Tips for Marriage-Friendly Time Choices

Communication, Goals and Dreams, Spirituality

Post written by marriage columnist Susanne Alexander of Marriage Transformation.

I don’t have time!
How often have we caught ourselves saying that?
Our complaints about time are becoming epidemic.
We have far more choices for what to do with our time than ever before in history.
And more choices of activities for our children.
For people involved in faith and community activities, commitment to being of service (and guilt if we aren’t!) expands the time choices as well. Sometimes it’s tempting to try to do it all!
However, we usually then mess up our marriage and our family life.
Prioritizing and making choices that are beneficial and not harmful is vital in our marriage. We have to take into consideration the health and well-being of each of us and our family members.
We have limitations, and exceeding them generally causes problems. If we start to notice that our lives are filled with stress, and happiness together seems elusive, it’s time to sound an alarm and get help.

Our expanded expectations and multiple roles lead us to become superpeople with exceptional coping strategies that keep us going despite our abnormal levels of stress, fatigue, and tension. We become experts at managing our responsibilities, but we remain rather inept at keeping our relationships alive. ~ Wayne and Mary Sotile, Marriage Skills for Busy Couples, Preface, p. x

So, how do we make marriage-respectful choices?
Here are some quick tips:

  1. Review all the choices we are making right now and what is motivating us to do each.
  2. Assess which choices are causing more problems than benefit.
  3. Determine what overall outcome we want for ourselves as individuals, our marriage, and our family.
  4. Determine where adding service to each other or outwardly to others together would improve our marriage and family life.
  5. Determine the benefit of spending more time together.
  6. Identify what activities should become “no’s” and where there are new “yes’s” to make.

It requires energy to effectively maintain our marriage, to be friends and lovers both.
It harms our marriage when we leave our partner feeling like everything else is more important than them.
Children and outside activities can be so demanding that it is easy to put them ahead of our marriage over and over again. It is wise to pause and remember that the greatest gift we give our children is a strong and happy marriage. Research is clear that the children are more likely to thrive in their lives with this as a foundation.
Sometimes we need a call to be conscious with our choices.
We can easily get into patterns of activity and choices without pausing to discuss it together first.
Try this … Whenever you are asked to do something, simply say, “That’s a great idea. Let me discuss it with my wife/husband and I’ll let you know if it will work for me/us to participate.”
When we discuss it together, then we have the opportunity to assess what the effect of saying “yes” will be on the health of our marriage and family.
Need some help and structure with this topic?
There is a new Marriage Spark eCourse, Making Time and Service Choices now available.