only does it strengthen your connection, you can reduce each other’s stress during the 20 minutes of conversation by sharing how you are feeling about your day—stresses you experienced and stresses you face in the near future. You listen to each other, validate each other’s concerns, and love up on each other. You support each other.
During the 20 minutes of daily conversation, you can have fun conversation that makes you laugh. You can tease each other. You can have interesting conversations on subjects that are not based wholly on how your day went or how the kids are doing.
Again, I encourage you to begin by connecting at least 20 minutes a day. See where that takes you. Be intentional. If you need more help, let me know. Come see me.
Also, you can find plenty of tips to help your marriage by going to my website at rcochran.com and my Instagram and Facebook pages at Ron Cochran Counseling.