Today’s busy schedules can make some couples feel like they are ships passing in the night. Long work days and activity-filled weekends can make it hard to find quality time together. Scheduling down time can help couples reconnect and focus on their marriage.
Why We Need Down Time
Being on the go all the time can interfere with effective communication and quality time together. Simply relaxing and enjoying one another’s company can seem impossible for some couples. For others, the mere concept of “doing nothing” together might seem boring or even daunting.
Couples need down time together to simply talk and relax. This can bring couples closer as it provides an opportunity to talk about anything and everything. Spending time together without a scheduled activity or an agenda can allow people to be themselves.
It’s likely that when you were dating you simply spent time together with the sole purpose of enjoying one another’s company. However, many couples stop doing this when they get married. The responsibilities of work, kids, and life in general make people busy and tired.
When couples only spend time together attending family functions, soccer games, and kids’ birthday parties, they begin to lose their sense of identity as a couple. Feeling overscheduled and rushed doesn’t lend itself to building and maintaining a healthy relationship together. Instead, many couples report feeling like they have grown apart.
Spending quality time together can lead to more quality conversation. It can give you the opportunity to talk about goals, hopes, dreams, and ideas. It provides you with the ability to take the conversation anywhere you want to go. This opportunity often isn’t there when you sit down for a quick meal or when you are riding in the car to get to your next social event.
Mark Your Calendars
Although it can seem counter-intuitive to schedule down time, it can be very important. For some couples, if they don’t schedule down time, it just won’t happen. Their calendars may fill up fast.
For other people, lack of activities in the calendar can equal anxiety. Sometimes a Saturday morning without any plans can lead to boredom and cause some people to pick up the phone to quickly create plans of some sort.
So mark your calendar with “down time.” Perhaps make Sunday evenings your time to just relax together. Or consider sitting down a month in advance and writing it down on the calendar. Writing it on the calendar can help make it a priority.
Reconnecting and Relaxing
Think about what will allow you to relax with your spouse. Consider unplugging from your electronics, even for one hour. Give your spouse your undivided attention.
If the idea of spending an hour together sounds boring or you think you won’t have anything to do or talk about, it’s probably all the more reason to do it. If you and your spouse are connected, you’ll enjoy spending time together just relaxing.
Down time doesn’t have to mean you sit and stare at one another. Instead, consider going for a walk, going out for a cup of coffee, or sitting on the porch together. The point is to spend time together without having an agenda.
Even one hour a week to enjoy one another’s company can make a big difference in the quality of your relationship. Try not to use this time to specifically discuss the bills, the kids, or chores. Instead, just connect about your thoughts, feelings, and ideas.
Consider the quality time you spend together to be an investment in your relationship. The more you invest, the more you will be able to connect. Then, when you have stress and disagreements, you’ll be much better able to handle them. Everyday problems will have much less of a chance to take a toll on your relationship when you have put in a lot of quality time.
When to Seek Help
If the idea of spending time doing nothing together makes you cringe, seek professional help. When couples have unresolved anger, hurt feelings, or resentment, it can often make time together seem painful. So if you are feeling this way, get help before things get worse.
If you are afraid you’ll be bored, it can also signal a problem. Many couples tend to always only spend time together in social settings because they are bored when they spend time by themselves. If this is the case, seek professional help to see how to ignite a spark that makes spending time together more exciting and fulfilling.
A marriage counselor can help you learn how to enjoy relaxing together. Sometimes just a few therapy sessions can help you learn how to use down time to manage your stress and grow closer together as a couple.