Have you ever found yourself wondering, “How the hell do I find time for this relationship?”
Yeah. Me too. You are soooo not alone.
Something that I have come to realize after being immersed in relationship analysis over the years is that there seems to be two primary categories that infringe on paying attention to our relationships: how we choose to spend our TIME and how we spend our ENERGY. If you have clouded up either of these two areas, chances are, your relationship is taking a backseat, and probably suffering.
So, what the hell can we do about it? Well, a lot of things. Remember… this is all about CHOICE. How you CHOOSE to spend your time and your energy. So, in order to simplify this a little bit, here are some simple ways you can free up your time and energy, so you can actually allocate your time and energy to shit that really matters… in this case, your relationship.
Read my post about the most important things in your life in order to get really clear about what you are making a priority. Do the exercises. Get clear. Own your shit.
Take a look at your commitments. Anything you have been saying yes to that you really don’t want to do? Anything that is a “should” or a “have-to”? Guess what? All those little obligations that you have committed to that really don’t light you up ARE GETTING IN THE WAY of giving time and energy to your partner. So what can you say no to? Where you can you man up and actually care about what YOU want more? Remember, you don’t have to be an asshole to decline something. You can do it with grace. Assertiveness + kindness = Freedom.
Start saying “no”. See #2. It warrants repeating. Grow a pair and start saying no so you can start saying yes to hanging out with that person you swear you are in love with.
Figure out where your stress if coming from. Your work? Your family? Obligations? Your schedule? Many times if individuals are really stressed out, there is not much room to cultivate and grow a relationship. Is there one small baby step that you could take to improve your stress level? Is there stress coming from an area that you could actually take steps to eliminate? Or delegate? Boundaries you could establish? Even a mindset switch about what is deserving of your energy? Oftentimes, we don’t realize that so much of our stress is self-inflicted. Unnecessary pressure we put on ourselves. Things we make more important. What is it for you?
Carve out non-negotiable time for you. I’m sure you’ve all heard the phrase, “If mom is happy, everyone is happy.” Yeah, no shit. You can’t keep filling up everyone else’s pitcher if yours is empty as fuck. Decide RIGHT NOW what you need each day or week to honor YOU. Seriously. Stop and think about that right now. Could you have 15 minutes of meditation before you jump out of bed? Could you have one hour to read each week on a topic that fills you up? If you are thinking, there is no way I can make the time, I want you to take an honest look at what you are making more important. Is it really more important that taking care of yourself? Probably not. It may be time from some re-arrangement of priorities. ‘Cause guess what? YOU need to be a priority. I can guarantee you, if you aren’t filled up, you probably aren’t being the best spouse you can be.
Carve out non-negotiable time for the relationship. This is the step where you actually decide that taking care of your relationship is so important that you commit to spending a specific amount of time together each week. You don’t need a week away to Cabo. What you need is to have sacred time EVERY SINGLE week where your relationship IS a priority. Decide what you can commit to. I always advocate a date night, but sometimes with small children that is nearly impossible. Instead of going into the “can’t” go to the “can”. Could you have 15 minutes to discuss your dreams/your day/what you’re learning/what you’re thankful for together before you go to bed? Maybe every Tuesday night you take 30 minutes just to catch up. Talk about what you’re learning. Share your life a bit. If weekly time feels like a stretch, start small. Shoot for 30 minutes a week. Carve it out. Seriously, if this seems like a chore, you may have a business partner instead of a spouse.
Take a look at your schedules. Okay, so I have soooo been in this boat and it fuckin’ sucks. Mr. Smith and I were like two ships passing in the night for a few years while our work schedules were completely opposite. So, here’s what we learned: If there was any hope for us, we needed to a) have sacred time EVERY single week and b) we had to be consciously working toward a different schedule. We knew that the way our schedules were crafted could not go on forever or we would completely grow apart. You may not be in a situation where you can miraculously create harmonious schedules. What you CAN do is look at what this may cost you in five years time if you don’t have an alternate game plan. What will it take for this arrangement to be temporary? And what can you do in the meantime to MAINTAIN your relationship?
So, you have some work cut out for you. It’s time to decide what is most important. What you are consciously choosing. The first step may simply be to create some awareness around what your current reality is. Maybe you just needed to acknowledge what you have been cluttering your time and energy with. So, I’ll leave you with my favorite mantra that I use around anything I know I want to make important:
MAKE TIME OR MAKE EXCUSES.
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