How Much Time Should Couples Spend Together?
Are you unhappy with how much or how little time you spend with your partner? How much time should couples spend together? Here are some tips here which might help you decide.
I have known people who feel that a good relationship means you have to spend all of your free time together. They socialize together, they spend all of their free time together, they even go grocery shopping or run errands together! I have to say that if I spent that much time with my husband on a regular basis, things would not be good in my household. This type of relationship can be smothering. Spending more time together also means there are more opportunities to disagree and fight. Often, there are other issues at work as well. If one person is insisting on spending all of this time together when the other person truly does not want to, this is a sign of a controlling or abusive relationship. You are only one-half of a couple - you are an individual and you should not be defined solely as a part of a marriage or a pair. Your happiness should not be dependent primarily upon another person.
On the other hand, I also know couples who NEVER spend time together. They live in the same house but they are basically roommates. They don't do anything together except perhaps activities for their children. They never have one-on-one time to work on their relationship and never spend time together outside of their family. This is not healthy either. They are supposed to be committed to each other after all - whether it is being married or living together. The relationship is about them. If there is no "them", then there is no relationship.
Balance, of course, is the key. There are some couples where the scenarios above work for them. However, I doubt that they are truly happy together. There are some folks who just drift their life and don't think much about the details. This may work fine for you but you should want more than "fine" out of your life. You should find joy and satisfaction in your life and in your relationship. In order to have a happy and healthy couple, you need to be happy and healthy individuals. Just existing and getting through the day isn't necessarily the same thing as being happy.
So, what can you do? The best course of action is to change your relationship as it is right now. If you are spending all of your time together and that isn't working for you, try something different. Make an effort to engage life as an individual. Take some time for yourself - spend time away from the relationship. Reconnect with family and friends. Or, just do something by yourself - shopping, a spa day or take in a game. If your partner gets angry or can't understand, this is a sign that there is something seriously wrong with your relationship. If you can't break away, see a counselor so you can find the strength to do so.
If the other scenario is the case, then you need to reconnect as a couple. Go on a date or, even better, get away together. This should be something that occurs regularly - not just once in a while. Even if it is just putting the kids to bed early and having a romantic dinner at home - this is a step in the right direction. Set up a "date night" and commit to it. It may not happen every time - life does get in the way, after all. But it should happen more often than not. The laundry will still be there tomorrow and the kids will be fine for a couple of hours with a sitter. The goal is to remember that you are a couple and to make that a priority.
Remember - healthy couples are made up of healthy people. You are an individual outside of your relationship. At the same time, being a couple takes commitment. It doesn't just happen. Being together isn't necessarily the same as being a couple. Work on these goals even if it means taking a break from your life as it exists now.
Are you unhappy with your relationship or marriage? Check out Relationship Advice 101 for more info on relationships, marriage and divorce.