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HELP FOR THE FAMILY | MARRIAGE

Spend Quality Time Together

 Many husbands and wives find that their communication suffers, even when they are in each other’s company. What are the reasons?

 Together but apart—why?

  •   Exhaustion

     “When we need to spend time together, either my husband is too tired or I’m too tired. When I’m tired, I’m likely to get annoyed at little things. It’s better for us to watch TV.”—Anna.

  •   Online distractions

     “Social media and online entertainment can consume your time. You can spend hours on it, and you haven’t talked to your spouse at all. You might as well not even be in the same room.”—Katherine.

  •   Different interests

     “After my husband comes home from work, he is often consumed with his hobbies. He deserves time to himself, considering how hard he works. But I wish we could spend more time together.”—Jane.

  •   Work

     “Technology has blurred the line between work and family life. Many times, I find myself responding to work e-mails and texts when I could be spending that time with my wife.”—Mark.

 What you can do

  •   View quality time together as a necessity, not a luxury.

     Bible principle: “Make sure of the more important things.”—Philippians 1:10.

     To think about: Do your actions show that you view your marriage as more important than your work or your hobbies? Does your spouse get only the leftovers of your time and attention?

     Tip: Do not leave things to chance. Schedule periods of undistracted time to spend with your spouse.

     “I love it when my husband plans something for just the two of us. It makes me feel special, and it reassures me that he wants to be in my company. That makes me love him even more.”—Anna.

  •   Learn to say “not right now” to your electronic devices.

     Bible principle: “There is an appointed time for everything.”—Ecclesiastes 3:1.

     To think about: How often does an incoming text message or alert prevent you from giving undivided attention to your spouse?

     Tip: Try to have at least one meal together each day—and leave your phones in another room. Mealtime provides an excellent opportunity to discuss the day’s events.

  •   When possible, do errands or chores together.

     Bible principle: “Two are better than one because they have greater benefit for their hard work.”—Ecclesiastes 4:9, footnote.

     To think about: How often do you and your spouse go separate ways to handle routine errands?

     Tip: Team up and help each other—even with tasks that do not require two people.

     “Grocery shopping, washing dishes, folding clothes, doing yard work—rather than view these things as chores, why not see them as opportunities to spend time together?”—Nina.

  •    Have realistic expectations

     Bible principle: “Let your reasonableness become known.”—Philippians 4:5.

     To think about: How can you show reasonableness in what you expect from your spouse?

     Tip: Have a discussion, and make allowances for each other’s needs. Reach an agreement that both of you can be happy with and fully support.

     “My husband has lots of energy, while my health leaves me with very little. Often I urge my husband to go outside and have fun, and I tell him that I’ll see him when he gets back. I’m staying home for the rest I need while he’s going out for the exercise he needs. Both of us will feel better for doing what we need to do.”—Daniela.

 Discussion guide

 First, each of you can consider the following questions separately. Then, discuss your answers with each other.

  •    When it comes to spending time together, how would you rate your relationship right now?

  •   What commendation can you give your spouse with regard to this topic?

  •   What improvements would you like to see?

  •   How often does technology stand in the way of your giving undivided attention to what your spouse is saying?

  •   How can both of you show reasonableness in what you expect from each other?

  •   What changes can each of you make this week to have more undistracted time together?