About a year ago I was sipping wine with a friend and we were gossiping about mutual friends and their relationships. We were comparing the differences in happiness levels between couples who spent a lot of time together and those that seem to have very individual social lives.
I said that I find it bizarre when couples do not spend a lot of social time together but she said that she thought it was perfectly normal because men do not enjoy leisurely chats over glasses of wine or coffee with bites of dessert. We chalked our different opinions to differences in up-bringing and moved in to other topics.
I had forgotten about this conversation until I was my sister’s maid of honour this past Saturday (she made the most beautiful bride I have ever seen).
Anyway, in his sermon during the ceremony, the pastor stressed the importance of guarding your union jealously and he said that one key way of doing this is spending time together.
He advised that the newly married couple find an activity or hobby that they pursue together – book reading, movie watching, travelling, exercising, cooking or wine collecting… whatever their interest.
This, he said, would ensure that they spent couples time together and had a fun thing to talk about even when life got in the way with money, family or career challenges.
My friend and the pastor had a point. You do not tend to see couples who have been married for over five years out eating lunch, dinner or drinking together. With time, marital couple’s time seems to disappear into single sentence conversations in front of the TV and into master bedrooms.
I also think I had a point. I grew up within a marriage where my parents spent a lot of time together. They laughed, argued, fought, played squashed and dreamt of what they wanted to build and achieve together.
It is important that you like your spouse because then you will make time to spend with them. I think time spent with your partner feeds your affection and attachment to them so that even if you are fighting and disagreeing, you have to resolve your conflict otherwise you won’t have your best friend to talk to later when you want to share a joke, a drink or a story from your day.
As kikuyus say ‘ndugu ni makinya’ which literally translates into ‘friendship is steps’ meaning that to build a friendship you have to take steps toward each other.
Couples who spend time together are also less likely to cheat because opportunities for infidelity are few and far between. But let’s be clear, I am not advocating couples time so that you can police your partner and their sexual urges.
If you are dating and considering marriage, I urge you to choose someone who you enjoy spending time with; and if you are already married then cultivate more couple’s time. It will change the tone and texture of your relationship.