How do you find the balance of spending quality couple time with having enough personal time to be productive and centered?
Here are 10 tips.
1. Make a working date: Ask your significant other to come over and bring work or a book to read. Make it clear that you will be working on stuff while they are there. If you live together then make it a date to go to a local coffee shop for a few hours. The key is to be clear that it is a working date and that you have specific tasks to complete. It’s fun to be in the presence of your significant other and it lightens the mood as you push through your required work. It’s also a good idea to discuss goals with one another. What things have you each been procrastinating that you want to accomplish? Perhaps working dates can be a time when you both spend time making progress on these goals.
2. If you live together and you’re in need of some solo time, have a ME day. My “me” days start with a bubble bath equip with soft music, candles, and a good book. I usually follow that up with a trip to the nail salon for a mani, pedi. My significant other likes it when I take “me” days because I always come back looking and feeling great.
3. Split the weekend with friends. If Saturday night is date night, then make Friday night friends night. Plan it, embrace it. A little time away from bey is good for both of you. It’s also really important to maintain healthy friendships throughout dating or marriage. Your partner can’t be your everything. And if the romantic relationship does end, you don’t want to find that you’ve lost touch with your social network. Identify the activities you love that your partner doesn’t enjoy so much and do those things with friends. I personally love going to Soul Cycle with my friend.
4. Run errands together. Married life won’t always be about adventurous dates. Much of it is enjoying the mundane with someone, i.e. grocery shopping. If you’re dating, try grocery shopping with your significant other. You can learn so much about them in a trip to the store, and it’s a way to spend time together while being productive.
5. Make date night count. If you are very busy and struggling to find time to spend together, then it’s even more important that on date night you are 100% engaged and present. Turn off the cell phone, leave the work phone at home. Don’t bring friends to date night either, that’s what friends night is for. That’s not to say your bey can’t hang out with your friends, it just means that would be a separate outing. Date night is reserved for you and bey.
6. Communicate the idea of peacefully co-existing. Sometimes I really enjoy having another person in the apartment, but I don’t really want to engage with that other person. I call this “peacefully co-existing” We also did this when were dating and not living together. He might come over and watch football or play his X-box while I meal prepped or read a book. We enjoy knowing the other person is there, but we didn’t necessarily want to be talking or doing an activity together. This can’t be assumed however, it does have to be communicated. You don’t want either person to misunderstand and feel neglected or feel the need to actively entertain the other.
7. Communicate what you need transparently – When we got married we went from working opposite shifts and living in two different apartments to living together in a tiny studio unit with the same work hours at jobs across the street from one another. Needless to say we were together all the time. After months of frustration I finally admitted that I needed at least an hour a day of alone time. My husband was surprised and grateful to hear me say this. He also wanted alone time, specifically time to go to the bar and watch the games. He had been denying himself this because he felt guilty leaving me alone in the apartment in a new city with no friends. Once we talked, he got his football bar time, and I got my alone time.
8. Be understanding and have thick skin – If it’s your partner who needs more alone time and you are content with how things are, then try to be understanding. Being together all the time isn’t necessarily better. How you are apart from your partner is just as important as how you are when you’re with them. Don’t be needy or unrealistic, and remember you had a world before them. If you are upset that they aren’t spending enough time with you, consider if the problem is long term or short term. If it’s short term can you be more supportive? Also evaluate the quality of the time you do spend together. Remember quality trumps quantity. If your partner is in a busy patch but still manages to reserve a meaningful cell phone free date night for you once a week, cherish this. **I had a friend a few months ago who was working extra shifts and spending very little time with his girlfriend. It’s a good thing she was able to be patient, because those extra shifts were taken to pick up extra cash for her engagement ring. They are now happily engaged.
9. No Electronics in the Bedroom or at the Dinner Table – If you are struggling to spend enough quality time together it becomes even more important to protect what should be quality time. If you live together, try really hard to eat dinner at the table and not in front of the television. Likewise, don’t bring screens into the bedroom. Even if your partner doesn’t say it, trust that they resent you for being on Instagram when you could be snuggling.
10. Compromise – -Some nights I could blog all night, and I’m sure my husband could stay at the bar until 2am watching games. The solution is compromise. I know when to close the laptop and go spend time with him even if I’m not quite done, and likewise he knows when to shut of the Xbox.
I’m really eager to read your comments on this one. I am definitely still finding the balance of quality time and alone time. What strategies do you have? What’ working?