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6 Ways to Rescue a Time-starved Marriage

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This post comes from the new book, By Divine Design, which discusses best practices for family success and happiness, from LDS leaders to supporting academic research. 

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Latter-day Saints are not immune from time-related challenges. Indeed, perhaps one of the most significant trials in the lives of contemporary Latter-day Saint couples is the apportionment of time. With so much to do, how can husbands and wives find time for each other?

Careers, church responsibilities, children's activities, household duties, and community involvement often interefere with maintaining a close connection with one's spouse. Many contemporary couples seem to spend the bulk of their time in other pursuits, neglecting what should be their highest priority--their sacred, covenantal marriage. It seems that the longer peopleare married, the less time the spend together. Yet the amount of time couples spend together in face-to-face interaction is critically important to marital happiness and satisfaction.

In the National Survey of Marital Strengths, spending time together was identified as one of the top ten strengths for happily married couples--along with these other statistics:

- 71% of happy couples agreed with the statement, "We have a good balance of leisure time spent together and separately."

- 17% of unhappy couples felt that they spent a healthy dose of leisure time together.

- 80% of husbands and wives who were having struggles in their marriage identified insufficient couple time as a significant problem. 

- 97% of happy couples reported that they enjoy spending free time together.

- 43% of unhappy couples reported that they enjoyed spending time together. 

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf (2010) recently reminded us that when it comes to family relationships, "love is really spelled t-i-m-e".

Try implementing one of these 6 quick "rituals" to give you and your spouse a little more quality time: 

Greeting and Good-bye Rituals: What do you say to you spouse when you first get home? Pick a phrase or a habit that you do whenever you leave each other or greet each other. If your children know you are happy to see each other again and sad to say good-bye, you have a good ritual. 

Talk Rituals: Create moments where talking can occur without interruption--take fifteen minutes a day without outside distractions like children, television, smart phones, or other diversions. Superficial talk is not allowed! Talk on a personal level, sharing opinions, beliefs, and ideas about a myriad of topics. 

Dating Rituals: Schedule a weekly date, as prophets have counseled. Think outside of dinner and a movie! Engage in some of the activities you once did when you were dating: putt-putt golfing, bowling, or go-kart racing. For couples with children, consider that babysitting is not an expense, but an investment in your marriage relationship.

Bed-time Rituals: Make a goal to go to bed at the same time on a regular basis. If there is a television in your bedroom, get rid of it. 

Compliment Rituals: Be specific in the kind words and compliments you give to your spouse. Make sure you give your spouse at least one sincere compliment daily--go beyond physical traits and think about other qualities you admire. 

Couples' Meeting Rituals: Hold couples' meeting each week where you can coordinate schedules, talk about finances, solve problems, plan gospel training in the home, and discuss ways to strengthen your marriage, including your weekly date. 

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This post comes from the new book, By Divine Design, which discusses best practices for family success and happiness, from LDS leaders to supporting academic research. 

More about the book:
The prophets of God continually raise their warning voices and lovingly give counsel to strengthen our families and heighten the spirituality of our children. This is a gospel-centered "best practices" book for husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, that is founded on prophetic teachings and substantiated by good science. This book will help readers gain new and important insights about our most important responsibilities in time and eternity—our families. By bringing together the "words of wisdom" both from religious sources and from the discoveries of solid research, families can be better equipped in their pursuit of success and happiness. 

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