The Four Rules
for a Successful Marriage

The Rule of Care | The Rule of Protection | The Rule of Honesty
The Rule of Time

The Rule of Time:

Take Time to Give Your Spouse Your Undivided Attention

The Rule of Time unlocks the door to the other three rules. Without time you will not be able to meet each other's emotional needs nor will you be able to avoid being the cause of each other's unhappiness. Time is also a basic requirement for honesty. Time for undivided attention is the necessary ingredient for everything that's important in marriage.

And yet, as soon as most couples marry, and especially when children arrive, couples usually replace their time together with activities of lesser importance. You probably did the same thing. You tried to meet each other's needs with time "left over," but sadly, there wasn't much time left over. Your lack of private time together may have become a great cause of unhappiness, and yet you felt incapable of preventing it. You may have also found yourself bottling up your honest expression of feelings because there was just no appropriate time to talk.

Schedule your time to be alone with each other as your highest priority -- that way it will never be replaced by activities of lesser value. Your career, your time with your children, maintenance of your home, and a host of other demands will all compete for your time together. But if you follow the Rule of Time, you will not let anything steal from those precious and crucial hours together.

I suggest that you (a) spend time away from children and friends whenever you give each other your undivided attention; (b) use the time to meet the emotional needs of affection, conversation, recreational companionship,and sexual fulfillment; and (c) schedule at least fifteen hours together each week. When you were dating, you gave each other this kind of attention and you fell in love. When people have affairs, they also give each other this kind of attention to keep their love for each other alive. Why should courtship and affairs be the only times love is created? Why can't it happen in marriage as well? It can, if you set aside time every week to give each other undivided attention.

One of the best ways to give each other the undivided attention that you gave when you were dating is to go back to dating again. Four 4-hour dates a week would just about guarantee the building of Love Bank balances that you created during courtship. Use each 4-hour date to be affectionate, talk intimately to each other, do something fun together, and make love. It's the formula for every romantic relationship.

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