Do you feel at times your life is so busy it affects the quality of your relationship?
If so, you’re not alone. I’ve noticed lately in my counselling practice I’ve been working with many couples that say to me they are so busy they don’t have time for their relationship.
It seems crazy we live in a world now where spending quality time with your partner seems to be a luxury. (And if you don’t have a partner, the same applies to you when it comes to spending quality time with friends and family.)
There are a number of problems with this situation including:
- you don’t have time to catch up on what’s happening in each other’s lives
- you’re not having fun and problem-free time with each other
- the time you do have together is consumed with administrative tasks and managing your life
- you feel like you’re living parallel lives and gradually drifting apart
- your emotional intimacy and sex is declining leading to you feeling disconnected and isolated
What to do if you’re too busy for your relationship
Clearly, if you can relate to any of the points above, it’s time for a radical intervention to prevent your relationship from becoming such a low priority you start to wonder why you’re in a relationship!
Here are some tips for you to consider:
- Book in problem-free time. Problem-free time is when you book a specific time to spend with your partner and make a commitment not to speak about problems. No talking about work problems, relationship problems, family or children problems, or administrative issues. Problem-free time is a special time to look forward to because the whole purpose is to just enjoy each other’s company and have fun.
- Book a regular date night – no excuses! The date night is a cliché but the truth is it works and it’s a great thing to look forward to in your relationship. Your date night can be a weekly or fortnightly booking that is rock solid and can’t be rescheduled for any reason at all. Like problem-free time, it’s an opportunity to enjoy each other and catch up on what’s going on in your lives.
- Quarantine relationship time on the weekend. I like the idea of quarantining longer periods of time to hang out on the weekend. Maybe it’s a few hours, a half-day or perhaps an entire day. When you quarantine relationship time, this means that you and your partner will hang out or do an activity that involves no one else – no friends, no family and no children (leave the smartphones at home too).
- Plan your holidays in advance. Who doesn’t love looking forward to a holiday? Many people tell me that they get almost as much enjoyment from planning and booking a holiday as they do from actually being on the holiday! Even if you can’t take a holiday for 6 – 12 months, it can be a great relationship task to start planning that holiday now so you have something to look forward to together.
- Find a hobby, sport or interest to pursue together. Many couples that say they feel separate and disconnected often don’t have any mutual hobbies, sports or interests they pursue together. Talk about finding something you can do together, join a Meetup group and create a shared experience that will be interesting or fun to both of you.
- Call in favours from friends and family for babysitting duties. If you have children, you need to make sure you have babysitters on call so you can start to create some quality time together away from the children. Friends and family are often very happy to help out and if you don’t have any family in your city, make some efforts to find a very reliable and responsible teenager who can be on call to babysit when you need to get away and reconnect.
Don’t let your busy life impact your relationship
There are many options you can consider if you’re finding your busy life is affecting the quality of your relationship. Many of these options are practical strategies that can be implemented with some planning and scheduling.
The key here is to value your relationship as important (if not more important) as other priorities in your life. The benefits when you build a better relationship are enormous and have a positive impact on many aspects of your life and wellbeing.
Do you need relationship help?
Since 2003, Clinton Power has helped thousands of couples and individuals as a counsellor and psychotherapist in private practice in Sydney and online in Australia. Clinton regularly comments in the media on issues of relationships and has appeared on Channel 7, The Sydney Morning Herald, and ABC Radio. Clinton’s eBook, 31 Days to Build a Better Relationship is available through his website or Amazon. Click here to take Clinton’s relationship checkup quiz to find out how well you know your partner.