Can Married Couples Spend Too Much Time Together?

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Question: Can Married Couples Spend Too Much Time Together?

Answer:

My ex had no outside interest. His life revolved around family and work. If he wasn’t at work, every time I turned around I bumped into him. I encouraged him to take up golf, go our for drinks with his buddies…anything that would give him the opportunity to get away from work and family stress. We spent too much time together which in the end played a role in the demise of our marriage.

There was no sense of space or privacy in my marriage. No balance between work, family and fun. It was as if we gave up being individuals and became one and I’m not someone who believes that marriage means sacrificing yourself.

I believe that absence really does make the heart grow fonder. My ex would have been much more attractive to me if he had, had interests outside work and family. As it was I felt smothered and that I had married a dependent instead of an independent man.

It is scientifically proven that we have more interest in our spouse if we spend time apart. Birth rates increase after war veterans return home. Primates celebrate the return of the hunter to the group after a long absence. There is something to the idea that separateness can be good for relationships. 

Maintaining a sense of individuality in marriage only happens when you are able to have relationships outside the marriage.

And, no, I'm not talking about those kinds of relationships. Women are more inclined to enjoy time with their spouse if they have also spent time with friends and relatives on a regular basis. Men could learn something from women since men tend to depend more on a wife for supportive type relationships.

If men create close relationships with other men they find they have outside support during times when their wife is emotionally unavailable to them. Having an interest in activities that takes them outside the home can also be important in helping men to become less dependent on a wife and more fulfilled as a husband and, just in general. 

I’m not suggesting you send your spouse off to war but shopping with girlfriends or golfing with the guys makes coming together at the end of the day much more interesting than if you have spent the entire day together.

 

How To Know You're Spending Too Much Time With Your Spouse:

 

Couples who spend too much time together:

  • Have less to talk about.
  • Have less intimacy.
  • Are rarely motivated to go out together.
  • Take each other for granted.
  • Don't get the opportunity to miss each other.

I'll give my marriage as an example, again. My ex and I used to go out to dinner and push the food around on our plate and stare off into space. We had nothing to talk about but our children, our home or his work. All topics that had been covered before we went out!

After a couple of years of marriage, intimacy came to a grinding halt. It's hard to maintain a sexual interest in someone who is standing there every time you turn around.

We began to view each other as a sure thing. When your spouse becomes your sure thing, you start taking them for granted, slacking off and the relationship can quickly go down the tubes when that happens. 

Spending time apart promotes an appreciation of your marriage and each other. It means not losing yourself, your hobbies and your friends and that, in turn, leads to happier people who come together after being apart and form happy marriages.

Is it time for you and your spouse to start taking time apart? To start taking the opportunity to go out with friends and do things you enjoy and letting your spouse do the same. If so, go for it, the rewards will be worth the change in habitually spending all your time with your spouse.