It’s ironic that I should be asked to write an article about making time for your spouse. Why, you ask? For years, my job was my first, second, and third earthly priority. My children probably took fourth place, and my wife might grab spot number five.
So, why should I write about making time for my spouse? It’s definitely not because my wife is always my number one earthly priority, though I wish that were always true. Perhaps it’s because I make a sincere effort to give my wife far more time than I ever did before.
I’ve been married for 37 years to the love of my life. Our children are all grown and on their own. They all live in states or countries far away from us. For the most part, my spouse, my job, and the Lord and His church are my life.
I like what I accomplish at Family Dynamics Institute for marriages, but the older I become, the more precious my time is with my wife. I’ve actually learned to love just talking to my wife about her life, my life, and our life together. Though I’ll never learn to love shopping (with or without my wife), I’ve learned to enjoy the time with her while she shops. We both enjoy visiting historical sites and museums and we both like to talk while working in the yard together, though that does not occur as often as I wish it could due to our erratic schedules.
Though our tastes in movies and television shows rarely coincides, on those occasions that we find we want to watch something together, it is a special time to curl up together on the couch and watch a show, talking about it from time to time, and just being close.
I often ask myself why I look forward so much to spending time with my wife now. I think it is because I’ve come to appreciate who she is in ways I never stopped to consider when we were younger. Now, I want to hear what she thinks about things, and feels about them in ways that I never used to even consider.
I’ve concluded that the important thing in terms of making time for your spouse is not so much a conscious decision to spend time with my spouse as much as it is a sheer delight to be with her because of how I now view her, our relationship, and the deep appreciation I feel for who she is and what she puts up with – namely, me.
I don’t mean to say that couples shouldn’t schedule time to be with each other just because they don’t spend enough time developing their relationship. I simply mean that scheduling the time becomes a joy, not just another thing to add to one’s relationship checklist, when you learn to appreciate and respect the other person for who he or she is.
So, how have I come to appreciate and respect my wife’s thoughts and feelings on a deeper level?
In 1995 our marriage was hemorrhaging badly. We took the Dynamic Marriage course that I now oversee. The course forced us to talk about things we had never talked about before. It caused us to dig deeper into topics we had discussed, but apparently just superficially. It taught me to listen, really listen to her thoughts and feelings. Those conversations and many since then helped me understand that the woman I married is a multi-dimensional, caring, intuitive, deeply thoughtful and feeling woman, and I am so blessed to have her as my companion in life.
I really don’t think in the last number of years that I’ve ever said, “Honey, we need to spend more time together. I propose that we double the time we spend with each other on a weekly basis.” Instead, I think that because my love, respect, and appreciation for my wife grew as a result of our many meaningful conversations, that I now spend far more time just with her than I ever did before.
Do I need to improve in this area yet? Absolutely. Will I? Probably not if I wait until I decide to make a conscious effort to increase the time. If my respect and appreciation grow for my wife, however, I think it will naturally occur, and I’ll be the better husband for it.