Like a business or a garden or a vintage car, relationships need constant maintenance; frequent and consistent attending to. If you are not attending to your relationship by investing time and effort in it, you can’t expect it to work well.
Lots of people have got a handle on the notion that it’s important to schedule couple time into their busy lives. Which is great. If you’re a busy person and something is important to you, it needs to be in your diary. But we often find that couples don’t talk about what the time is FOR.
It can be useful to think about three key categories of communication that couples need to put time into:
1. PRAGMATICS AND LOGISTICS
Coordinating the functioning of the household and family. Dividing up the tasks that need to be done and making sure you both know who is doing what and when.
Taking the time to enjoy being in a relationship – relaxing together, doing mutually enjoyable activities, focusing on the positives. Close time usually means avoiding difficult topics and conflicts, keeping things reasonably superficial and comfortable. Time spent like this is the pay-off or reward for doing all the work involved in being in a long-term, intimate relationship. This is usually what people have in mind when they suggest a “date night”.
Having the vulnerable and often difficult conversations and interactions that allow you to connect on a deep level. Intimate time needs to include dealing with differences (EG: healthy conflict) as well as talking about aspirations, hopes and dreams, fears, doubts and insecurities. Not always comfortable, but when done productively makes closeness feel easy and real (when intimacy is avoided, our closeness ends up feeling forced and fragile)
(Please note we don’t use “intimacy” as a euphemism for sex. For most of us, our sexual relationship moves between 1, 2 & 3 at different times, so talking about making time for sex is a different, but also important, conversation)
So by all means plan some couple time – but make sure that you are A) covering all bases of what your relationship needs and B) that you are on the same page about what category any given appointment is for.
Get in touch today and find out how we can help you to create a lasting and happy relationship.