We know from experience how hectic and busy schedules can not only put a strain on your physical and emotional state, but it can also stress your marriage and your partner. My husband is a full time MBA student who also works part time in varying internships. I have a full time job. On top of that, we are bloggers (obviously!) and volunteer regularly at our local church. We’ve learned a lot about how to organize our days to better optimize our time spent together. Here’s how we do it:
1. Make Time for Each Other
Being intentional with each other on a busy schedule is the key to a healthy relationship during time of extreme stress and busy schedules. Being intentional with your actual time is part of that as well. As weird and Type A as it sounds, looking at your schedules and finding gaps of free time can open the doors to quality time spent together. Remember, you’re not roommates, you’re married!
For example, my husband goes to school at night. I work during the day. A couple of weeks into this schedule, we realized we were passing ships in the night and we had to do something about it. We took a hard look at our schedules and realized that if Eric shifted his homework to the mid afternoon and we both woke up together two hours earlier than we normally did in the mornings, we’d get some quality time together.
Before you complain you are a not a morning person, I’m not a morning person either but the sacrifice is worth it for a happy, healthy marriage. Every morning we wake up at 6:00 am, get ready (gives me a chance to fully wake up and not be a morning grouch), talk and enjoy a big breakfast together. Doing this has helped prevent the roommate syndrome in our marriage and start our mornings off on a high note.
2. Be Thoughtful
Along with being intentional with your time, it’s also important to be consistently intentional with your thoughts. This one is very easy to implement and just takes a couple of minutes per day. Do small favors for your spouse that you know they would appreciate, send sweet text messages and surprise them with chocolate or other treats they enjoy.
As we’ve mention in past posts, we are also fans of The Five Love Languages. I personally love words of affirmation and my husband loves quality time with each other. He intentionally sends me sweet text massages. When we’re together, he is consciously engaged in conversation and affirms me with his caring words. On the other hand, I make time to spend quality time with my husband by calling him on his commute to and from school and like I mentioned in the first point, getting up earlier than usual in the mornings to spend time with him.
3. Schedule a Date Night
The week can fly by and before you know it, you’ve skipped a date night. We have date night once a week and that has really kept the romance in our marriage. Choose a day once a week that you can schedule a large block of time to have a little fun and romance with each other. It also helps to schedule it on the same night every week to help you stay consistent and not forget.
Keep in mind that not all date nights have to become a stressful event to plan. Every once and while, we have one of those nights we grab a Redbox and order in dinner to give ourselves a break. Don’t make it a habit to do that every date night, but it is nice to relax when it’s needed.
4. Put down the phone!
I cannot stress this enough! There have been so many times we’ve gone out and seen couples on their phones rather than engaging with each other. The phone can wait until you’re not around your partner. It’s an attention and a time sucker, so put it down when you’re together.
5. Be patient
Don’t complain about you husband or wife’s schedule. Yes, you know each others schedule sucks but don’t spend time dwelling on negative thoughts and the stress of busy or different schedules. But that doesn’t mean you need to repeatedly vocalize it! Remember that whoever has the odd schedule is often times trying to make a sacrifice to help provide. Respect that and build up your spouse with words of support rather than nit picking at the situation.
6. Maintain a Prayer Life Together
If you’re spiritual and religious, this is a great way to stay in unity with each other and demolish stress. We are personally Christian and we try to pray once a day – usually before bed or after breakfast. We’ve watched prayer establish unity between us plus a boosted faith that God will work everything out for good. We’ve even learned to communicate with each other better as we pray for each others hopes and dreams, and are vulnerable and open with each other when one of us needs prayer for a specific hurdle we’re facing.
We also admit that there will be a week or so that goes by and we’ve forgotten to pray. Let’s be honest, if you’re in a busy season, it’s easy to happen! We find that we get agitated, stressed and tired. Then we realize that we haven’t prayed in a week and as soon as we do, our faith is built up and the tension is gone.
7. Be the Dream Team
Divvying up daily tasks and chores around the house can help you manage your time and even expectations when living together. Find a way to not just split the chores by an even amount but also by how long the chores take to complete.
As I mentioned, my husband not only has full time school and homework, but he helps with the blog, has an internship and volunteers weekly at our local church. For me, I volunteer with him at church, also work on the blog and have a full time job. However, because I don’t have the extra workload of hours of homework, I’ve taken some weekly chores off of his plate plus I do the meal planning and creating meals in bulk. Now we’re carrying an equal amount of work.
8. Surprise Them with a Vacation Day
Take one day off at work that your spouse usually has off. I’ll sometimes surprise my husband and we’ll have a lazy day around the house or I’ll give him a few days notice and we’ll plan a day trip. This is so much fun and it feels like playing hooky so it adds a little excitement to the day.
9. Learn How to Say No
Say no to competing interests outside of your marriage. Your time is a precious commodity and it is very valuable in knowing what to invest in with your time. You only have so many hours in a day and there’s a reason why you get paid for your time!
With this in mind, keep a watchful eye on tasks, amount of time watching TV or being on your phone, or people who demand an unhealthy amount of time from you. Recognize which are healthy, which are not and which are affecting your marriage. From there, (kindly if it’s a person) just say no! 99% of the time, people will understand as they’ve experienced the same thing you are going through. You will feel like a weight has been lifted off of your shoulders once you start applying this to your life and you will have more time for a healthy marriage.
10. Everything is Seasonal
Remember that everything has a season. This busy season in life is not going to last forever. The kids will get older, jobs come and go, and so will the busy, stressful schedules. There are always ebbs and flows with busyness. In the meantime, keep your chin up and keep moving forward. Hopefully some of these points will help you balance it all.
Do you have any ways that you and your spouse manage stress and busy schedules? Let us know!