We spend most of our day consumed with thoughts about work, children, family, dinner and chores. These are typically rehearsed in our mind, inputted into our blackberry or scribed in our traditional day-timers: "Call this person back; Arrange a babysitter; Pick up groceries". Life becomes seemingly difficult to manage and to maintain.
Time for relationships becomes a luxury that most of us cannot afford. I had one mother sit in my office and nonchalantly divide her commitments. She calculated that she was best at being a mother, good at her job, but only satisfactory as a wife. If we all categorized our efforts, how many of us would be getting C's, D's or even failing at our relationships with our partners? It comes down to the common high school dilemma: We did not study or prepare because we do not have enough time. However, it is not partying, socializing, and experimentation that is consuming us. It is responsibilities, overwhelming tasks, duties and commitments. Typically, it is difficult to brush our teeth before bedtime. We can all admit this self-care duty often gets dismissed when our overwhelming yearning to hit the sack supersedes our commitment to oral hygiene.
Are we too busy for relationships? The increasingly high divorce rate in Canada would suggest that we are indeed. We direct our energy towards other commitments such as the instrumental tasks that "need" to get done. How many times do we forget to call our partner during the day because we are too consumed with work? How many evenings do we spend running errands, doing the kids' homework, reviewing emails or decomposing on the sofa? We spend most of our days apart and then have difficulty connecting in the evening. We nurture our children, our pets, and our belongings. Work becomes our baby. Where do our partners fit into this mix?
Typically, we work all day and save the evening for our relationships. However, at the end of the day, are we willing to exchange our "down time" for connecting with our partners? Unlikely.
Can we go back to the beginning of the relationship where nothing got in the way of spending time together? Where late nights were enticing and thrilling, not painful and overwhelming.
It is important to regularly connect emotionally, physically and (Yes!) even seductively with your partner. Yet, how do we do this when we are so tired?
1. Try to devote evenings to our partners. Especially after the kids have gone to bed. Stay up that extra hour and use it productively. If we our happier in our relationships and our bodies will not require that extra hour of sleep.
2. Assign a higher value to time with your partner. Give yourself permission to forgo the laundry, the 3-course meal and even the dishes. Running out of socks becomes easier to resolve then a distressing/conflictual/unsatisfying relationship.
3. Cuddle in bed together every night. The course of action it leads to will be in your hands.
4. During cuddle time use meaningful phrases. "I will support you", "I appreciate you", "I am happy to be with you" and leave room for that three word sentence that so many of us neglect to use, "I love you".
5. Make a phone call to your partner every day. Offer a compliment over the phone. This often makes for a less stressful day.
6. Communicate a plan to nurture your relationship. You are the expert of your togetherness. Find what best works for you.
7. When your mutual efforts are not working, communication becomes complicated and silence or loud daunting arguments becomes a result, seek out professional counselling for guidance and repair.
8. NEVER BE TOO BUSY FOR YOUR PARTNER.