Family: Do You Have Time For a Happier Marriage?

To spend time with someone is to say: “I value you and value being with you. I love you and respect you.” One of our most important possessions in today’s fast-paced society is time. Time, therefore, can be one of the most precious gifts we can give to another. Somehow we have convinced ourselves that we must do a multitude of things and all in a hurry.

Statistics indicate that after a peak in the divorce rate during the first five years of marriage, the next peak comes around 15 to 20 years. The children leave home; the nest is empty. Two people sit down to breakfast and realize they have nothing to discuss. The amount of time spent with another, of course, does not by itself indicate the quality of the relationship, but it is used frequently as a measurement of love. Time together is a crucial ingredient if a relationship is going to develop and grow.

Time together need not be spent only in talking. It may be spent just being together. I can think back to times on vacation when I enjoyed being with my wife, Shirley, sharing the same experiences, yet talking little. We enjoyed the same rushing mountain stream and the solitude without constant discussion. One of our favorite times is walking along the beach holding hands even after 45 years of marriage. Just being with each other, being aware of the other’s presence, is often as meaningful as a verbal interchange.

Isn’t it amazing that before marriage a couple can’t find enough hours to share their thoughts, and afterward they can’t find enough words to fill the minutes? And does anybody doubt the extent to which television is a barrier to time and communication? (Like the husband with his hand on the television remote who says, “Dear, do you want to say anything before football season starts?”)

Husbands, do you want to see if your wife might enjoy a little more time just with you? Why not call her and make a date to take her out for a leisurely dinner somewhere where you can talk without interruption. Then note her response.

A few questions

Husbands and wives, ask yourselves:

  • Does my use of free time help or get in the way of my marriage relationship?
  • Do I seek out activities or duties that prevent me being with my spouse?
  • Do I tend to give my spouse only leftover time?
  • Do I use television, newspapers or hobbies, as excuses to avoid dealing with my feelings about our relationship?

Author: Dexter Faulkner


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