A colleague, Dr. Willard Harley, suggests that couples spend at least fifteen hours of quality time together every week. This is time when focus is on your partner, not the kids, work, the budget, or the TV. When I suggest spending this time together to my clients, the response I frequently get is “We don’t have time.”
But the truth is, your time belongs to you. You determine how you spend it.
Can you recognize that everything you say you have to do is actually just choices you are making?
I know you believe you have to go to your kid’s soccer game, you have to do laundry, or you may even have to go to work. But even that is a choice. A practical and probably wise choice, but a choice just the same.
In truth, you don’t have to do any of these things. You willingly choose to do them. Yes, there might be unpleasant consequences if you don’t, but time is a limited commodity. If you choose to spend it one way, it is not available to be spent in any other.
In her book, 168 Hours, Laura Vanderkam challenges that ever-ready “I don’t have time” excuse. Her position, and one I agree with, is not that we don’t have time; just that it’s not a priority. She suggests replacing “I don’t have time” with “I won’t do _________ because it’s not a priority”. Instead of, “I don’t have time to spend with my partner right now,” you’d say, “I’m not going to spend that time right now because it’s not a priority for me.”
Can you see how changing the words you use also changes what you’re telling your partner? What comes to mind when you substitute can’t for won’t?
Can you see that you actually have a choice as to how you spend your time?
Are you using it to make your partner and your marriage a priority in your life?
If today were your last day on earth, would you be happy with how your partner feels in your relationship?
Do you really “not have the time” to make it better?