How many times in a week or a day do you say, “I just don’t have any time?” I know for me, I can say this phrase several times a week and it’s always true. Life just doesn’t seem to slow down. “Lack of time” is one of the main reasons that couples find themselves drifting apart from one another. Most couples find that they don’t just naturally drift back into a connected relationship. If you’d like to learn how to increase the intimacy in your marriage even if you have very little time, this one’s for you.
Disclaimer: Your tips for how to increase intimacy when you don’t have a lot of time are just below. But first I want to take a minute to let you know why intimacy and using your time wisely is so important for your marriage. If you want to jump right to the good stuff, just scroll down until you see “Time-Saving Tip #1.”
How much time do you have now?
Have you ever done one of those Michael Hyatt exercises where you learn how much time you actually have in your day and where the time is going? He has one where you label every hour of your day to see where you’re spending your time.
He’s actually not the only one to do this. If you feel like your schedule is overwhelming, you constantly need to move things around so you can get more done, or you know your priorities are off, these types of exercises can be really beneficial. They help you do two things:
(1) show you where you’re actually spending all of your time
(2) show you what free time you really do have in your calendar.
Before we get too deep, check out these two stats about “where Americans spend their time.”
– In 2018, the average American spent 144 minutes a day on social media. That’s almost 2.5 hours daily. And honestly, in this age of the Covid pandemic, many of us are likely spending more time than that on social media. Want to know your actual numbers? You can track your actual time and even set limits on your social media use by downloading one of these helpful apps.
– Stats from 2018 show that the Average American watches just under 3 hours of TV a day. This includes any streaming that you’re doing. Again, if we had more recent stats, we may see far more TV time.
Let’s assume you’re in the average with those 2018 numbers and that most of your time on social media is also time that you’re watching TV. That would still mean about 2.5 hours a day of “non-optimized time” during your day. And while I get that some of that time might be business-building activities for entrepreneurs or just good break time, this is still a touch of proof that most of us can find 30-60 minutes that we can free up.
Now, I am about to give you some ways that you can create intimacy in small amounts of time, but first, I want you to assess your schedule just a bit.
Assess your schedule.
What time do you typically wake up and go to sleep? The hours in-between waking and sleeping are your “usable hours.” This is how much time you have that you can use in whatever way you choose.
Now, consider those same hours for your spouse. How many of your waking hours are also hours that your spouse is awake?
Now, take those “usable hours” and determine which ones are your “optimal hours.” These are the hours where you potentially can both be free or make yourselves available to one another. For example, maybe you have 30 minutes together where you’re both awake in the morning before somebody leaves for work. Maybe you have an hour at night where you usually watch a show together. Maybe there’s a 15-minute period during the day where your lunch breaks can overlap some.
It’s really important that you have an understanding of the time you can set aside. Knowing how much time you can devote and exactly when your optimal times are will allow you to engage in the activities that are most beneficial. After all, nobody starts a game of Monopoly when you only have 30 minutes.
Start improving intimacy now.
Okay, now that you have an understanding of your own time constraints and availability, let’s talk about some ways you can improve intimacy starting right after you finish reading this.
Just so we’re speaking the same language, I’m going to talk about emotional intimacy. Physical intimacy typically occurs a little more easily when we focus first on the emotional connection. But, if you’re looking specifically for improving the physical connection, download our free guide, “Becoming One”.
Practice Turning Toward Your Partner
There are three responses that we can have with our spouse.
(1) We can turn away from them (purposely leave them either physically or emotionally)
(2) Turn against them (more intense than turning away; you actually make sure your spouse knows that you’re avoiding them or angry with them)
(3) We can turn toward them
Turning toward your spouse means that you are intentional in responding to their questions or their behaviors toward you. Instead of answering with grunts or “uh-huh,” you take a moment to stop, look them in the eyes, and make it clear that you’re present.
Here are some examples of turning toward:
– Sending a text back when they reach out to you.
– Turning off the TV when they talk to you.
– Putting your phone away when you’re on a date.
– Simply looking in your spouse’s eyes while you have a conversation.
Anything that says, “you have my entire focus right now” is an example of turning toward. This is something you can do at any time that you and your spouse are interacting with one another. And, it’s one of the easiest ways to increase some intimacy and connection between the two of you.
Time-Saving Tip #1: Express some gratitude.
All of us like to be appreciated for what we do and for who we are. What are those things that you really love about your spouse? Make sure your spouse knows what those things are. Send a text during the day, leave a little note somewhere they will find it, or tell them face-to-face before you leave for work or before you go to bed. Make your words clear and easy to understand and give a true and meaningful comment. Do this daily!
Time-Saving Tip #2: Practice some takenology:
Use some portion of your day to get rid of the technology. Maybe the best time to do this is early in the morning while you share a cup of coffee together. Maybe your best times is the 30 minutes before you go to sleep. Remember what we looked at a moment ago? Most Americans spend about 2.5 hours a day engaged with their smart phones or watching TV. Spend a portion of this time completely disconnected from everything but your spouse. When you’re short on time, you have to make sure that your spouse still feels like your priority.
Time-Saving Tip #3: Show an interest in your spouse’s
Have you ever noticed that people love to talk about themselves? When we share something about ourselves, we feel known by the other person and a little more connected. One great way to show your spouse you want to have an intimate connection, is to show an interest in what’s happening in their world. But, instead of the traditional “how was your day” question that most couples ask, learn to ask the following:
(1) “What was the hardest part of your day” (which shows an interest in any struggles they had)
(2) “What was the best part of your day” (which allows your spouse to share a little celebration with you).
These two questions will promote more significant communication than “how was your day” will.
Time-Saving Tip #4: Be vulnerable with your spouse
Asking your spouse about their day is important, but to really have intimacy, you have to be willing to share your own celebrations and difficulties. Many of us have a hard time sharing the struggles because we don’t want to burden or worry our spouse. It’s really important that you understand that wives especially feel safer knowing their spouse has some struggles. You seem more human when you share which makes your spouse feel less alone in the relationship. Counter-intuitive, I know. But it works.
Apply what you just learned today.
Those are some ways that you can start building the emotional intimacy in your relationship even if you’re a little short on time. But, do keep in mind that making time to work on your marriage will be hugely beneficial and setting aside some time will let your spouse know that you cherish and love them. Setting aside just one date night every couple of weeks where you focus wholly on one another can start the process of building a happy marriage.