Like most full-time working dads, I struggle to find the time to do all the things I want to, like spending time with my kids and my wife, working out, indulging in my hobbies, etc. The demands and rigors of day-to-day life — work, chores around the house, keeping appointments — always seem to intrude on my plans to do the things I’d prefer to do.
Unfortunately, for many of us, one of the things that gets pushed to the side is spending quality time with our spouse. You know, the woman to whom we pledged our undying love, and who is the mother of our children? Yeah, her.
The knee-jerk answer is to just spend more time together. But we all know that life inevitably happens and forces us to adjust our priorities. Here are a few ideas.
1. Make Her a Priority
You make it a priority to go to work, right? To pay your bills? To buy food at the grocery store? Of course. Well, treat spending time with your wife in the same vein. Change your thinking on how you view your relationship with your spouse and what it means to be together. By doing that, you will place a new priority on your spouse and elevate the status of your marriage to where it needs to be — at the top of your list.
2. Don’t Take Her for Granted
You know the thoughts that go through your head, Oh, my wife will always be there so I can spend time with her another time. That goes on for a few days, and a few days turns into a few weeks, and then a few months. The next thing you know, you’re wondering why you and your wife don’t have the same connection you used to. Taking each other for granted is easy to do. You're each caught up in your own lives and become sidetracked from time to time. If you resolve to not take each other for granted and to value and appreciate each other, the quality of your marriage will only increase.
3. Verbalize Your Feelings
Simply saying, “I love you” or “I appreciate when you did (insert task here)” on a daily basis goes a long way towards maintaining a connection with your spouse and reminding them that you are thinking about them and acknowledging the effort they put in to the marriage. It seems like a minor thing, but words go a long way towards making someone feel respected and loved.
4. Schedule Time Together
Okay, this is a tough one, because the last thing that you want is for your relationship to be forced. But in some cases, it’s critical to schedule time with your spouse and refuse to break that appointment. How about playing a board game or taking a walk? It doesn’t have to be extravagant. It simply has to be meaningful.
5. Define Quality Time
For you and your wife, spending time together with your children, extended family, or friends is important but it’s not truly quality time for the two of you. You might need to define what “quality” time is. For her, it’s probably not laying in bed for several hours each night watching a ballgame with you. Sorry, fellas. Find out how you want to spend time together and then do it.
6. Do Something Nice Each Day
In our day-to-day lives, we rush around, racing to this place and that, and sometimes forget to even be nice or respectful to one another. You can change that by resolving to do something nice for your wife each day. What makes her tick? Does she love good coffee, fresh flowers, handwritten notes, or new music? Find something that puts a smile on her face and figure out a way to incorporate that into her orbit every day. It will be appreciated.
7. Cherish the Simple Things
Sometimes you get so busy and consumed with your life that it can take effort and thought to even remember to do something as simple as kiss your wife in the morning or at night, saying something thoughtful to her, or holding her hand. But after years together, these tiny moments are significant and make a difference. They require little effort, but carrry a big impact.
Finally, a therapist friend of mine commented to me once that a marriage is like the four walls and roof of the house, and if that structure cracks or breaks, nothing inside the house will be spared. That metaphor crystallized the value of a marriage, and the work we need to constantly put in to make that marriage sustainable. The benefits of that work will be seen in an improved relationship with your partner and, hopefully, a happier home overall.