Men can have a very different view of spending quality time with you.
What’s more romantic and cozy than snuggling up on the couch with your honey and watching a show or a good movie together? You may think in the dating stage of your relationship, this is heavenly, but a few years into marriage may think, "Can't we do something else?'
In a recent excerpt from The Washington Post, a reader asks why her husband only wants to watch television instead of doing other things together ... anything else. It had now become a battle of wills: he won’t budge from the couch and she does chores while he watches sports. As a Christian relationship coach, it is my experience that couples who learn how to communicate with each other early in the relationship, establish a strong foundation of mutual love and true friendship will feel comfortable sharing their quality time preferences. In those early months, reflective couples will give their future spouses the owner’s manual of what makes then feel loved and appreciated; what to do when a quarrel happens; what buttons that when pushed make you dig in your heels; and what brings you joy.
Quality time is an important, vital aspect of building mutual trust. My advice for couples as a relationship coach is:
Check Your Attitude. You've married a man who loves football and knew this from date one. This is not a huge surprise now you are married and you know he starts counting down to next season after the Super Bowl. He is passionate about the game and you are tolerant or not interested. He does however, what to share this pastime and you’ve agreed ... reluctantly. This is his ideal of quality time. With attitude written all over you, you take your plop down on the couch with your honey with a heavy sigh as he flips from ESPN and Sports Center, getting the breaking news about the players around the league. He tries to share with you multiple football details but you react by rolling your eyes. You are there but not paying any attention, busying yourself with your phone to pass the time - until it’s your turn for quality time. He’s certainly not feeling the love from you and essentially you are setting the stage for resentment and bitterness to take root in the relationship. It is important to be genuinely interested and willing to learn about his passion. You want to set the standard for quality time by engaging. After all, it is no fun when you feel the one you love is tolerating you and looks down on the things that bring you joy.
Don't Manipulate. If the relationship to develop a huge imbalance, don't try to somehow even the playing field by denying your significant other the opportunity for shared quality time doing what he loves. Punishing each other is not the answer. The spirit of quality time is a means of keeping your connection alive throughout the years. It is a preventive measure from falling into a routine of boredom and mutual emotional non fulfillment. The spark doesn’t simply go out of a marriage, it diminishes because of the little daily actions or inactions, which are absolutely preventable.
Explore New Options Together. You’ve mutually agreed to his few nights of television sports with you on the couch and your few nights of biking or taking a walk, connecting about topics that interest you. As a relationship coach, I suggest that once each feels validated with the quality time of choice, you make a point of exploring an interest that is new and interesting. The new activity can be "our" quality time.
Perhaps his ideal of romance and quality time is not what you would choose. Your attitude will decide if this will be a shared activity of connection or something you impatiently, begrudgingly tolerate. I encourage you to take the first step toward showing your guy how much you care and love him and let him show off all his knowledge regarding what makes his eyes light up. I guarantee that your standard will rub off on him and you will see him reciprocate when it's your turn.
Nancy Pina is a highly recognized author, relationship coach and speaker. She is dedicated to helping individuals attract emotionally healthy relationships through her practical, Christian-based advice. Visit here for articles, exercises, coaching options and recent books. Subscribe to her free report, "How To Know If He's The Right One."