The Gift of Tiime
Explore some myths about time that keep us from spending and enjoying time with each other.
“If we only had more time!”
How often have you heard your partner say these words, or said them yourself?
Years ago we saw a cartoon of a husband sitting in his office, talking on the phone. He was saying, “Let’s check our calendars and see if we can find a time to consummate this marriage.” Indeed, the time crunch you experience impacts your sex life, your friendships, and your leisure activities. It takes time to relax and enjoy the mere presence of each other.
We don’t propose to find you more time (wouldn’t that be great?), and we are not the ones to teach you to be more efficient in your use of time. There’s plenty we could learn about that ourselves. We just want to convince you of the wisdom of spending your time on one another, and to ask you to consider the attitudes we all bring to time. So much of what we do is conditioned by assumptions we bring with us into a relationship. By looking at our assumptions, we may find a way to free up some time for each other.
Assumption #1: This house has to be perfectly clean, and it’s my job to keep it clean.
It is a matter of choice how clean your living space needs to be, and whose job it is to keep it that way. You probably don’t want the health inspector at your door, or to encourage bugs to take up residence, but there is a large range between “perfectly clean,” and a visit from the health department. Agree between the two of you what your standard of cleanliness is and how it is to be achieved. Realize that by sharing tasks you free up your partner (or yourself) to do more pleasant things.
Assumption #2: I need to get ahead and be the hardest worker in my department. The time you devote to earning money is to some extent negotiable. It certainly is hard, as the economy becomes stressed, to say no to extra hours at work, but again, you should come to a common understanding about the time you feel needs to be spent at work.
Assumption #3: If you try hard enough, you can have it all. Despite the advertisements to the contrary, you do have to make choices about how you spend your time. There are only twenty four hours in a day, and when you choose to do one thing with those hours, then you are choosing not to do other things. You can’t be fixing the car if you’re playing cards. It’s important to prioritize, and while you may be able to have a great career, an outstanding marriage, a well-kept home, and happy children, there will probably come a time when you have to decide in which order of importance those things come.
Assumption #4: I can get to that later. This is a delusion that is prevalent in this household, and creates chaos. If it is something important and there’s no time to do it now, then make a date with yourself for when it will be done. If it’s not important, then let it go. The faster you can get it off your mental list, the sooner you can stop feeling guilty that it hasn’t gotten done.
We once heard a speaker who said that he’d found a lot of things – money, a pocket knife, a bracelet – but he’d never found as much as ten minutes of time. You don’t find time, you make time for the things that are important. And it’s so important to remember that spending time on each other is one of the wisest investments you’ll ever make.