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MAKE TIME FOR HIM/HER

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 MARRIAGE is work and if it will be both successful and fulfilling, it needs husbands and wives to be intentional about spending time together. It is easy to be caught-up in the daily hustle and grind of life that we neglect prioritizing the important people in our lives.

Even in Eswatini, far too many married couples are living in the fast lane and often do not make time to off-ramp and reconnect with each other.
Making time for your spouse is one of the highest levels of communicating love to him/her. In essence, you are saying I still choose you and I am willing to put on hold everything else and focus my attention on you.

There is no greater gift that you can offer your spouse than your total self. Hence my charge to you is to make the most of the time that God has given you together here on earth.


Block


I am aware that it is possible to block time to be with each other and still fail to connect. This can be a result of a number of factors; including not being intentional about this sacred time together as husband and wife.

First of all, the location is as important as the blocked time – find a common place of interest which has limited distractions, the quieter the place the better. Remember, here we are looking for a location that will help you focus on each other and connect no matter how short or long that time is. For those who habitually block time for each other, location is no longer an issue as they can easily switch off from imminent distractions and connect with each other.

At times the location is fantastic but the couples themselves are too absorbed in their smartphones.
Today, it is so common to find a couple sitting together but each busy with his/her phone, connecting with the virtual community. So serious is the smartphone addiction that a recent study in America showed that one in three Americans would rather give up sex for three months than give up their smartphones for a week.

This is an alarming number, bearing in mind how desirable sex was considered to be a few decades ago. It is said smartphones and sex release the same ‘happy chemicals’ in our brains. Every time you get a text or social media notification, a small dose of dopamine comes out.


Intimacy


You get a much larger dose from intimacy, but the small doses throughout the day are supposedly enough to satisfy your needs. It may get to a point where you are more focused on chasing the ‘high’ from your smartphone than you are in building a strong connection with your spouse. Clearly, smartphones can have an undesirable consequence in marriages and are to be used with caution.


If you spend most of your time together constantly on your phones, the signal you are sending is - you are not interested in the here and now. You would rather talk to friends or check posts on social media than watch a movie or have a conversation with your spouse. That can do significant damage to your spouse’s self-esteem, and it can create a wedge between the two of you. The truth is, during your time out together, smartphones do not enhance conversation but rather stifle it because you cannot truly listen when you are on your phone.


Listening is a very important component of conversation because it allows you to understand your spouse’s perspective. Your focus is entirely on your spouse when you are not on the phone, so your brain is not trying to process two sets of information simultaneously.


My advice to you is that be deliberate and either you switch it off entirely or you put it on silence, your spouse deserves your full attention and should not be subjected to compete with your smartphone.

Set your own rules and stick to those rules in your time out together – by doing so you are both respecting and protecting that quality time together. I also want to sound a caution that, couples should not use this time as a courtroom to resolve conflicts, this should be a time of connecting and making lifelong memories.


Conflicts


Conflicts in marriage are inevitable and cannot be prayed or wished away - hence when they come, resolve them quickly lest they suffocate your relationship. Genuinely resolve conflicts and where there is an error, forgive each other sincerely and move on. If there is unforgiveness or lack of humility from the spouse at fault, it can negatively impact time together.


Spending quality time together enhances a deep emotional connection, where each spouse can freely expose his or her vulnerabilities without feeling shame. This time spent together also helps the two to share life aspirations and gain support as well as encouragement from each other. Not only will you know or think you are loved, but you will feel the warmth of the love of your spouse when you habitually block time for each other.

Usually, the challenge for married couples is to get out of the routine that they have fallen into and put in some effort to make their lives together more fun and joyful.

The best relationships require effort from both individuals. If you do not have your next timeout together planned, go ahead and do it. After all it is not really a luxury, but a necessity for a happy and life-affirming relationship. God bless you. Send comments to adminsec@mbac.co.sz

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