With the glorious exception of getting your hair done, having an appointment usually means you are in for something less than fun like visiting the doctor or the Department of Motor Vehicles. So when I heard a relationship expert suggest not long ago that married couples make “appointments” to spend time together, I almost rolled my eyes.
“Yeah, that’s exactly what I want to do,” I thought. “Associate standing in line to pay my car’s registration with hanging out with my husband.”
Lately, however, I’ve begun to think it isn’t such a silly idea after all.
When my husband, Mike, and I first got married I would have found this appointment business even more ridiculous. That’s because back then we had lots of time for each other. In fact, pretty much every minute we spent together was a minute we spent focusing on each other. In those days there was no more a need to make an appointment with each other than there was to make an appointment to breath.
But as we got older and our lives became more complicated spending time together – time where we really focused on each other and nothing else – became harder and harder. Not only do we now have more financial responsibility than when we were younger, but we’ve had kids, and, well, kids take up a lot of time. As a result, far too many of our conversations have revolved around paying the bills, raising our daughters, cleaning the house, and other joys of domesticity.
Recently Mike and I had a heart-to-heart and expressed to each other how much we missed our time together, and that we wanted to be more than just partners in parenting or in balancing our checkbook. After all, this family began because we enjoyed spending time together, and it is important that we feed that part of our family too. So we decided to make appointments to spend time together. Next week, for example, we have an appointment to go to dinner without our daughter, just us. We’ve also made simpler appointments, such as a daily one to spend twenty minutes chatting after Annie goes to sleep without distractions like the TV or our computers.
Part of me still thinks making appointments to spend time with your spouse is silly, but if it takes being a little silly to keep our marriage healthy I’m all for it. Besides, “silly” isn’t something Mike and I have ever shied away from: