The daily hustle and bustle of life is enough to make your head spin. Between work duties, obligations at home, and the unexpected, it can be hard to grab a free moment. However, when you’re in a long-term relationship it’s important to spend quality time with your partner, as this shows love and care. When you make an effort to sacrifice your time, which is a limited resource, it speaks volumes.
First of all, know there’s a difference between making time and finding time for your partner. When you find time, you’re merely squeezing in time for your partner wherever he or she fits in your schedule. You operate with a “get in where you fit in” mentality. A relationship that functions this way rarely lasts long. On the other hand, when you make time for your partner, thought and effort is put into making plans. You rearrange your schedule, if necessary, and you’ll do whatever it takes to see your partner. In short, you’ll have a successful relationship.
To learn more about this important distinction, The Cheat Sheet had a conversation with Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. (aka Dr. Romance), psychotherapist and author of How to be Happy Partners. Tessina took a moment to elaborate on the importance of making time for a partner and how it is the key to building a lasting relationship.
The Cheat Sheet: How would you describe the difference between making time versus finding time to be with your partner?
Tina B. Tessina: Making time implies a sense of purpose. It demonstrates that your partner is important enough to you that you’ll make an effort to find time to be together. Finding time is fine, it just implies that if it’s easy, you’ll do it.
CS: What are some things couples can do can do to make each other feel valued and appreciated?
TT: The three most important words in a relationship are “tell me more.” In other words, learn to listen to what your partner says. When you do, your partner will feel loved. Keep in mind what’s going on in your partner’s day, and ask about it. For example, you could say, “Hey, sweetie, I remember you were going to give that presentation today; how did it go?” or, “How’s your sister? I know she wasn’t feeling well.” It lets your partner know you’re thinking about him or her.
CS: What should you say to your partner if you feel he or she doesn’t make enough time for you?
TT: Say, “I miss you. Remember when we [did that activity]? Can we do that again?”
CS: Why is it important to make time for your partner?
TT: It feeds both of you and the relationship. Regard your time together as sacred (it is — it will bless your relationship). Touch as often as possible (put your hand on your spouse’s leg while driving; give him or her a little squeeze now and then; hug and kiss each other). Create a cuddling space in front of the television, on the porch swing, or in your bedroom, and use it. Intimacy is the art of making your partner feel understood and accepted, which breaks through barriers. Gentle touch, eye contact, a shared sense of humor, and loving words all create an intimate atmosphere.
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