Friday, February 16, 2007

The Importance of Time and Together-Time in Adult Loving Relationships

There is an old cliché that suggests that the way an individual spends his or her time and money is the best indication of his or her values and what he or she considers important in life. I would argue that of these two, time and money, that time is the more precious commodity.

In my pop-psych book, Living Life, Anyway, I suggest that time is the most precious commodity in a human being's life-- we do not know how much of it we have left, we are constantly running out of it, we have no way of knowing when we will run out of it, and there is no way to get more of it. And as I say in my self-help book, Adult Loving Relationships, one of the first questions I frequently ask individuals who come to see me with a relationship problem or concern, is: How do you spend your time?”

In my latest contemporary romance novel, Fear of Feeling Loved, Marcia eventually struggles with an issue regarding Jack that many of us have struggled with, especially in the beginning stages of an adult loving relationship – when we are obsessed with the thought, “It seems like I never can spend enough time with him or her.” (And let’s also remember that the quality of that time we spend with our special someone – our together time – also is a very important part of the equation.)

Question: how important are “time” and “together time” in your love adult loving relationship?



Anonymous said...

How important it is and how much we spend are two completely different things! However, quality time doesn't have to be doing 'fun stuff.' With our limited time, we will spend time by walking the dog together, cleaning the house, running some errands.

Dr. Bill Emener said...

Hi Nienke,
Thanks for stopping by and not only sharing but offering some excellent, challenging thoughts.
While I agree that “importance of time” and “how much we spend (and doing what)” are different, I also would argue that they are related. (For example, if it weren’t important to spend time with him you may not do it, or do less of it. If we had time and opportunity, Nienke, this would make for a wonderful sit-down out on the dock or under a palm tree.) I also would like to add – to the many other issues involved such as, as you suggest, “limited time” – the issue of “meaning.” Yes, it’s nice if we spend time together doing “fun stuff,” but it also can be just as meaningful to do “work stuff” and “have-to stuff.” For example, a number of years ago my wife and I spent a week’s vacation repainting the outside of our house together – in the process, we laughed, sang along with the radio, and not just got the house painted but in the process felt (re-) connected. Yes, it was work-time, but more importantly it was “our time.”
Thanks again, Nienke! (Want to meet out on the dock?)

Anonymous said...

I'll bring the beer!

Dr. Bill Emener said...

You're on!
And I'll bring chips and salsa!

DH said...

Time in and of itself is extremely important to me. There are so many things I want to learn and see...It's a huge world. Time with my relationship is so much more quality when I go and experience those things in the world. As for, the feeling of not being able to spend enough time with the other person...It's great to be with my husband, because he's so positive, supportive, encouraging, and on and on. But if we just sat around together all day and didn't experience new things (together or alone) those positive reinforcements only go so far. For me, the best quality time is in the car going somewhere, both a captive audience, not too many outside distractions, and slightly inaccessible to the rest of the world. Kind of like being in a bubble. I can't wait to drive cross country (metaphorically speaking). :) DH

Dr. Bill Emener said...

Hello DH,
A well-stated manner of spending quality time together without smothering each other (and I love the cross-country metaphor).
Now you know why I chose the following statement to be the marquis quote for my self-help book, "Adult Loving Relationships"...

"A sunset shared is more than a sunset."

Ciao for now,