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No Time for Marriage

No Time for Marriage

When childrearing and life get in the way of marriage.

by

Question:

My husband and I have been married 14 years, have four children and are so overwhelmed. Between shuttling the kids, homework, I feel like my marriage is non-existent.  My husband tells me it’s normal at this stage but my mother tells me to do something about it.  Where do I begin?

Answer:

First of all, listen to your mother.  You’re husband is right, it is normal.  Then again, the majority of married people are not happily married, so sadly, normal or average isn’t the way to go in this area.  This “stage” called childrearing doesn’t end for many years to come, if ever.  Marriages that wait until the kids are older often find that they are so emotionally separated by the time kids are older, repairing the marriage is commonly beyond their grasp.

In my upcoming book, Connect to Love, I prove through my research that couples who spend on average over 30 minutes per day talking with each other have a significantly higher rate of happiness than those who spend less than that.  It makes sense and if nothing else, is the first most important place to correct and make happen. This means you have to get the younger ones into bed and settled and explain to the older ones, if they’re still up and they probably are, that Mom and Dad are spending some alone, uninterrupted time for a while.

Related Article: Six Habits of Happily Married Couples

Successful couples are constantly working to nourish their marriage with enough time and love.

If you can’t accomplish this in any common area of the home, go into your bedroom and close the door.  You have to create some secluded space for your couplehood.  Turn off your cellphones and every other distraction for 45 minutes. Plan this time to relate the day’s events, have some tea or other drink, catch up.  At first, you may have a lot of pressure to discuss some pressing issues.  Try not to fill the time with stressful conversation, and get back to chatting. If you’re like many, you’ll be thinking, “Chatting? Who knows how to chat anymore?” Don’t worry, force yourself and if you can keep this 45 minute period three weeknights per week, you’ll find the way to reconnect.

Next, set up a date night the same night each week. Hire the babysitter to sit regularly on that same night so that she’ll be there whether or not you are too tired to go out. This will help you resist the urge to be too exhausted to step out.  On your date night, spend a minimum of two hours without any other couple (when couples get together, typically, the men go off together as do the women) and DO something.  Not always the dinner and movie routine. Check local listings and find events, interesting places to go. Avoid the phone calls from children.

It’s easy to have “no time for marriage.” But what is really happening is that we have time for everything else that is a pressing need and when that is all over, we have no energy left over for the non pressing need of marriage.  Successful couples don’t have any magic formula and aren’t better matched as people in failed marriages think.  Successful couples keep their eye on the prize of a loving relationship and are constantly working to nourish it with enough time and love so that it can always continue to grow.

This is just the beginning but it’s the pre-requisite for getting back to a fluid, loving relationship.

Visit M. Gary Neuman's site at http://mgaryneuman.com/

Published: October 24, 2010


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Visitor Comments: 13

(13) Molly, November 5, 2010 11:55 PM

Honestly, I find the date night concept a bit overrated. Our son is disabled, so a babysitter is nearly impossible. (Family members do pitch in once in a while, thankfully!) I agree with the advice about making time - but in a different way. Make time every day to connect with each other. A shared joke, reading an article aloud to each other, or an occasional "How was your day?" with eye contact and a big smile go farther than you think in keeping your marriage alive. Luckily, we have found that when circumstances limit "date night" possibilities, we don't need to stop being best friends.

(12) John Junior, October 31, 2010 4:32 PM

I understand!!!

On typical day, I start to work between my shul and my hospital from 5:30 am to 4:00 pm 5 days a week, this is from Sunday to Thursday, and on Friday, it is from 6:00 am to 10:30 pm, on Shabbos from 6:00 am to 8:00 pm.

(11) Nicole Czarnecki, October 31, 2010 5:43 AM

What Makes or Breaks a Marriage: Faith

If a couple does not have a common faith or at least a common-enough worldview (i.e., that commitment is an imporatnt value), they will not be able to even begin repairing their marriage. Couples who are not committed enough to each other due to their lack of compability (i.e., the recently-divorced gentile couple of Randy and Elizabeth Travis, and then the long-divorced Fran Drescher and Peter Marc Jacobson) will not be able to repair their marriages or at least restore them to points where they are anything but marriages of convenience.

(10) abigail, October 27, 2010 2:18 PM

Sometimes, when after we put our kids in bed, we'll get some Chinese food so it seeems like we're out for dinner and we eat in the living room. Its a nice date and we don't have to pay a babysitter. (Our kids are young enough that they go to bed at a reasonable time)

(9) sharona, October 27, 2010 3:24 AM

excellent

re Soapm, yes one spouse might feel the other is not doing enough. I read in a book that what helps is for a couple to focus on his/her own obligation so they both contribrute to it. Plus, they should appreciate the other, so they are encouraged and happy. In general, it's important for couples to spend time together and communicate so they know what they want and need and can strengthen their relationship

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