For men, time is only a means to an end. For women, the time is the gesture. This doesn't mean that just sitting in the same room is all a woman needs. But even if she has a great 35 minutes, that doesn't mean she's done and wants to run off to do something else. Men are trained to accomplish tasks. Men go to work to get a job done much more than to put in time at the workplace. Men might have to stay a certain amount of time at work to collect a paycheck, but the goal is accomplishing objectives. For men, time itself has little meaning except that certain amounts are needed to get things done. We don't use time to make a statement. Even if a dad takes his son to a ball game, how much time that takes is irrelevant compared to the action of seeing the game itself. Thus, if the home team is losing badly, the dad will probably leave early with the kid. He typically does not hang out until the end just because it's nice to spend time with his child. No, the task of seeing the game has been accomplished.

Women desire their partners' time in order to develop their relationships. They feel that no matter how many tasks have been completed, partners still need to spend time together regularly in order to feel close. On this topic, women are absolutely right, and not spending enough time is one of the most unfortunate mistakes men make. Men forget that life is not only about tasks. Love relationships involve much more than just completing tasks.

Children are a prime example. A man can make great money so his wife can stay at home and take care of the children. He can send his children to the best schools, give them the best camp and travel experiences, and yet be the most emotionally distant dad on the block. He can accomplish so much, but having a close relationship with his children will never be about anything other than putting in consistent time. He may be a really loving guy, but his children will not feel comfortable enough with him to share their truest feelings unless Dad is there for them consistently. A son may know Dad loves him and would do anything for him, but he still doesn't come to Dad with his emotional highs and lows, because Dad can't possibly get him. True understanding about what makes a child tick—what his dreams are, his fears and his sense of purpose—cannot happen without time. Dad can't walk into his child's room and say, "Okay, we've got six minutes. Tell me about your dreams and aspirations." A child only reveals these deep thoughts when sitting around spending time with someone on a regular basis.

Reprinted by permission of the publisher, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., from Connect to Love: The Keys to Transforming Your Relationship, by M. Gary Neuman. Copyright ©2010 by M. Gary Neuman.


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