How to Spend Quality Time With Your Spouse When You’re Rarely Together

If you have limited time together, you need to learn how to make the most of the time you do have together. Here are four ways to do that from couples who have been there.

This month we’re talking all about quality time- why its important and how to make the most of it.

But what about if you hardly ever see your spouse?

How do you spend quality time together when you are rarely together?

There’s no doubt about it, rarely seeing our spouse takes a huge toll on our marriages. Its rough.

But our marriages aren’t doomed through these stages of not being together much. It will take effort, some creativity and plenty of intentionality. But quality time can happen.

In thinking about this problem, I realized that I have already ran a series on this blog called How to Keep Your Marriage Strong When You Never See Your Spouse where four separate couples who rarely saw each other talked about how they strengthened their marriage in spite of crazy work schedules.

I’ve compiled some of their best advice below:

Quality time with spouse | make the most of your time together

1 Find things to do together while you’re apart.

Andrea, whose husband is in the air force and deployed for 3-6 months out of the year emphasizes the importance of staying unified when you’re not together physically. She says,

“Jonathan and I like to set goals to work towards together.  We’ve set goals to exercise, read certain books, study the scriptures, etc.  I’ll be honest, it never works out the way we hope (he usually reaches the goals and I usually have really good intentions.)  But it’s fun to have something we are both working on…or thinking about working on.

There are lots of sites that let you play games against friends (ranging from checkers to Settlers of Catan.)  You have to get creative, but you can still find things to do together.”

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I also loved Andrea’s advice to use your time apart to help you be a better spouse. 

“Whether you are apart for weeks at a time, or one of you works long hours, think of ways you can improve as a spouse, and work on it!  Jonathan and I like to ask each other for ways we can improve.  We try to set goals together, so we are still working towards something together, even if we never see each other.”

2 Learn to communicate effectively.

Jessica’s husband is a doctor and their marriage survived those brutal med school/residency/fellowship schedules while having five kids in the mix. She says,

“Communication is really important in our marriage.  Especially because my husband will have periods of time when he is rarely home, it has been important to make sure we keep each other up-to-date on each other’s lives.  We have always enjoyed discussing everything together: frustrations, hopes, fears, goals, aspirations, etc.  The ability to regularly stay connected with each other helps us get through the difficult periods when we don’t have the opportunity to talk as much.

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I’ve heard marriage compared to a bank account: you need to constantly be “depositing” good emotions/experiences so that your relationship “account” remains positive.  That way when difficult times come and you are making “withdrawals” or aren’t able to be building your relationship as much as you’d like, you have enough positives that you don’t overdraw.
We have definitely had times in our marriage where I felt we were like “ships passing in the night”.  There didn’t seem to be a whole lot of strengthening going on – we were just in survival mode.  But connecting with each other as much and as often as possible helps provide some buffer during those difficult times.
Once we put the kids down at night, it’s “us” time to catch up.  If he’s at work or away, then we try to spend at least a little time talking on the phone.  During one period of time Ben was working 18-20 hours every day for a three month period.  He often wouldn’t be able to call or text during the day.
Several times a week before he left home at 3 AM, he would write a note to the kids and I.  We knew he loved us and was thinking of us even if we didn’t get to see him often.  It worked — we’re still here!  Making sure we make time to talk and communicate has kept us feeling connected and feeling like we’re a team.”

3 Keep an active sex life

Amy, whose husband is a lawyer and has had a demanding workload since law school says,

“Keeping an active sex life is SO hard when you’re busy, but so important.  A few of the benefits:

  • It relieves stress for both of you.
  • Allows you to connect with one another quicker than just about any other activity.

You may need to get creative with when…and maybe where. When time is limited, creativity is key.

Quality time with spouse

It’s okay to plan ahead! Don’t let the lack of spontaneity ruin a perfectly good opportunity to connect with your spouse. Maybe look at it this way, when you plan ahead, you can be spontaneous in other ways…”

4 If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

Drew is a doctor AND his wife Katie is a doctor. They went through the craziness of residency schedules times two.  Here’s what he advises,

“It’s important to plan ahead so that personal time does not get neglected. My wife and I will sit together and review our calendars on a monthly and weekly basis. We set aside time on the calendar for our date night. These date nights are away from our children, and away from our responsibilities from work.

As the saying goes, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. If we don’t make an effort to schedule these date nights, they rarely occur by themselves. This becomes even more important when baby sitters may be in short supply.

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Often, we would go weeks without having a date night, simply because our schedules didn’t line up. Many times, I would be on days and my wife on nights, or vice versa. In such circumstances the quality of the date became much more important that the quantity of dates.”

So there you have it, how to make the most of your time together when time is limited spoken from those who know the trenches of limited time together all too well.

What works for you guys? What do you do to keep your relationship strong when you don’t have much time together?

 

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