Time is an ever fleeting commodity. It seems to be here one moment and then gone the next. And my marriage always seems to get the short end of the stick when it comes to not having enough time. For Eric and I, there always seem to be external factors that impact the amount of time we are able to spend together.
When we first were married, Eric worked 3 very different jobs, all at the same time. His retail hours dictated he be up very early in the morning, his coaching job dictated all his afternoon/evening/weekend hours, and his church job took up much of the space in-between. And while he kept up this very hectic schedule, I worked a 47 hour a week job that required very early mornings, with all of my evenings wide open.
Needless to say, we had to learn to be creative in our ability to spend time with one another.
This meant that I became a soccer wife most of the time. Rather than staying at home during the evening when Eric was at soccer, I picked up an interest in the game (a true interest – I actually enjoy watching the game) and attended many of his games so that we could spend time together on the drive to and from the game.
After 4 months of trying to navigate this crazy lifestyle, we discovered we were pregnant, and made the major decision to move across the country. This meant in addition to the jobs, we were now packing up our house, purging, and making major plans for the future. But still, we managed to squeeze in a little time together where we could.
Now, 15 months into being parents, Eric has started school and our lives once again look a little bit different. Rather than being able to spend our quiet moments together, Eric spends much of his “down time” doing schoolwork, and I try to hide so that I don’t bother him so he can get his work done.
Marriage requires you sacrifice some of your “me” time for the other person.
One of the things we’ve learned is that we must sacrifice some of our wants or desires in order to give the other person what they need. Because if we don’t give up some of what we want, we wouldn’t get to spend time together at all. Some nights, Eric and I are able to spend some side-by-side time together, with both of us reading. But most nights, one or both of us are involved in different projects and activities and going our separate ways.
I took the time to ask a couple of friends who all have husbands with very demanding jobs, or different activities that take up their time what they do to combat the lack of time they get to spend together.
My friend Megan mentioned this incredibly important fact:
I have found that quality time is more frequent and more enjoyable if it is planned ahead of time. If we don’t plan ahead, it’s too easy for us to get sucked in to phones or the TV and just completely zone out without actually having a conversation at all that day.
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Your marriage depends on you planning ahead and making time for one another.
My friend Liz, whose husband works in the food service industry, noted that their ways of connecting have to be a little more unconventional. They make use of technology more often as ways to connect so that her husband doesn’t miss out on the milestones of the kids, and so that they can stay connected as a couple.
Utilizing the tools that we have around us to ensure that we stay connected is so incredibly important. When we aren’t able to communicate with the ones we love, we disconnect and begin to live our lives separate.
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So, how do I create a legacy when we don’t get to spend much time together?
Your marriage is a priority. It must be made a priority. Taking the time to schedule out moments to be together is so important. Even if it’s the short amount of time after the kids are in bed and you going to sleep. Even if it’s early mornings to check in before the day begins. Perhaps it means doing to some babysitting swapping with another couple from your small group at church. Whatever it may look like, you’ve got to communicate with one another.
And you’ve got to schedule the time and make the most of it. So often, it’s easiest to sit down in front of the television and just sit side by side without communication. But what Eric and I have discovered is that we actually need that time to check in with one another. To see how the other is doing and feeling about their day. To see how they are doing with their walk with God.
We don’t get much time together right now to build our marriage legacy. Between work and school for Eric, he’s gone most of the time. But even on his busy days, he works to make sure he has time for me and time for Sarabeth. And we know that we spend the last moments of our day checking in with one another.
One of the most important things I think a husband can do to show his children the importance of his marriage is to kiss his wife before he leaves and when he comes home. It’s one of my favorite parts of the day. No matter what, I am always the last one kissed before Eric heads out the door (doesn’t matter if he’s just going to the gym, I still get a kiss), and I’m always the first one kissed when he gets home again. It’s a habit he started and I love because I know that he wants me to be aware of when he leaves and when he’s home and he wants to show Sarabeth how much he loves me too.
We may not get to spend much time together, but making the most of the moments you do have together is what matters most.