For Women
Women often tell me they are disappointed when they suggest spending quiet time with their husbands, and their husbands act like it's some sort of big sacrifice. Men need to understand that your need for time is good for the relationship. Both of you are entitled to time together. Don't see your request for time as a pathetic bargaining chip that you must use to get your husband's attention. You don't have to feel belittled, or as if you're begging him to spend time with you. Ask him outright and explain to him why it's important to the two of you. "I'd like to spend more time together this week. I just want us to have some quiet time to chat and catch up, so we're feeling close. When is a good time for you to plan just 30 minutes or so a few times this week to spend pleasant time, have a drink and relax together?"

But you need to understand that men see time as a vehicle to get things done. They don???t value it as something to use to get closer to you. When you respect that men???s minds work differently, you will find that understanding will help you to not take his behavior so personally; in turn it will be easier to discuss and manage it.

For Men
Keep in mind that your partner wanting time with you is a wonderful compliment. If she didn't like you, she'd be more than happy to see you go. Unfortunately, there are many marriages that exist in that paradigm. Remember how wonderful it felt when you fell in love. It was empowering and it made life different. That came from focusing time on your girlfriend, and yes, you accomplished something concrete: You got her to become your wife. But do not allow marriage to end your desire to be in love. Consider how great you feel when you wake up in the morning after a lovely night of fun and love with your wife, compared to waking up after a night full of fighting and acrimony.

Stop seeing time as a vehicle to accomplish a task. Time is necessary for your love relationship to be successful. When you spend time with your wife, it sends the message to her that you want to be connected to her and that you find her special because you'd rather be spending time with her than doing anything else. Be with her when you spend time. Get rid of distractions like the BlackBerry or the cell phone. Use the time to ask her questions about her day and share some of the more entertaining parts of yours. Set aside a certain block of time to be with her, with the understanding that you will accomplish being closer to her through this time spent. And do not keep asking her what time it is.

I've consulted with Fortune 500 companies, and one thing that every top manager knows is that if someone is going through a divorce or other intense stress at home, his work output is kaput. Immediately, managers begin to rely less on that person and reduce his workload, and they aren't surprised when deadlines are missed. Love, or lack of it, affects every part of a man's life. Being in love may not feel as concrete to you as completing an email, but make no mistake that it lies at the root of everything you do. Although Albert Einstein proved that time is not absolute—leave it to a man—time is absolutely necessary when "accomplishing" the "task" of love.
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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