Busyness seems to be a symptom of our society. It’s almost a badge of honour. We rush from activity to activity saying, “I’m so busy.” We even feel guilty if we don’t have something to do every moment.
Perhaps it’s your job. Or maybe you’ve taken on too many volunteering responsibilities. Somewhere along the line, you took on more than you can handle.
We hear from couples who work full-time, go to school, raise children and volunteer at charities, and then wonder why their marriages are having difficulties. So many couples aren’t making their marriages a top priority; everything else seems more important – careers, children, hobbies and volunteer work.
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 they don’t take time to nurture the foundation of their family – their relationship with each other. When that marriage foundation begins to crumble, everything else comes down with it.
Here are some of the warning signs busyness is taking a toll on your marriage:
• You think you have to choose between your spouse and your children.
• 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 little 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 children. 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. If you have the option, don’t have regrets over 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 this, 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 preventive maintenance it needs.
The reality is that there may be time for some of those other activities in other phase or season 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 the article Making Time For The One You Love on Focus on the Family Canada website.© Focus on the Family. All rights reserved. International copyright secured. Used by permission.