Part III – Has the “B” Word Taken Over Your Relationship: How to Stay Connected, Even When Life is so “Busy”

You Can Build a Quality Relationship Even When Life is Busy

Some couples go through busy seasons of life that are unavoidable. No matter how intentional they are about scheduling time together, it is an unfortunate fact that they have limited time to spare. For example, time is limited when one partner may be going back to school or is having a particularly busy season at work.

If you fall into this category, be encouraged. It is possible to maintain a happy and healthy relationship, even when time together is severely limited. Research on couples in busy relationships has found that happy couples do the following things.[i]

Don’t bring work home. Happy couples do their work at work and choose not to bring it home. Although they may have very limited time at home, when they are there, they choose to be completely present. They take the time, even if it is only a few minutes, to connect with their partner and children and focus solely on them.

 Verbally support one another. Happy couples verbally support one another in their work and other responsibilities.

Find ways to keep occupied as individuals. When only one partner in a relationship is busy and the other has lots of extra time, the less busy partner finds ways to independently stay occupied outside of the relationship.

Accept the busyness of life. A level of acceptance is needed for busy couples. Couples accept that the busyness is only for a season of time or that it is for a good cause and worth the sacrifice.

Share decision making, childcare, housework, and finances. Happy couples share decision making in all areas of life. Work and responsibility are not dumped on one partner. And nobody is left out of important decisions.

It is possible to have a happy relationship when life is busy. It takes effort, communication, and a change in perspective. But, many busy couples have happy and fulfilling relationships.

[i] Zimmerman, T. S. (2003). Intimate partnership: Foundation to the successful balance of family and work. The American Journal of Family Therapy, 31(2), 107-124