Insufficient time together is one of the biggest contributors to relationship breakdown. Whether our relationship is flying or sinking, time together is like a balm, healing the bumps and bruises of life and stimulating our feelings of affection and tenderness. And with Valentines’ Day approaching, it’s the perfect opportunity to give the gift of time.
Modern relationships are plagued by busyness. And when our relationship is neglected, we often end up arguing during the little time we do spend together. Of course arguing about the mundane issues is really a symptom of a deeper problem. When our emotional needs for intimacy, affection, communication and companionship are not being met, we feel neglected, lonely and resentful. His dirty clothes left on the floor are a symbol of his lack of care; her ‘not tonight dear’ tiredness an expression of her indifference.
Quantity is part of Quality
Many people justify the lack of time spent with their loved ones by saying ‘we have quality time’. In truth, Quality Time is only effective with a foundation of ‘Quantity Time’ – low intensity companionship which builds trust and openness. Quality Time requires emotional vulnerability. This disposition can not be turned on and off at will; it is nurtured through Quantity Time spent together, often in routine activities like washing up, gardening or going for a walk. Just like food, quality doesn’t help if there’s simply not enough of it – we need a staple diet of Quantity Time to keep our relationship healthy.
Fortunately, we don’t need to have enormous, uninterrupted slabs of time together in order to experience the benefits. Regular, brief get-togethers make a backbone of trust and connection which can be built upon by more substantial time slots. Small changes in our schedule or routine can make a huge difference. For example, scheduling an extra 5 minutes in the morning before leaving home allows us to connect in an unhurried good-bye kiss. Organising an early dinner for the kids and eating late when children are settled allows for relaxed conversation and debrief at day’s end. Working together on household and garden chores instead of each doing their own, is time together without neglecting our responsibilities.
This year, make Valentine’s Day (Feb 14th), last all year long – make a choice to spend more time together.