For Women
Creating time alone together with your partner is the most important thing you can do to make yourself happier and feel more in love. It's worth bringing it up to him and getting exact times that will work for both of you. Remind him that you miss him, you love the time you spend together and you feel you two have to get back to being in love, and that the first step is just finding the time. Ask for 30 minute blocks of time a minimum of four times a week to start. Use the time to relax together, do fun things together (surf the Web, play Scrabble or other board games), and make it about pleasant conversation for both of you. Agree to put cell phones away during your time together.

For Men
If you want a happier mate, start by spending more time alone with her daily. Carving out this time is your best bet to create a better marriage. Go to your partner and suggest to her that you spend more time together. Make a plan for just 30-minute blocks of time in the evening or whenever the two of you can be alone together. Name the nights you'll spend together each week, a minimum of four to start, and if you use a weekly calendar, refer to it to make sure nothing will conflict with this alone time. Now, consider how excited you are when you watch a sporting event, car commercial, fishing or financial show on television and compare that to how you feel when you spend time with your wife. Begin to see that you may be reserving all your enthusiasm for interests other than your wife, and that leads to a failed relationship. Consider how to make the time you spend with her loving and exciting.

Prioritizing Your Time
Later, we'll discuss how couples can really connect on an emotionally intimate level and stay actively in love. But first, it's crucial for a couple to decide to prioritize time together. I know that many men will read this and say, "Now I have to spend more time with my wife? As if I need another job!" And I don't mean to say men dislike their wives and would rather do anything else than spend time with them. If a man finds spending time with his wife a struggle, the next chapter will speak to changing that. But everyone has to realize some cold, hard facts. If you are working a typical 40-hour workweek for 50 weeks a year, you're up to 2,000 hours each year. If you spend 30 minutes per day together as a couple for 50 weeks a year, you're up to a measly 175 hours a year (350 hours if you get in a full hour a day). Keep in mind that many couples will spend more time together on the weekend rather than each weekday, so that figure of 30 to 60 minutes per day is based on a weekly average.

I find that women are quite clear that they do not expect their husbands to spend a ridiculous amount of time with them. Many men, though, do not understand how truly little time they are spending with their wives. An hour a day may sound like a lot, but when you think about everything else you do that you want to be a success at, it probably pales in comparison. If a man watches just two football games a week, that's almost eight hours, already more than the one hour of daily time that I've suggested he spend with his wife. And let's not forget the Saturday college games, Monday Night Football, the added Sunday Night Football, and, yes, thanks for NFL Thursday nights as well. And consider the amount of energy and excitement you expend doing that, compared to when you are with your wife. It starts to make sense that women are feeling less and less valued by their husbands' time commitment.

Remember, creating time for each other is considered a gift, an act of love for your partner. You'd feel pretty crummy if you were always chasing after your wife trying to spend time with her, while she was finding many other "more important" things to do, especially if some of those things were watching a TV show or surfing the Web aimlessly. Women don't want to feel that they are always the ones talking about spending time. They don't want to be the only ones responsible for creating loving time together.

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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