Lots of people have an idea that it’s important to schedule couple time into their busy lives. Which is great. If you’re a busy person and something is important to you, it should be in your diary.
But often there is confusion about what the time is for.
To my mind, there are three key categories of communication that couples need to put time into:
- PRAGMATICS AND LOGISTICS
Coordinating the functioning of the household and family. Dividing up the tasks that need to be done and making sure you both know who is doing what and when.
Taking the time to enjoy being in a relationship – relaxing together, doing mutually enjoyable activities, focusing on the positives. Usually means avoiding difficult topics and conflicts, keeping things reasonably superficial and comfortable. The pay-off or reward for doing all the work involved in being in a long-term, intimate relationship. This is usually what people mean when they suggest a “date night”.
Having the vulnerable and often difficult conversations and interactions that allow you to connect on a deep level. Needs to include dealing with differences (i.e. healthy conflict) as well as talking about aspirations, hopes and dreams, fears, doubts and insecurities. Not always comfortable, but when done productively makes closeness feel easy and real (when not attended to, closeness feels forced and fragile)
(For most of us our sexual relationship moves between 1, 2 & 3 at different times – part of the reason I suggest avoiding using “intimacy” as a euphemism for sex.)
SO, by all means, plan some couple time – but make sure that you are A) covering all bases of what your relationship needs and B) that you are on the same page about what category any given appointment is for.