Monday, November 26, 2007

If You Want a Happy Adult Loving Relationship, Make Time for Each Other

As I was driving back from visiting my family for Thanksgiving, I found myself thinking a lot about adult loving relationships. (Spending seven to eight hours on the interstate can facilitate such thinking.) Most of all, I thought about how we spend our time – especially when we are married or in a significant-other relationship. I also recalled that in my contemporary romance novels, the main characters frequently think about and talk about how they spend their time (i.e., with or without each other) – Sheila and Troy in My Sweetpea: Seven Years and Seven Days, Marcia and Jack in Fear of Feeling Loved, and Diane and Michael in If Ever Again… It’ll be for Love.

Firstly, it is important to remember that “How we spend our time” is typically a choice. To wit, says, “You can make your marriage happy (or happier) by choosing to do so. You can start down the road to marital happiness this very day. Happier marriages result from making right choices."

Secondly, an excellent internet article, A Happy Marriage ... 12 Tips for Marital Happiness and the Newlywed Glow, says:

1. Make time for each other. Time to listen. Time to talk. Time to just be together. Play and work as a couple. Instead of rushing, slow down.

2. Appreciate something good about your partner. Tell him/her. Tell others, in front of him/her.

3. Share common goals and values. Work as a team to achieve them. Push and pull for the same basic things in your lives.

4. Say, “I love you.” Often. To yourself, your spouse, your kids, your parents, your friends, your dog and cat - anyone who is special in your life. (And, yes, family pets should be included. Interaction with them has numerous mental and physical health benefits.)

5. Smile. At yourself, your friends, your family, and strangers. Smile especially at those that seem to be having a hard day. Warning: smiles are contagious and those you smile at are likely to smile back at you.

6. Take time for yourself. Do something special for yourself each day…enjoy a cup of gourmet coffee, take a bubble bath, or relax with a hobby.

7. Use the best things you have. Don't save them for special occasions. Wear new clothes while they fit, eat produce at its peak, use your good dishes for everyday meals. Enjoy every one of your possessions.

8. Take time for your partner. Do a good deed. Give sincere compliments.

9. Enjoy the common miracles of life. Watch the sunrise. Smell wild flowers. Listen to the birds flying overhead.

10. Laugh. Share a joke, read the comics…or tickle and be tickled back.

11. Celebrate each day. Find good in it.

12. Decide to be happy. Think positively. Remember that you bring about what you think about. You have control over how you feel.

As I have mention on numerous occasions, I currently am writing a 2nd Edition of my self-help book Adult Loving Relationships with a good friend and colleague Dr. Bill Lambos. In the 1997 version of this book, I talked about “Plan Your Daily’s, Weekly’s, Monthly’s and Yearly’s.” Specifically, I said:

It is very easy for adults in adult loving relationships to be distracted from each other and from their relationship by family, occupational and other types of responsibilities and commitments. Many times I have asked individuals in long-term, adult loving relationships, “When is the last time the two of you went away on a three or more day vacation together, just the two of you?” that they will look at each other, then look at me and say, “We can’t remember.” The love that two people feel for each other and from each other is many times vested in the time that they spend with each other and the things that they do with each other. In a nutshell, if your relationship is important to you, plan your daily’s [something to do together every day], weekly’s [something to do together once a week], monthly’s [something to do together once a month] and yearly’s [something to do together once a year] so that the two of you don’t accidentally drift apart and one day look at each other as if you are looking at a stranger. If your loved one and your relationship with your loved one is important to you, don’t look for time to spend with him or her, make the time. (p. 219)

Question: Do you and your significant other make time with and for each other?



Anonymous said...

Very good advice, all of it.

My husband is very busy lately, so we really appreciate the little time we do have together. It makes a really big difference.

Dr. Bill Emener said...

Hello Katie,

Thank you for your kind and gracious comments, as well as for visiting and sharing your experience. Isn’t it interesting how many people in our society seem to be “busy all the time” and not have time for those people most important to them. A good friend of mine said that he’s currently working on a new acquisition for his company and probably will have to put in 10-12 hour days, five days a week for the three months. “So until my schedule gets back to normal,” he said to me, “I’m putting away my golf clubs and fishing poles – what little time I have I want to spend with my wife.” He certainly has his priorities straight and indeed is a happily married man (married to a happily married woman).

Thanks again Katie – I hope to see you again some time down the road,


Unknown said...

I'm finally ready to be back online. I have definitely gone from one extreme to the other with my "adult loving relationship". My husband is a wonderful man, but boy can I tell when we're not on the same page or spending too much time apart.

We just had a date night tonight - a couple of glasses of wine and some locally brewed beer- fantastic!

Hope you are doing well and enjoying the blog - I knew you would love it!

Dr. Bill Emener said...

Hi Kat,

Ah… great day – my Internet Angel has returned. (Remember – I called you that when you taught me about blogging). I’ve settled into a comfortable level of blogging and posting – not as obsessive about it as I was a year ago (yet still enjoying it).

I see it all the time – people get so caught up in their jobs, children, hobbies, etc., and they forget about their significant others. Having a date night is a great idea (my son and his wife do it regularly and it shows in their relationship). Adding some bubbly to the mix – not a bad idea!

You’re very fortunate, Kat – you have a wonderful significant other and you have a good “relationship thermostat” – you can tell when something is wrong and needs attention. (and it would appear that he does as well). Terrific – I’m thrilled for you and appreciative of your sharing your experience.

Be well… my Internet Angel!