Knowing how to make time for your relationship is one hugely significant factor that will make it more likely that you will stay together.
Of all the relationship advice anyone has ever given me - from things like being intimate, to apologizing, to accepting each other's flaws - the need to make time for the relationship is right up there with top advice.
Why then is it so hard to do?
It seems easy at the start when the relationship is fresh and new.
At that stage you treasure every moment you get to spend with your significant other. But eventually the excitement dies down, you might move in together and the rest of life gets in the way.
You lead a busy hectic modern life, with other demands from friends, family, work, sports, hobbies and the gym. It becomes very hard to find the time.
There is an excellent productivity tool which explains this business phenomenon very well and will help you to make time for your relationship. It is called the Eisenhower matrix, used by World War Two Supreme Allied Commander and US President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Eisenhower broke up his to do list into four categories:
- Important and Urgent
- Important and Not Urgent
- Not Important and Urgent
- Not Important and Not Urgent
Eisenhower found that a lot of his time was being taken up by the "Not Important yet Urgent" category. Menial irritating tasks that would suck up all his time if he let them.
What he had to prioritize were the "Important and Not Urgent" tasks. Things that were crucial and needed to be done, but were easily put off and prone to disappearing under mountains of unimportant tasks.
The need to make time for your relationship falls into this crucial "Important but Not Urgent" category, while your life is probably dominated by the "Not Important yet Urgent."
Everything else piles up and it seems that you never have enough hours in the day.
The secret is simple enough if you choose to implement it. Prioritize the important and not urgent. Put off the "Not Important and Urgent."
If you can do that then you will learn how to make time for your relationship. While that is the most fundamental piece of advice that will help you achieve more time, these are some other practical tips that can help you out.
Become An Early Riser
Get up early in the morning so all your work and chores are finished by the late afternoon and early evening. This way you will never work late into the night and can reach a point where you say to yourself "I'm done with work for the day."
Use that extra time in the evening to spend time with your girlfriend.
If you like to work late there will always be this nagging urge to cut the relationship time short in order to get back to work. This is poisonous and your girlfriend will sense it. Get everything out of the way so that your time at the end of the day can be dedicated to her. It just so happens to be good for your sanity as well.
Obviously this can be a challenge in the morning if you get up significantly earlier than her. But try and make it work as best you can given your own situation.
Avoid Bringing Work Home
Be as productive as possible as you can during working hours so you don't have to bring work home on the weekends and evenings. If you do have to bring work home set aside time to do it and knock it out. Don't let it drag out, cutting into your relationship time.
This applies to both the physical work but also the emotional baggage that work can cause. Of course you need to talk to each other about your days but avoid long and regular bitch sessions about work, when you could instead spend your time in a more enjoyable fashion.
Eat Meals Together
Aim to eat dinners during the week and meals on the weekend together. You have to prepare food and eat anyway so it is an excellent time to sit down and have a chat with your girl.
It is easy to sit down in front of the TV every night and there is nothing wrong with that. But if you are struggling for enough time, switch the TV and use dinner time as a chance to catch and enjoy each other's company.
Whether a day off together or just an evening, make time to schedule dates. It is likely that one or even both of you are people who prefer to do things off the cuff. That's fine but if you are struggling to find time for each other then you need to make time by scheduling things. If you are always doing things off the cuff then it's easy to just never get around to it.
If one of you is more of a planner and diary person then they should take charge of the organization.
If you really struggle to do this just book something - a dinner, tickets, etc - and then just work the rest of your schedule around that.
Do Chores Together
Doing chores together is much more fun than the tedium of doing them on your own. I find Saturday morning to be a great time for the both of us to spend an hour getting the house in good shape.
That way we have a clean house for the weekend and have just spent a quality hour together, even if it is doing something relatively painful and boring.
Have A Shared Hobby
It's not a good idea to have too many shared hobbies, as you need your space, but ideally one or two things that you enjoy doing together would be ideal.
This could be working out, a sport, playing cards or a board game, cooking or playing music.
Whatever it is make time for it. Not only do you get some time doing what you love but you can enjoy the shared experience with your significant other.
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