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I think we’re all a little familiar with this problem of quality time if we’re in any relationship with anyone. I think it’s easy, after awhile, to start counting time in the same room as time spent together. Over at our household, we do it. Maybe it’s because we’re comfortable, or it’s the familiarity, or we’re just tired. It may look different for everyone, but everyone struggles with making sure the time they spend with their loved ones is quality time.
I realized I needed to address this when my husband and I spent an entire evening watching TV. And I’d be lying to you if I said that was the first time we did it.
Technology is great when you’re tired. You don’t have to do any work, but you get entertained, you get knowledge. And then you can just go to bed. So yes, I get why we end up spending evenings watching movies and TV shows and Watchmojo.com, and doing our own thing next to our spouse – be it reading or paperwork. It’s easy. Sometimes, in the context of paperwork, it seems necessary. But when I’m 80 years old and only have brief moments of lucidity, I want to spend those moments remembering how my husband and I were good with our hours together. I want to remember fun times and constructive times. I don’t want my past to be lost in a sea of The Simpsons and Spider Solitare (yep, that game still shows up on my phone from time to time).
And I want to know that we’re doing everything possible to keep our relationship moving forward. Somehow, me sleeping on the couch while the hubby sends emails just doesn’t seem to do it for me.
It’s not easy to be intentional with people. Especially when you’ve been around a person for a long time. What do you talk about? What do you do? How do you take the relationship even deeper? And why is it important?
Well, it’s important to be intentional, because it keeps a relationship strong. And a strong relationship cannot crumble.
So how do you make the most of the time with your spouse?
Get Back Quality Time with Your Spouse
1. Limit your access to technology when around your spouse.
I’ve said this in blog posts so old I can’t even find them, because smart phones and TV are still the most prevalent but easiest distraction to have in your relationships. It’s not that you shouldn’t have the latest smartphone or watch the Walking Dead, but you can’t really count it as time together when you’re in the same room and not interacting with each other. It doesn’t work that way.
I still enjoy a good Instagram scroll, but I limit it to a small allotment of time before I put the phone on its charger for the evening. Not only can I focus on my husband, but I’m also preparing my brain for good sleep.
2. Challenge each other to do something throughout your day.
Often, when you come home from work, you don’t know what to talk about. “How was work, honey?” “Fine.” And that’s about all you got. If you’re finding yourself unable to connect with your spouse about your day, you can challenge each other to have a deep conversation with a coworker (as much as is allowed), look for the beauty in the mundane, look to see where God is present to you, remember something hilarious that happened, commit a practical joke… Whatever, whatever draws you closer to each other.
But challenging each other to step outside the drudgery of work and routine spices up your conversation later and helps you become partners in crime. Try it before you knock it.
3. Go on a regular date night.
I won’t spend forever on this one, because if you’ve been on Pinterest just once you’ve already heard it so many times. But this is valuable and necessary. And while movies are great, push yourselves to try other things that encourage interaction. Hiking, cooking classes, pottery, games nights. There are plenty of options out there that won’t break the bank but will put you face to face.
I know this gets challenging when you have little ones and no money to spare, but there are definitely ways to get creative at home and in finding babysitting (I’m working on an article for that one, too).
4. Ask questions.
Adam and I do this all the time. We do everything from “what’s currently your favorite color?” (Mine changes a lot), to “what was the worst movie you’ve ever seen?” to “what’s your biggest fear?” to “if you had to escape out of a jail cell and had only the items someone could smuggle inside a cake, what items would you choose?” They range from the silly to the thought-provoking, and because we change, the answers sometimes change. You will never run out of things to ask each other, they just might get more ridiculous as you go.
I’ve compiled a “Questions to Ask Your Spouse” printable to get you started:
After you confirm, just scroll back on down to this spot for your list!
So there’s a start. Time is precious, and the time with your spouse is even more so. Take advantage of your time together as much as you can.
5. Get Out of Your Comfort Zone.
Maybe for you this means a jump out of an airplane, but I was leaning towards getting out of your environment on a regular basis once a year – at least. Adam and I spend a night away for our anniversary, and we try to get to a nice hotel at some other point in the year. It’s usually somewhere in our state and sometimes only 30 minutes from our house.
So why do we spend the money to basically walk down the street and do what we could do in the comfort of our own home?
Because with the comforts of home, come the distractions: the laundry, the emails, the dishes. Sure, I love our bed above all other beds and treasure a good night’s sleep. But I’ll sacrifice one good night of rest if it means Adam and I are forced out of our environment for a length of time. I don’t know what it is, but being together away from home really draws us close. (Here’s a shameless plug for my bed here, because man do I sleep good!)
And sure, snowboarding is good, too. We did that. I sprained my wrist, but I sure like my husband a whole lot.
It doesn’t have to be a week, but get out of your routine for one night, and you will get back your quality time.
Have any other ways to be intentional with your spouse? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!