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Do you intentionally invest relationship time into your marriage? Does your spouse?


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I'm probably not the first person to browse through Marriage Builders and find this "Undivided Attention" thing that dude recommends. In one sense, I agree with him that humans are more likely to feel love for another person when they are spending direct time together without interruptions. It is actually something I recommend for keeping kids "on your side" as parents.

 

However, this 15-20 hours of devoted time that author is recommending? I can't see that happening. I can improve this part of my marriage, but we're talking by a few intentional hours per week, like if I made plans to go Kayaking together, or to dinner. I do think I want to do that; we don't spend much time paying attention to each other like this.

 

If it was much more than that, though, he would definitely think I was being weird. (One of the reasons I picked him to begin with is that he wasn't "needy" like some other guys I dated. He didn't have to stare into my eyeballs for hours a day to feel assured of my love.)

 

I really just want to boost our togetherness factor without being all Counseling Session about it. I find that I don't like much about the MB program, at least from what I see from the on-line forum. I'm looking for ways to strengthen our marriage without behaving like it's some giant thing, KWIM?

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We purposely spend time together. We date once a week if we can, and set aside an hour or so each day for hanging out. It's not perfect but I've noticed we really need to recharge time to not get I snippy with each other. Regular 'recreational' time is hugely important for keeping our marriage healthy, too.

 

I am fairly unfamiliar with marriage builders, but these are what I have found from trial and error. I'd generally say we have a solid, happy, fulfilling marriage with the occasional temper tantrum when we get too stressed ;)

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We don't do a good job of spending regular time focused on each other. My husband works a lot, and when he's home I'm usually so tired and "peopled out" just from spending time with my daughter (I'm an extreme introvert) that I just want to be alone. It's something I'd like to work on, but I don't see it happening unless we somehow carved out time in the schedule for me to be completely alone as well as time for us to be alone together.

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I'm probably not the first person to browse through Marriage Builders and find this "Undivided Attention" thing that dude recommends. In one sense, I agree with him that humans are more likely to feel love for another person when they are spending direct time together without interruptions. It is actually something I recommend for keeping kids "on your side" as parents.

 

However, this 15-20 hours of devoted time that author is recommending? I can't see that happening. I can improve this part of my marriage, but we're talking by a few intentional hours per week, like if I made plans to go Kayaking together, or to dinner. I do think I want to do that; we don't spend much time paying attention to each other like this.

 

If it was much more than that, though, he would definitely think I was being weird. (One of the reasons I picked him to begin with is that he wasn't "needy" like some other guys I dated. He didn't have to stare into my eyeballs for hours a day to feel assured of my love.)

 

I really just want to boost our togetherness factor without being all Counseling Session about it. I find that I don't like much about the MB program, at least from what I see from the on-line forum. I'm looking for ways to strengthen our marriage without behaving like it's some giant thing, KWIM?

Um, no? 

 

We just get along, and have fun whenever we are together.  I guess I don't think of it as intentional. 

 

Not needy and he isn't needy either.  We do laugh a lot though because we each think the other is funny.  So we can have fun in line at the bank, watching TV, anything. 

 

Ha ha...I like the way you say "without being all Counseling Session about it".  ;) 

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15-20 devoted hours? Maybe over a couple of months... 

 

This is going to sound horrible, but I use a checklist system for organizing tasks, including my work, exercise, the kids lessons, etc. For "spending time with my spouse" I allocate 20 minutes a day and let it accumulate. When it tops 2 hours, I know I need to spend time with him even if I just really don't feel like it. We reap what we sow, and when our kids are independent with their own families (best case scenario, lol), my husband will still be there (best case scenario again :p). I hope he still likes me! 

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I value being able to spend time with dh, but I'm not a fan of the undivided attention thing as I'm reading about it on MB (which I've never looked at before now). I want to go out and explore a new place, or do an Arabic lesson together, or sit in the same room while we're each working on our own project and that doesn't count for the undivided attention people.  I would go crazy if we had to spend 15 hours a week together giving each other our entire attention, even if it were possible, which I don't think it is for most couples who have a million things going on.  Dh and I do spend a lot of time together and we both like it, but hardly any of it would meet MB's standard.

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15-20 hours a week of undivided attention would drive me bonkers and completely destroy my marriage.

 

I don't want anyone paying that much attention to me, nor do I want to pay that much attention to anyone else without some other interesting activity involved!

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There is no way I would be at all pleased with dh spending 15-20 hours of undivided attention with my spouse. Just no.

Admittedly, this is an aspect of my marriage that I have been falling down on this past year and one I need to get back on track. I am just burnt out from being his caretaker. I need a respite. I don't have the energy to engage in undivided attention that is not about his illness. At the same time I know I it would be good for us.

Even looking at this from before he was ill you are looking at 2 hours per day to meet 14 hours per week. With both of us working full time when the kids were babies and toddlers that time would only be after 9pm. By that point I just wanted to be in my pajamas and under the covers and veg because I would have to be up at 6 am to start my day. By 9pm I was fried and assuming dh was home from work, so was he. Agreeing on a tv show was about as undivided as we got.

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15-20 devoted hours? Maybe over a couple of months...

 

This is going to sound horrible, but I use a checklist system for organizing tasks, including my work, exercise, the kids lessons, etc. For "spending time with my spouse" I allocate 20 minutes a day and let it accumulate. When it tops 2 hours, I know I need to spend time with him even if I just really don't feel like it. We reap what we sow, and when our kids are independent with their own families (best case scenario, lol), my husband will still be there (best case scenario again :p). I hope he still likes me!

It doesn't sound horrible to me! I like structured things I can account for and honestly I like the way this works for me. When you say you "let it accummulate," do you mean on some type of Task Minder? Is there an app for that?:D

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We spend 30 minutes a day roughly of undivided attention. Not because we feel we should but because we want to. 15 hours would be way too much. We do spend roughly 2 hours a day doing things we enjoy together, board games, watching shows, TeA,etc.

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My dh and I devote a lot of time to each other, not because we feel we have to, but just because we are best friends and enjoy each other's company. After we get the kids down to bed is our us time, and I actively try to get any other tasks I need to do completed before then so we can just spend time together. Of course, there are times when one or the other of us is just all "peopled" out, and our us time involves cuddling up on the couch together while quietly reading separate books. It's our favorite time of day.

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I much prefer the 5 Love Languages concept.  For someone who is the type of quality time that feels love from undivided attention that would be fabulous.  For the rest of us, it wouldn't help.  I am words of affirmation and my husband is acts of service.  We make sure to fill each others love tanks the way the other feels love.  Both of us have the secondary love language of quality time, but it is not focused attention.  It's just being near each other.  We feel like we are totally spending great time together if we are in the same room doing our own thing, maybe speaking to each other every so often or touching each other every so often.  Focused time would drive us crazy.  It's all about making sure the other feels the love you are giving them.

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I can think of no one on this planet I want to give 15-20 hours of undivided time to, and no one I would want 15-20 hours of undivided time from.

 

I hope that is not weird. :leaving:

Not weird. And really, who can do that?? Retired couples with no kids are the only people I can think of. Stupid advice.

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Ours happens naturally. We walk every evening for an hour which gives us uninterrupted time for talking, and we go hiking together on weekends. So, that's maybe 10 hours each week. Not 20.

When the kids were little, we obviously could not make time for this much one-on-one time. All things have a season. We tried to have lunch together most weekdays during our lunch break.

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I much prefer the 5 Love Languages concept.  For someone who is the type of quality time that feels love from undivided attention that would be fabulous.  For the rest of us, it wouldn't help.  I am words of affirmation and my husband is acts of service.  We make sure to fill each others love tanks the way the other feels love.  Both of us have the secondary love language of quality time, but it is not focused attention.  It's just being near each other.  We feel like we are totally spending great time together if we are in the same room doing our own thing, maybe speaking to each other every so often or touching each other every so often.  Focused time would drive us crazy.  It's all about making sure the other feels the love you are giving them.

 

:iagree: :iagree: :iagree:

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When our kids were babies and little, we had very little intentional time together. I think those were our marriage endured the most stress in those years, but also because of lean finances, learning to live together, job stresses. When ds was old enough to babysit, we had a set date night. It was awesome Best thing we ever did. I looked forward to getting out of the house and having adult conversation, he looked forward to . . . me. :) 

 

But we never had anywhere near 15 hours of intentional time together. He traveled for work, we had 7 kids that were busy with activities, we had other friends we wanted to get together with, a house to manage. I think 15 hours of undivided, intentional time would be on the extreme end of marriages that I know of (my family and friends). 

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Without looking at the MB's article, I am wondering if this is their recommendation if your marriage is in need of re-building?

It appears from the site that 15 hours/week is considered "Basic maintenance", i.e., everyone should do this; 20 hours is "ER"; what you do when one spouse has said they want out.

 

A clarification in general: the hours they are talking about could be spent doing something together, i.e., fishing, shopping, excercising, whatever, but it definitely means that this is time that you are together alone without kids, friends, etc. TeA can be part of those hours, too. Still, I'm not brewing tea for 15 hours a week. ;)

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I hate, hate, hate "marriage advice" blogs, seminars, whatever......we will never fit in to that romantic ideal that is set.

 

We both are realists.  Romance is DH making sure the oil is changed in my car before I go on a trip.  It is me making sure his children are still alive by the end of the day.

 

We love each other, we don't need some arbitrary time set, official "date nights" or whatever.  We like to be together when we are together, but it often involves children.  We also like different things and can go our separate ways when wanted (we do NOT like the same TV shows and rarely watch TV together for example.)

 

We have been married 20 years.  Our system works.

 

The end.

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I don't get hung up on how many hours.  That seems like broad advice because that is going to depend on so many factors.  My husband and I do spend a lot of time together.  In particular we are both into card games, board games, and anything musically related.  We don't go out much, but that suits us.  So yes I guess we do take the time.  But it varies.  Some weeks we don't have a lot of time.  Some we have a lot of time.  I don't like the idea of finding something that feels forced.  Although maybe sometimes ya gotta start with something if you feel like stuff isn't the way you need/want it to be.

 

Marriage advice blogs, etc grate on me too.  There is no one size fits all because people aren't all the same. 

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Without looking at the MB's article, I am wondering if this is their recommendation if your marriage is in need of re-building?

From what I remember ( I got banned) it is 20 hours a week if your marriage is in trouble. 15 just to maintain. And most of that, according to them, is suppose to be spent outside the house, so if you have small children you are suppose to get a sitter.

 

I do like a lot about Harley's ideas...the board.....not so much.

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From what I remember ( I got banned) it is 20 hours a week if your marriage is in trouble. 15 just to maintain. And most of that, according to them, is suppose to be spent outside the house, so if you have small children you are suppose to get a sitter.

 

I do like a lot about Harley's ideas...the board.....not so much.

 

And what, pray tell, does he recommend to do when a young couple can't afford a sitter and has no family around?  Adding financial issues to an already teetering relationship will do nothing but harm it even more.

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From what I remember ( I got banned) it is 20 hours a week if your marriage is in trouble. 15 just to maintain. And most of that, according to them, is suppose to be spent outside the house, so if you have small children you are suppose to get a sitter.

 

I do like a lot about Harley's ideas...the board.....not so much.

 

Right and that would stress me out to hell.  I don't even know where we would go for that many hours a week.  The library?  A bookstore?  I mean where?!  I don't have money to go to Broadway shows three times a week. 

 

Then again my marriage isn't in trouble so...

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I can't really picture this.  I spend at least part of most evenings with dh, but we'often have kids around.  We go out sometimes together, maybe a little less than once a month, but not always alone.

 

I think that sounds like a lot of time.  Dh and i actually have somewhat different interests and our closest friends aren't the same either, so I'm more often trying to figure out time without dh.  It isn't that i dislike him, but he isn't my only interest. 

 

I'm not actually a big fan of the idea that marriage under normal circumstances needs so much coddling.  It seems sometimes like people are looking for too much from one relationship.

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Yeah where does this leave family time?  So you are all working or going about your day for 40-50 hours a week plus time to do all the mundane tasks of life.  Then you are supposed to go out together alone for 15-20 hours per week.  Probably someone out there thinks you surely must deserve/need a little time to yourself too.  And you do have to get some sleep.  So my goodness.  That's crazy talk.

 

I would hate my husband if he made me do that. LOL

 

 

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I dunno.  It could just be my experience and not indicative of a larger trend, but the worst marriages I've known, and the ones that seemed to crumble, have been the ones where the couple spent huge amounts of time together.  My best friend is going through something like that right now, and it's a really bad situation for both of them.  IMO they'd be much better off if they worked more on developing their own, separate interests rather than being so focused on each other.

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If we were away together for a weekend, but 15-20 in a regular week? Hahahahaha no. Who the heck would take care of the kids? We'd need a part time nanny for that. Or we would be sleeping 4 hours instead of 6. If we were independently wealthy, didn't need to work, do chores, or care for the kids? Sure!

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It appears from the site that 15 hours/week is considered "Basic maintenance", i.e., everyone should do this; 20 hours is "ER"; what you do when one spouse has said they want out.

 

A clarification in general: the hours they are talking about could be spent doing something together, i.e., fishing, shopping, excercising, whatever, but it definitely means that this is time that you are together alone without kids, friends, etc. TeA can be part of those hours, too. Still, I'm not brewing tea for 15 hours a week. ;)

Oh well then we most certainly spend that much time together per week. Pretty much the first 2 hours after the kids are in bed are spent doing something together.

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I'm a little confused about what counts as undivided attention. If it just means that we can't have anyone else around then we easily get to 15 hours most weeks.  If it means we're supposed to be paying attention to each other then it's a lot less than that.  I don't give dh undivided attention when we're off exploring any more than I do when we're watching a football game together or reviewing Arabic.

 

I vote that if you're in the same general vicinity and not dealing with children or home maintenance or problems and you're not actively annoyed with each other, then it counts as time spent together. :)

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You are also supposed to have 15 hours of family time.  So 168 hours minus 30 is still 138.  Subtract 50 hours for sleeping and 50 hours for a job and you still have 38 hours to call your own and to do errands and stuff.  He suggests sitting down on Sunday afternoon and scheduling  it out..  For us we get 4 or 5 hours on Thursday afternoon on our weekly date.  We have taken up bowling lately and it has been really fun and we laugh a lot.  We spent Sunday evenings together while the kids are at youth, normally at the house.  We also take walks on our property 3 or 4 times a week for 20-30 minutes.  Then you add in Tea time and it is probably close, but I don't write it all out.  

 

Yeah except I don't have that kind of energy or desire to do all of that.  This way of functioning would be crazy for me.  Again, this whole one size fits all thing.  No such thing.

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I'm not really sure that romantic love is really a great goal for a marriage TBH, and h say that as a person who is pretty susceptible to romanticism in the larger sense.  It happens for some people in the long term, I suppose because of their personalities, but I don't see how it is better or offers more or is stronger than other sorts of married love, and it has some downsides at least potentially - a bit like trying to maintain a romantic ideal of motherhood in the face of actually living out being a mother.

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Things got easier once our kids were grown and no longer needed us for every little thing. We do spend a lot of time together, sometimes doing our own thing just sitting together on the couch. We don't need time to stare into each others eyes and reassure one another of our love and gratitude. It is just present in our relationship. We do love to cuddle though. I even get into his lap sometimes to be silly. My kids laugh at us.

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We definitely steel time away to spend together but nothing like 15-20 hours per week. DH works more than 60 per week for one thing, and we have three teens with all of their activities plus 4-H volunteer work. I would say more like the last hour before bedtime since the boys stay up later. We try to go to bed, lay there and snuggle, talk, maybe watch a tv show together. A couple of times a month he takes me out to eat while the boys stay home.

 

I don't know anything about MB, but it would actually be stressful for us to try to carve out that time, and frankly, we only have a short time left with the boys, to lose more than half a day or a whole day (in terms of hours), every single week would not be optimal. Someday they will be gone and that time is coming quickly so we'll have our house to ourselves then. I am no fan of marriage advice that goes so heavily lopsided in the extreme of emphasizing the marriage over the family. Additionally, for parents of young ones, that just puts way too much pressure on them at a time when the last thing they need is more pressure.

 

One can make meaningful connections with one's spouse without that formula, but I do agree that sometimes it takes some serious intentionality to do so.

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It appears from the site that 15 hours/week is considered "Basic maintenance", i.e., everyone should do this; 20 hours is "ER"; what you do when one spouse has said they want out.

 

A clarification in general: the hours they are talking about could be spent doing something together, i.e., fishing, shopping, excercising, whatever, but it definitely means that this is time that you are together alone without kids, friends, etc. TeA can be part of those hours, too. Still, I'm not brewing tea for 15 hours a week. ;)

Where, exactly, do two people with young children find 15 hours a week when those kids are not around at all?

 

We spend a fair amount of time with each other. But honestly, we are both awake when the kids are asleep maybe 1 hour per day.

 

Weird advice.

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You are also supposed to have 15 hours of family time.  So 168 hours minus 30 is still 138.  Subtract 50 hours for sleeping and 50 hours for a job and you still have 38 hours to call your own and to do errands and stuff.  He suggests sitting down on Sunday afternoon and scheduling  it out..  For us we get 4 or 5 hours on Thursday afternoon on our weekly date.  We have taken up bowling lately and it has been really fun and we laugh a lot.  We spent Sunday evenings together while the kids are at youth, normally at the house.  We also take walks on our property 3 or 4 times a week for 20-30 minutes.  Then you add in Tea time and it is probably close, but I don't write it all out.  

 

 

What constitutes "family time?"  

 

Does sitting in a  church service count?  Does going to boy scouts together count?  Do all the hours on the road driving count?  Does sitting in a movie theater staring at a screen count?

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If the goal is to be in love in the twitterpated, obsessed way that people are early in a relationship, I really don't think that is a healthy or reasonable thing to aim for in the long run.

 

There are biological/chemical things going on in the brain when that happens that help people get together and commit to each other but that also interfere with normal functioning and are truly not sustainable long term.

 

I want to love my spouse, not spend my whole life in a state of twitterpation.

 

I do however believe that carving out some time together on a regular basis is important to a healthy relationship. That is hard at this stage in our life and something I need to prioritize more.

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Not exactly.  It is being curious and engaging in one another..  Typically, the hours will fuflill these basic needs: recreational companionship ( bowling, possibly working on a project hobby together if you both enjoy it, hiking, etc..)

Affection- Holding hands, giving a kiss on the cheek.  Flirting.  Yes, we have reintroduced flirting.

Intimate Conversation- This was the hardest for us...it took many months before I was used to talking to him that much

Sexual Fufillment

 

 

Those are typically the top needs: recreational companionship and sex for men and affection and conversaion for women.  That said, I have RC and SF as the higher  need.  My husband has affection and honesty as his top need, so for me the more honest I have been about how I am feeling, the better it has been.  As I said, those a general rules and I don't sit down and account for hours anymore.  We have our standing date and now that the kids are teens we get enough hours alone while they are out, even more now that we will only have one social butterfly next year.

 

Why is recreational companionship a need in a marriage?  What does that have to do, fundamentally, with marriage?

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And what, pray tell, does he recommend to do when a young couple can't afford a sitter and has no family around? Adding financial issues to an already teetering relationship will do nothing but harm it even more.

And couldn't even find a decent sitter if they had the money. My older son has ASD. It was truly difficult to find a decent babysitter once he hit a certain age even if I was paying $20 an hour. Most people just.can't.even.

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And couldn't even find a decent sitter if they had the money. My older son has ASD. It was truly difficult to find a decent babysitter once he hit a certain age even if I was paying $20 an hour. Most people just.can't.even.

 

I don't "like" this.  But yeah I did not have access to a good sitter that I trusted.  I'd have to call up a service and have some stranger come in.  I could not enjoy my date if that were the case.

 

And anyhow, I can find lots of stuff I thoroughly enjoy doing at home that does not also cost me an arm and a leg.

 

And I don't want to exchange babysitting with someone else because I don't like babysitting.

See I am just a completely difficult PITA.  YET I don't have problems with my marriage either.  If anything that's probably been the most consistent and pleasant aspect of my life EVER. 

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We intentionally spend a ton of time together. Our kids go to bed at 9pm every night, regardless of age to get us 1-2 hours together per day. We also try to do stuff alone on the weekends as often as possible. 15-20 hours per week of intentional time with my dh? Totally doable. ;)

 

Sent from my VS985 4G using Tapatalk

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