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Marriage Gets the Scraps

Do you find that most of your time and energy get consumed by things or people other than your spouse?  If so, you’re not alone. Many of the couples I work with focus on work, children, activities, family, and/or friends instead of on their marriages.  We disregard the most important relationship we have sometimes without even realizing it.  Why?  Sometimes we take our partner for granted and assume they’ll always be there.  Other times, we assume that they need less of our love, attention, affection, and time which is the furthest from the truth.  Maybe we believe that our partner will understand and can get their needs met elsewhere.  Unfortunately, people do meet their needs in other places which can create significant conflict.  Sadly, many couples place their marriage at a low priority and the busyness of life only justifies their lack of connection.

Relationships often take a back seat to life demands and are undervalued.  In the quest for the good life, many people pursue power and control to achieve material success, but joy they seek doesn’t always follow achievement.  As Mother Teresa said, “Even the rich are hungry for love, for being cared for, for being wanted, for having someone to call their own.”   We all need connection, but also need to accept that effort is required to stay connected.  Relationships, like cars, require routine maintenance and when the service schedule is ignored damage results.  Ironically, the greatest source of happiness and belonging comes from healthy and meaningful relationships.

Time is your most valuable gift.  And time is what your spouse needs from you.  Relationships require spending time together.  So think about ways to spend time with your partner.  For me personally, going for a walk after dinner is a wonderful way to connect.  Some prefer biking or sitting out back on your patio.  Get away from electronics and focus on each other for a change.  Initiate a date night, connect through a phone call or text, but let your partner know that you value them both through actions and words.  Think presence, not presents.

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