Life is busy. For many couples, each week is filled to the brim with various commitments. Couples often look back at the end of the week and realize they didn’t take any time to focus on each other and their relationship. Everything else came first, and the relationship got swept to the side. Often, this is due to one or both partners working long hours. Other times, couples spend a great deal of time caring for their small children.
Yes, life is busy, but research suggests it is no busier than it has been in the past. Many people believe that limited time together is a growing issue. But, research suggests otherwise.
One interesting study looked at how couple leisure time has changed over the past four decades since 1965.[i] Researchers expected to find that couples are now spending less time together. But they actually found the opposite. In each decade since 1965, couple leisure time has actually increased. These statistics are hopeful. It means that despite real concerns, couples are somehow finding more time for one another than in past decades.
This is an encouraging trend, but many couples are still rightly concerned about the busyness of their lives. Research does indicate that spending regular time together leads to happier relationships. A report completed by the National Marriage Project found that, “husbands and wives who engaged in couple time with their mates at least one day a week were approximately 3.5 times more likely to report being ‘very happy’ in their marriages, compared to those who enjoyed less quality time with their spouse.”[ii]
Think back over the last week. Did you and your partner spend any one-on-one time with each other? If not, what kept you from pursuing more time (i.e. children’s activities, work, extended family activities, tie with friends, or maybe fear of getting into an argument with your partner).
Stay tuned for Part II of this article, where we will talk about how couples can intentionally spend quality time together when life is busy.
[i] Van der Lippe, T. & Gershuny, J. (2010). Spending time together – Changes over four decades in leisure time spent with a spouse. Journal of Leisure Research, 42(2), 243-265.
[ii] Wilcox, W. B. & Dew, J. (2012). The date night opportunity: What does couple time tell us about the potential value of date nights? The National Marriage Project. Retrieved from