Some people say that they're so busy with work that they can't have additional pressure. Not a viable excuse. If work is such a pressure cooker that you can't be bothered to consider the so-called love of your life, then perhaps there is something wrong with work. Isn't work primarily a way to afford a lifestyle to be shared with your spouse and kids? Most hard workers look forward to some form of retirement because work in and of itself is not the end, but rather a means to an end. Yet what sense does it make if the means slowly destroys the end result of having a loving life with your family by not affording you time and space in your head for your spouse?

Consider honest change and understanding in this area. No one is expected to give up his day job. But nobody wants to feel that she is begging for attention either. Do you want a spouse who is a partner or not? If you want your love to truly share life with you, then be a partner in creating time, as well as sharing the pressures of your collective lives.

Substituting Time Instead of Creating It
You do not need to find a 25-hour day to be with your partner. You probably need to reduce the time you spend doing other things that, when push comes to shove, are not necessary and not nearly as important as your love life. I am referring to hobby time, Internet time, favorite television shows and work, which comes home more easily today in the form of emails and BlackBerrys than ever before. The Internet and television absorb enormous amounts of the average person's time, and these are the first places to review when wanting to find time to be with your partner.

Perhaps you do not enjoy the time you spend with your partner. Or worse yet, you find it uncomfortable. Perhaps you are confronted or criticized whenever you spend time together. This could likely be because you spend so little time together that there's an urge to confront everything you've been holding on to when you finally have the opportunity to sit quietly for a moment. If you both take the concrete step to spend time together daily, you'll see an immediate change. Perhaps the beginning will be awkward, stilted or even uncomfortable, but that will quickly improve with your renewed focus.

Put aside your differences at the start. Fight the urge to make the time all about what has been going wrong. There will be plenty of time for that if your commitment to spending time together continues. Sometimes, when a woman wants to tell her husband about something he's done that upset her, she feels there's never a good time, so she will choose the worst time to express it, such as the first time they're finally spending some quiet time together. It's understandable. She feels that in order to enjoy her time with her husband, she needs to get this off her chest, have him understand what's upsetting her. For those women who feel this way, however, consider, "Will my goal be accomplished?" When you really think about it, you might realize that starting out with a criticism will not serve your purpose. The time you'll spend with your husband will be uncomfortable as each of you airs your grievances, causing you to have less time together in the near future and to be even more upset at each other. If you do want to bring up something critical, make it fast and be done with it. This moment of pleasant, relaxed time is hardly the setting to have a full-blown discussion about some pain that your husband caused.

Another problem is that many men, and women as well, can't stop talking about work. They're more than happy to fill the air about job-related issues. When the bulk of time is taken up with a monologue about work, it does not create a mood of friendly relaxation. A woman once told me that her husband cheats with fruits: his Apple and BlackBerry. Men, this BlackBerry addiction has got to stop. Put it away during your time with your wife. For many of us, the urge to touch that buzzing, ringing thing is just too strong. Spending time means having each other's undivided
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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