The prescription against divorce. 3 hours of connecting time a week and put down the cell phones.
Like most people I communicate all day long by email, text and social media. I have over 4,000 facebook friends (I’m feeling the love.!..) and I try hard to stay on top of my correspondence. It’s hard not to use the same technologies in my intimate communications despite the fact that I preach snuggling, date nights, and regular face to face snogging. There was an article this week in a UK magazine (Sourced London University) that reminded me of the challenges of social media. Apparently, text flirting, facebook, and online adultery sites were cited as being responsible for 60% (Agh!) of divorces in 2011.
Time and the challenge faced with work/life balances is the theme for most of the lunches with my girlfriends. Finding time for personal contact with friends amidst work kids (can’t WAIT for school to start!), and personal time. I gave a controversial quote in my interview with Glow magazine last week. I said that “if couples can’t find 3 hours of uninterrupted intimate time each week for conversation, sensuous touch and a general positive check in of the relationship they won’t make it.” With a divorce rate over 52% for first time marriages, traditional marriages can be viewed by some as a failing experiment. I tell couples that of they can’t regularly carve out that 3 hours a week for conversation beyond “what’s for dinner”, then partners feel taken for granted. And with marriages, the truth is that they take real work and transparency with your communication. I often ask couples if they would be able to exchange phones for the day. If you have flirty emails that you might not want your mate to see, maybe its time to look at an exercise in what I call “open-minded communication”. It’s about really testing the limits of your comfort zone and honestly asking your partner to meet some of your intimacy needs. It’s scary stuff.
So what can you do without going through a therapist led facilitation? I suggest two things. The first is to do a “couples mission statement”. Think of it as a life plan, paragraph of values and New Year’s Resolutions all rolled into one. Write out what’s important to you as a couple, your one and three year life plan, and the things you want to aspire to be in your relationship. Guys get it because its linear, and offers up a target they can hit. Women like it because its intimate and building a future. The second it to schedule a weekly date night, block of time, parking appointment whatever you like that allows you 3 hours of time together. Find a time when the kids aren’t around, put a lock on your bedroom door, and make your mate the priority for that time. You will be amazed at how effective that it. If you can’t implement those two, drop me a line. I’m can give you a boot camp before you need to look for lawyers.