Boundaries In Your Marriage – Part two: How You Spend Time Together

Time, time together, Boundaries, Marriage

The Importance of Boundaries Within Your Marriage – Part Two: How You Spend Time Together

This post is part two in a series of four. The first two posts focus on boundaries pertaining to interactions with your spouse. The last two will focus on boundaries pertaining to relationships and interactions outside of your marriage.

Time when you are together

Many of the couples I work with struggle in the area of quality time and connecting with each other. One spouse doesn’t feel like they connect enough and the other feels smothered or content or aloof. Or the view of quality time is very different between spouses. Watching a movie together may be great for one spouse but leaves the other spouse feeling a lot left to be desired.

If these disjointed, disconnected and unsatisfied feelings take place for too long then the marriage starts to suffer.

Prior to marriage, our fantasies and ideals pertaining to life as a married couple usually surrounds lazy weekends and adventures together.

Fast forward a couple kids, full-time jobs, upkeep on the house, chores, extra-curricular activities, volunteering, etc. The list really does go on and on. Those fantasies, if not addressed, can start to cause resentment and bitterness in your marriage.

The point of this series is to help couples have the conversation about boundaries and establish their comfort levels. As well as areas where they need to come together and/or grow.

So let’s look at the different ways couples connect together and the potential questions to work through.

Together at home

  • What is your definition of “quality time”?
  • Are there activities at home you would like to complete with your spouse? How about alone?
  • What is your expectation of morning interactions prior to work?
  • Name activities you would prefer to not be interrupted in. (Prayer time, bible reading, reading, working out, work shop projects, audio books/podcasts, etc.)
  • How would you like to be greeted upon coming home at the end of the day?
  • What is your expectation surrounding dinner together?
  • How do you prefer to spend time together after children go to bed?
  • Do you expect your spouse to go to bed at the same time as you?
  • When and how frequently would you like to have sex?

Together in public

  • When in a store together are you okay with splitting up?
  • How about at a work gathering? A friend get-together? A family function?
  • What is your comfort level with cell phone use when you are alone together? (date or out to dinner)

Connecting when you are apart

In our current age of technological advances we can stay connected with our spouse at anytime of the day no matter where they are. That ability has also lead to difficulties for many of the couples I work with.

Some spouses would preferred to check-in throughout the day while their spouse may see this as a nuance and/or unnecessary. Spouses may also have different expectations on the amount of time it takes for text messages to be returned.

When not discussed and agreed upon, these electronic devices can leave spouses feeling rejected and/or not cared about.

During a workday

  • What form of communication throughout the day are you okay with? (phone call, voice mail, text, email, etc.)
  • Are there certain topics that you feel should be designated to certain forms of communication?
  • How often are you okay with communication and check-ins during the workday?
  • What is your understanding on how quick or when your spouse responds?

When out with friends for an evening or get-together

  • What do you feel the reasons the spouse at home should contact you when you are with friends?
  • What is your communication expectation of your spouse when they are out with their friends?

Away on a trip

  • How often are you wanting or expecting your spouse to connect with you while they are away?
  • How often are you okay with communication and check-ins during your trip?
  • What is your understanding on how quick or when your spouse responds?

 


I pray this post guides conversations between you and your spouse to set boundaries to encourage a loving and healthy marriage.

Boundaries Within Your Marriage

Part One: How You Interact With Each Other

Part Two: How You Spend Time Together

Part Three: Who Else You Spend Time With

Part Four: What You Share With Your Friends

God bless!

Melissa

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About Melissa

Melissa is a Christian mental health therapist, wife and mommy of two. She works with children, teens, adults, and couples to better manage their distress and hopefully become closer to God in the process.

34 comments on “Boundaries In Your Marriage – Part two: How You Spend Time Together

  1. These are such helpful insights and suggestions to help us connect in more meaningful ways with our spouses. Reading all your ideas made me think of my own marriage and the quality time we spend together and how I can improve our communication.

    Thank you for this!

    • My pleasure. Some of these questions are things we just do without ever really checking in with our spouse to see if we are on the same page. My hope is that this provides the opportunity for greater intentional interactions and communication. Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. God bless!

    • Thank you Heather! I try to break issues down into bite-sized manageable and actionable steps for people to be more successful. Thank you for stopping by and commenting! God bless!

    • Yes, if we just assume the status quo is working we may miss out on improving aspects of the marriage. Thank you for stopping by and commenting! God bless!

  2. My husband and I had to really spell out what we like to do and make concrete plans to do those things. Now that we are empty nesters, I’m looking forward to lots of quality time!

    • Not that I want to wish my children older but I am looking forward to the day when my husband and I can have uninterrupted conversations!

  3. As I was reading these lists of considerations, I thought, “No wonder the first year has a reputation for being so tough….. and then when kids come it can be tough again!” Your experience and insight shared here will help those who read! Keep up the awesome work Melissa!!

    • These are absolutely conversations best had before marriage but not often had. Thank you for your kind words and support! God bless!

    • I’m glad you have found them beneficial. Some of these questions can seem small and insignificant but added together it can become issues. Thank you for stopping by and commenting! God bless!

    • My husband and I try to delegate time for both. After the kids go to bed we will usually watch one show just to decompress and then we spend the rest of the time before bed talking. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. God bless!

  4. Melissa, these are really good things to think about. When my husband and I were first married, I was in the classroom teaching and he was out where he couldn’t stop to call unless it was an emergency, so we never felt the need to check on each other. I think because of that, it’s a habit we don’t have unless it’s important.

    • As a therapist I’m not able to be interrupted. My husband may email me something more so he doesn’t forget to tell me about it later. But he fully understands that I may not even see it until after I get home. Thank you for sharing what has worked for you and your husband. God bless!

  5. Ooooh, yay! Part Two! I will say my hubby and I spend a lot of time together. I tend to be a homebody, and we have found some common interests that we enjoy doing together. We work extremely well together, so completing any project is fulfilling! This is learned, however. Once we had learned each other’s personalities (over the course of 7 years), we started understanding how to make them work together! Thank you for giving us some examples of how to spend time together, even we are apart. That’s the one thing I don’t know how to do very well. We do randomly send silly “gifs” to one another sometimes. It’s fun and a way to connect during the work day! <3

    • That’s awesome that you guys work so well together! My husband and I know what activities and projects we do well together and what areas we are more independent. I’m thankful that we know and understand that the independent times are not negative or rejection but that takes maturity that came with time! Thank you for sharing your thoughts! God bless!

  6. I really like your encouragement to set specific goals, boundaries & to understand e/I’d expectations. Communication can help avoid SO many problems in marriage! I would like to talk to my hubby about some of these to see if we’re on the same page! Looking forward to the rest of your series!

    • Thank you Amanda! You’re right, when couples are willing to have the conversations ahead of time it can help many unnecessary arguments in the future. Thank you for stopping by and commenting! I hope you enjoy part three and four! God bless!

    • Thank you Heidi! My hope is that I can help couples start conversations now to reduce arguments later. Thank you for reading and commenting! God bless!

  7. Hi! I think the problems I had with your site earlier may have been because I was using my phone. I love how you’re using your professional knowledge to help couples through these posts. We need to understand our spouses better so that we know how to set boundaries without hurting them and these questions that you ask can definitely improve the dynamic of our relationships in that respect. Thank you.

    • Thank you Edith! These questions may not seem that significant individually however if multiple areas are not addressed it can cause rifts in the marriage. Thank you for stopping by and commenting! God bless!

    • That’s so good that you guys took the time to talk through the differences so that you know each other’s thoughts and ideas. I pray that more couples would be willing to have these types of conversations. Thank you for stopping by and sharing your insights. God bless!

  8. Wow these are great questions. I never would have thought to talk through these things. I’m sure that doing so will really help us grow in connecting. Thank you! I look forward to using these.
    (And that is coming from someone who finds most articles on marriage to be pretty unhelpful or overly simplistic.)

    • I’m so glad you found the post beneficial, Stephanie! God can use other people’s struggles to guide many more away from the same issues. Thank you for stopping by and showing your support! God bless!

  9. I really love the thoughtful questions you posed – in this post and the first in this series. I’m amazed at how much communication has changed between us in the years since we have added children to our family, and your posts have encouraged me to dialogue with him about our communication. Thanks for this!

    • I’m so glad the posts have been encouraging to you. Life happens and changes so it’s always important to stay up to date with our spouses on how things are going and ways to stay connected. Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. God bless!

  10. We are just now in the process of redefining quality time in our house. Now that the kids are a tiny bit older we have the possibility of date nights and lunches out and trips together and remembering who we were before we were “mom” and “dad”. It’s been lovely. Disorienting too, but also lovely.

    • It’s such a good thing that you and your husband are taking the time to redefine your boundaries in each new phase of life. Thank you for stopping by and sharing your experience. God bless!

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