Consider these ideas for bringing harmony to the common disruptions of super busy lives.
- Lower your standards in areas like housework and meals. Save energy for the real challenge — communicating. Try to dismiss idyllic images of childhood when there was probably a full-time housewife cooking and cleaning. While families have changed greatly, work places still operate as if everyone had a housespouse at home to take care of everything.
- Schedule everything: time with friends, children, and each other. If working couples rely on spontaneity for their sex lives, they’ll probably end up celibate.
- Allow whining time. Everyone needs to get rid of the daily hurts and disappointments that can only be expressed in the safety of home. Don’t give advice or become defensive. Simply respond with “That must have been awful!” or “What a rough day you’ve had!” Tactfully terminate the whining session after a certain period of time; you can take only so much. Even if the session lasts briefly, people feel much better when they know someone has listened.
- Spend money on things that save time. Paying someone to clean for you, or going out to eat more often can buy you more time together. Use the money from the furniture allowance.
- Set life goals. What is really important? Are you constantly in a rush? Find time for moments of silence and contemplation.
- Beware of resentment building in a relationship. Examine potential sources of resentment and set them straight. Divide responsibilities more equally.
- Learn communication and decision-making skills; don’t attack or blame. Express feelings without negating either of you. Learn to negotiate in ways that allow everyone to feel their needs are satisfied.
- Develop creative solutions to problems. For example; should one partner feel they weren’t getting their share of the food they like, make part of the food storage area theirs alone.
- Set up a “feelings” session; a time for expressing emotions without getting judgmental feedback. This is more intimate than a whining session. Don’t talk about work, cars, computers or politics.
- All solutions are not personal. Some pressures come from outside the relationship. We deserve the support many Canadian and European families enjoy: legal marriage, spousal health and dental benefits, spousal care and bereavement leave, as well as longer vacations, subsidized daycare, and parental leave. When our civil rights are protected and our consensual sex acts decriminalized, we will lead happier lives.
- Whatever you’re doing, endeavor to make it fun.
Adapted from ideas presented in an article by Dr. Cecile Andrews in Woman Learning, Vol.1, #3