Somewhere between dishing out servings of tater tot hotdish and grabbing the phone call from the doctor’s office to tell us the correct dosage instruction for yet another antibiotic for yet another ear infection, I felt it. The chaos of life had used up all of my patience.
So when my husband asked me a question, I responded with bite. I didn’t even have time to apologize because we needed to quickly eat to get to the swimming lesson that, when we scheduled it, seemed like a great idea. I was tired of rushing. Sick of always having to do something or be somewhere. But beyond being tired from the busyness of life, I was tired of having no time for what my soul was craving.
After shoveling in a few quick bites of dinner, I uttered to my husband from across the room, “I miss you.”
Although my soul felt alive for Jesus, I no longer felt connected to my husband. Our family had become filled with life’s busyness, and it had stolen my connection with my husband.
My husband and I aren’t alone in our struggle. In fact, families today are busier than ever before. It is common for both parents to work full-time jobs outside of the home, and many report feeling stressed, tired, and rushed¹ (New York Times). Whether parents are working inside the house or outside of the house, the business of life tends to cast a shadow on the essential relationship between husband and wife.
With such crazy-busy schedules, how can you connect with your husband?
Before we go further, look at your current schedule and determine if it is functional or dysfunctional. In light of the vision and heart you have for your marriage, are there some things that need to be eliminated? Those practices that you don’t need to be at but socialize with friends? That activity that your child doesn’t enjoy and you’ve thought about not registering them for next season? Also, are there some things that could be delegated? Could you swap pick-ups or drop-offs with a friend so you can spend that time with your spouse? Could you do that meeting via the phone? Could you give those duties to someone else in the office? Oftentimes, commitments or tasks can be eliminated or adjusted to increase time spent as a couple. Get creative.
If your schedule doesn’t allow for wiggle room, there are still ways to connect with your spouse with a crazy-busy schedule!
Consider the time you do have at home. Leisure time simply looks different today that it has in years past. You might find that although you and your spouse are home together, your phones, computers, or television quietly steal your time! The end of the night comes and you feel as if another night has gone by with no connection with your husband.
If your schedule doesn’t allow for easy adjustments, focus on the quality of time spent together so that you can maximize your connection with your spouse.
Here are 8 ways you can connect with your spouse with a crazy-busy schedule:
- Turn off all electronics until a specified time. Our rule is we won’t be on our phones or the computer until after the kids are in bed.
- Create a dinner environment free of distraction. Turn off the television, silence the phones, etc. Talk. Ask questions. Practice waiting.
- Have “couch time.” While the children are awake (yes, this even goes for the youngsters!), sit with your spouse and catch up on your day. Sit down and visit, asking that your children practice patience while you connect.
- Plan ahead what the evening will look like. Instead of aimlessly slipping into the chair for television or to browse on your phone, talk with your spouse about what you’d each like to do that night. Watch a movie? Do that devotional? Start a marriage video series? Intentional thought creates more meaningful time.
- Go to bed at the same time. Once in bed, avoid the temptation to browse your phone or turn on the television!
- Use the kids’ activities to your advantage. Plan nights where you will both meet up for dinner or even take a walk while the kids enjoy their activities.
- Plan for a sitter or swap childcare with another family. Even if it is a Sunday evening for two hours in your comfies at Perkins, those two hours can fill you up for a long time as a couple, especially when alone time is lacking!
- Practice saying “no” so you can say “yes” to investing in your spouse. We all have something in our lives that is taking away time away from our spouse. It’s up to you to search your heart and take responsibility in choosing to step away so that we can step into the most important earthly relationship we’ve been given. Practice saying “no” so you can reap the reward of saying “yes” to your marriage.
Sometimes our crazy-busy schedules need an honest appraisal and adjustment, and sometimes we need to be more creative with the time we do have together. Regardless, be encouraged that being connected with your spouse is possible, and it can happen! Pray that God would give you renewed vision and creativity to have face-to-face time with your spouse that leaves you more fulfilled and more connected. Fight for connection when the routine of life seems easier.
Amanda Davison has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in human services with an emphasis in counseling. She is a psychology professor at North Dakota State College of Science, a speaker, and a wife coach for wives who want to improve their marriage. She lives in Fergus Falls, Minn., with her husband and their three children. She wants to hear from you! Please visit her website at www.amandadavison.com, ask her what you want wisdom on, and consider inviting her to speak at your next gathering.
1 Miller, Claire, C. “Stressed, Tired, Rushed: A Portrait Of The Modern Family.” The New York Times. November, 2015. www.nytimes.com. Web. 9 Nov. 2016.