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How to Find Time for Your Spouse -- and Yourself

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Single people do whatever they want, whenever they want. Married people, not so much. You have to consider your spouse’s feelings and schedule. Determining how to divide your time becomes a delicate exercise that requires patience, understanding – even sympathy – and the utmost diplomacy. Here’s what you need to do to balance your personal time, work time, and couple or family time – and still get some sleep:

Track how you’re spending your time.

Determine how many hours you spend working, spending time with your spouse, spending time with other family and friends minus your spouse, and spending time with yourself either de-stressing, vegetating, focusing on a hobby, or sleeping. Break down your schedule as much as you can. Keeping a journal to log each activity and the amount of time you spend on each for one week should suffice. Seeing it all on paper can help you realize on what you’ve been focusing. It gives you a chance for reflection.

Analyze your satisfaction.

This is the tough part. You must take a long, hard look at how you’re spending your time. Are you satisfied? Would you rather be spending more time on yourself doing the things you love? Should you be working more? Are some of your chores stealing too much time from you? Are you sleeping enough? Ideally, your schedule would be well balanced and perfectly suited to a healthy lifestyle that befits your spouse and you. But the ideal is rarely what you find on the first try. And that’s all right.

Share your schedules.

You and your spouse should exchange logs to determine if you’re both feeling content with the amount of time you’re spending with each other – and how you’re spending it. To keep up romance and love, you must devote time to your relationship. Otherwise you’ll take each other for granted and risk growing apart. You both should be satisfied with the amount of couple’s time you have and what you do with it.

Take action.

Once you review how you’re spending your time and what you like and dislike about it, you can improve your schedule. Determine where you can make cutbacks and where you can add an hour or two. For instance, if you’re going out with your friends every night and your spouse would like to have dinner with your more often, then limit yourself to three nights with your friends and four with your spouse. The point is to make sure your schedule matches your priorities.

Set rules for yourself.

If you decide that you want to spend less time doing chores and more time making love to your spouse, then come up with ways to cut down on the time it takes to complete chores (maybe you can split the duties, for instance). That way, you’ll spend more time basking in afterglow and less time dusting. A workaholic? If you can, refuse to take meetings after 5 p.m. on Fridays, so your weekends are a little longer. Take control of your life – and be serious about it. Stick to the rules you set. You’ll be happier, and your marriage will get stronger.
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