JUGGLING WORK AND LOVE LIFE
By Francis Wade
Friday, June 10, 2011.
few years ago when I was struggling in a first marriage that ultimately
failed, I came across some advice that I have never forgotten. It was
simple and brutal – if you want your relationship to last, spend 15
hours per week in face to face contact with your spouse. (See www.marriagebuilders.com
for details). Not time spent sleeping, watching television or taking
care of the kids. Face to face time. The kind that allows for
conversation and interaction.
writer made a good point; when you are dating, you make sure to spend
this kind of time to get to know the other person, and you actually
engage in certain practices that allow you to fall deeply in love. He
argues that these practices, and their duration, is what allows a
relationship to develop. When they cease, the relationship suffers and
most marriages, other commitments come into play that reduce the number
significantly — kids, work, hobbies, charities, church, chores, sports,
television, games, Internet activity. Over time, the total number of
hours shrinks as both partners unknowingly drift to other interests.
Before you know it, each partner has developed a raft of other
commitments that serve to keep them apart.
was a compelling argument, but I had the reaction that most people have
when they hear the 15 hour required minimum. “Where the heck will I
ever find that kind of time?” It seemed to be an impossible task to
squeeze that much time in, and I had the stupid notion that time with
one’s spouse shouldn’t be forced… which only meant attempting to
squeeze the time in between other, presumably more important,
author argued that this was a cop-out. He asked his readers to imagine
what would happen if they were to fall in love with someone outside the
marriage, and were to conduct a torrid and passionate affair.
If you are a fan of the television series Mad Men
you would see a good example of how the busiest people in the world are
able to find time to have affairs, and I imagine that you and I are not
too different. 15 hours a week on our secret love affair would feel
like no time at all, and we’d magically find ways to be together that
seem so hard once our lover becomes our spouse, and a few years have
my second marriage I have worked hard from the beginning to make sure
that the 15 hour minimum is preserved, and I schedule time with my wife
when I find that the minimum is being threatened. Some married folk in
my time management classes argue that setting time aside to date your
spouse isn’t romantic, but they ignore the fact that if they were to
conduct an illicit affair, that high level scheduling skills would be
an absolute requirement!
also forget that when they were dating, coordinating schedules was an
absolute requirement, and that we all make the mistake in thinking that
once we are married, such dedicated time will come easily and
effortlessly, without planning and foresight. Sex should happen
spontaneously, right after doing the dishes and changing the baby’s
convinced, however, of the need for 15 hours, finding the time is often
a huge challenge. Those with White belt skills in Scheduling, for
example, are likely to find the going tough in spite of their best
intentions. Their best tactic is to upgrade their skills in this area
to Yellow or Orange belt levels, so that they can handle this new 15
hour per week time demand that seems to be such an imposing burden.
seems a bit strange that time management skills might have something to
do with saving a marriage. However, if we look at the things that
don’t happen in life because we don’t have the time (such as more
exercise, less clutter and better balance) it’s not hard to see that
doing well in all of them requires good a time-management skills.
Francis Wade is a management consultant based in Kingston, Jamaica. He blogs at The 2Time Management System.
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