News And Views
Two to Tango
Take 15 Minutes Each Day For Your Spouse
by Kathleen Billings
I know how busy life as a married couple can be. Daily there are needs to be met, bills to be paid, family to be tended to, personal goals to achieve, chores to do, meals to make, exercise to fit in and prayer time to carve out so you can have the spiritual strength and stamina to accomplish it all. Well, there is one more thing that needs to be part of your daily routine, something that is vital to sustain your life as a married couple – TIME TOGETHER. Fortunately, 15 minutes each day – only 1% of your time! – will keep your marriage alive and healthy.
Early on in our marriage, Troy and I both discovered the importance and value of couple time. We found that if we even went a few days without connecting our hearts, we would very quickly become agitated with one another, more confrontational, show less empathy, and overall just begin to feel unloved. Daily time to connect became our key to sustaining love and respect for one another and essential to staying in love. Due to my husband’s travel schedule, it is not always possible to physically spend time together every day, but we make sure to always connect via telephone so we can at least hear the other person’s voice and feel their love. Next to our time with God, our time with each other is the most important thing on our “to do” list each day.
Your relationship with God is first, but your marriage must come second. It cannot slide to any less priority in your day to day life. Taking just 15 minutes each day to be totally present to one another, to truly listen to what is going on in your spouse’s heart, to give and receive love -can transform your marriage. What if you found out that you had to spend 15 minutes each day to receive a specific medical treatment in order to survive? Would you do it? Of course! To experience a fulfilling, happy marriage begins with having an accurate perspective about how to achieve it. If you want your marriage to survive in a culture where selfishness and divorce rampant, it is important to realize what is absolutely essential to keep it alive and healthy!
These 15 minutes are for you and your spouse to enter into each other’s hearts. Find a place where you can spend your time without distractions; sometimes you just have to get creative depending on your particular situation. Troy and I have sat in our backyard, gone on a walk, sat in one of our vehicles, whatever it took to get time alone. Many times we have just waited until the children are all in bed, but that is not ideal because by then we are both so exhausted and we end up giving each other what we have left over in us. We are actively working together to give one another more prime time. I encourage you to do the same! Make sure that your conversation does not revolve around household chores, children’s activities, or any other topics of business. Of course you need to take time to discuss these things, but your 15 minutes of couple time is exactly that – time to be a couple! Talk to your spouse about your day, your dreams, your fears, whatever is on your heart as long as you are engaged in intimate conversation.
Consecrate your time to God by beginning it with prayer. Your time together is sacred, and your marriage is holy. God’s design for marriage is amazing! It calls us to deeply engage all of who we are with the spouse God has entrusted to us to love. The Vatican II document Gaudium et Spes states, “Man can only find himself in a sincere gift of self.” The Sacrament of Marriage is a path to holiness and to discovering who you are in light of God. When you give fully of yourself to your spouse, you find true joy and discover who God created you to be. Taking 15 minutes each day to focus on the vocation you are living, to be a “sincere gift of self” to your spouse,” has to be a daily choice and a daily commitment.
While 15 minutes each day will keep your marriage alive, I further encourage you to take time at least once a month, if not more often, to go out on a date. If you take the 15 minutes each day for one another, your heart will naturally long for more time together and you will not only love one another, but you will be deeply in love because you are taking time daily to unwrap the gift of your spouse and see the full beauty of the heart you have been given to cherish “till death do you part.”