5 ways to keep busyness from destroying your marriage
by Christie Browning
There’s a lot going on in the Browning household. Mat works on average about fifty hours a week. My step-son is busy with school and his part-time job. I am juggling forty hours a week at work with about ten more hours added in for writing and prepping for speaking events…and that’s all before we calculate all of us chipping in to cook dinner, do laundry and keep the house clean. We are busy. I am sure you are too!
In the past, I have let my schedule keep me distracted and my ambition to grow my business has taken priority over other important things. As a result, Mat and I can experience some distance in our relationship. In my previous marriage this was a huge concern. I was off, busy doing my thing and my then husband was off doing his thing. We were just ships passing in the night, we were ships that weren’t even sailing the same sea.
Busyness can destroy your marriage
Here’s 5 ways to keep busyness from destroying your marriage
1) Say "No” every once and a while - Not all things are necessary all of the time. There are some things you need to say “no” to in order to create some amount of margin in your life. There’s no way to do it all and no matter what you do, there’s only 24 hours in a day, so spend those 24 hours wisely. Try this little exercise… Get 24 one-dollar bills (or you can simply track this on paper). Each hour of the day will cost you an buck. So right off the bat, anywhere from six to eight dollars goes out the window for sleep. Another eight dollars goes out for time spent at work. Before we even get to anything fun, 16 dollars is spent. When you factor in commuting, getting dressed, and making dinner, you might be down to only five dollars left. That means you’ve only got five hours left to spend on other things, like your marriage. Logically we know that we only have a few hours to spare but we don’t make decisions about our time with the same rationale. We go after everything, jam-packing our schedules to where 100 percent of our time is accounted for and our relationships are left in the dust.
2) Reserve some energy for your spouse - If you’re busy, chances are you’re tired, worn out and burned out. None of this puts you in a great position to be a witty conversationalist, super sensitive, intuitive to the needs of your partner or anxious to sacrifice a few z’s for some intimate playtime. Maybe it’s taking some things off the to-do list like we discussed above. It also means taking care of our physical bodies, not to keep our college physique, but to keep our energy so we can truly have what we need in order to give all during the day and have something left over for our spouse. This also helps to balance out emotions and clear our heads so we aren’t bogged down with junk that can keep us from really being in tune with our partner.
3) Find intimacy in the everyday - One of our favorite things to do is to grocery shop together. Mat and I find it fun (because Mat makes everything fun) and there’s just something about strolling through the aisles together, keeping track of our budget, checking off our list, and sorting through our coupons that draws us closer together. Maybe it’s just being together or maybe it’s something in the air, but by the time we get to aisle four you can find us holding hands, hugging and even sneaking in a kiss or two… it gets spicy! Hello! Clean up on aisle four! Whether it’s grocery shopping, cleaning the kitchen, going for a walk, working in the yard or simply cuddled up to watch a sports game, Mat and I don’t wait for a date night to focus on intimacy. We’ve learned how to build it into our every day lives. And let me tell you, that makes a world of difference because sometimes date nights are realistic for us.
4) Don’t wait until you feel in the mood - Sometimes a roll in the hay needs to just happen. If you wait for the perfect conditions, it won’t happen. Being busy, being tired - these are reasons to put off love making until the next night, but guess what…. the next night you feel the same way. Nights turn into weeks and it begins to create friction between you and your spouse or you start to drift a little bit. Intentional intentions is the name of the game. You need to make it a priority. And don’t be afraid to mix it up a bit if you need to… sometimes at the end of the day is not the best time, or sometimes you gotta take advantage of those quickies. The lesson here is to enjoy time with your spouse and don’t get so fixated on all conditions being right that you pull away.
5) Carve out time and space to talk - Have you ever looked up and realized you’ve barely said three words to your spouse all day? Or better yet, all you’ve talked about it what’s for dinner or who’s picking up what kid at what time? It’s easy to let a busy life dictate your conversation to be that of organization and hardly anything romantic. To combat this, create time to connect and also a space to do it. Mat and I have been encouraged by creating time right when the last of us gets home to talk and we take about 10 minutes alone in our bedroom to do so. Or at times we end up at the gym together right after work and we will spend time in the gym or the gym parking lot or the garage talking. I know some couples that take time before they fall asleep at night. Other couples take time in the morning before work. I remember my mom and dad taking time after dinner, especially when the weather was nice. They’d go sit out on the deck while us kids cleaned the kitchen or they’d go for a walk. We knew that was their time. It’s just creating some space away from the distractions and chaos of the day to really focus on each other.
Where, in your relationship, have you let busyness take over? What are some things you can do to create space for your relationship? Which of the five suggestions are you going to try? I’d love for you to tell me in the comments below and let me know how it goes!