Prioritize Each Other – Five Tips


Reality check: Take a minute to reflect on how much time was reserved exclusively for you and your partner over the past few weeks ­– sleeping, watching tv, or social encounters with friends or family not included. How much quality time did you have together? It is not uncommon for couples to have difficulty finding the time to invest in their relationship. How can your relationship grow if you do not make enough time for each other?

Quality time is the first thing to go when a couple experiences a shortage of time. There is always an infinite number of chores, deadlines, and activities prioritized ahead time together. One of the few times a relationship becomes urgent is when there is an argument. For this reason, couples often use anger to draw attention to their relationship.

Making too little time for your relationship can have disastrous consequences. Research shows that the amount of quality time spent together leads to higher relationship satisfaction. Additionally, an increase in positive interactions also helps to compensate for various relational challenges that occur through the years. However, if quality time does not occur regularly, it might lead to a greater number of negative interactions accumulating. A lack of time for each other makes for distanced and unhappy relationships, potentially leading to a permanent split. 

Quality time is important. But how do you make time for each other while also working full time, meeting deadlines, taking the kids to school, and not neglecting your social life? Here are a few initiatives that make more time for each other:

One – Focus on each other

How often do you notice a couple fixated on their smartphones in a restaurant? It shows that these two individuals are not available for each other. There is a difference between the time you spend together to strengthen the relationship and the time you spend together because you happen to be in the relationship. Quality time is the time when you focus on each other without distractions. 

Pro tip: List your desires concerning the time you spend together. How often do you want to be together, and what do you want to do together? For example, while away from work, how often would you like to connect? What is realistic? Would you want to go out together more often, or do you prefer having more intimate conversations at home?

Two – Quality Conversations 
It is not necessary to turn your lives upside down for some quality time with each other. One moment a day of real connection can already give the relationship a healthy boost. A few minutes of real attention can have more impact than an entire evening binge-watching tv shows together. We want to feel that our partner has a genuine interest in how we are doing. 

When short on time, or even connecting in long-distance situations, you can make the effort by listening consciously. This means asking specific questions and showing genuine interest in your partner. Preferably, be together without distractions and take time for each other, asking in-depth questions such as, “How are you feeling lately?” instead of “How are you?” If you are not accustomed to these questions, it may feel uncomfortable to ask them, but that does not make them less effective. The chances are that valuable conversations will arise, that you learn to understand your partner better and that you dare to open up as well. 

Three – Take time for yourself

It may sound contradictory, but it is healthy for you and for the relationship to spend an appropriate amount of time on yourself. It is not always the best idea to spend time with your partner when you are feeling exhausted; there is a risk that your worst qualities will come out. Focusing on your own needs first and recharging your batteries before focusing on your loved one can be helpful to improve your connection together. 

Four – Schedule 

It may not sound very romantic, and yet it might be necessary, to schedule quality time together. When you first got together, it was called a “date.” In a long-term relationship, you can still experience a similar form of “planned spontaneity.” For example, you can agree that you will spend time together, but keep the activity secret. 

The more specific the agreement, the better. For example, the agreement to spend Wednesday evenings between 8 and 9 PM together without distractions and talk is more likely to succeed than agreeing to talk for an hour per week. Additionally, when setting a fixed time of day to connect, it will begin to happen more automatically. For example, set a time in the evening after dinner, in the morning or before you go to sleep. Small routines can go a long way.

Pro tip: Organize a date night on a weekly, biweekly or monthly basis. For these date nights, it is possible to choose an activity and organize a day or evening activity for each other and alternate the planning between the two of you. This is an example of a very structured way to invest in more quality time together consciously. Make it fun to be together! 

Five – Focus on each other in social settings
You can focus on each other and work on your relationship when friends and family are around – without making others uncomfortable. For example, by making supportive comments, having an open posture, and actively listening, you show your partner that they are special to you. Compliments and kind words are extra powerful when expressed in social settings. These gestures indicate that you support your partner, which increases the feelings of trust and connection.

This also applies when you are together as a family. If you have children, they will observe the love and respect you share and that will help build their foundations for showing affection in their adult lives. 

Final notes

Trust, openness, and honest communication are essential in any relationship. Feel out what works for you and your partner. Continue making an active effort, even if it feels uncomfortable or forced at first. Making time for each other can be challenging with busy work schedules and family. However, do not make it more difficult than it needs to be and enjoy the valuable time you have together never taking it for granted. Are you and your partner experiencing continuing challenges in your relationship? If you feel like you are both stuck in patterns and feel unable to change them, do not hesitate to seek out a couple’s therapist to help navigate those challenges together. 

SOURCEAero Crew News, February 2022
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Reini Thijssen is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHCA) and certified life coach specializing in working with aerospace professionals. She has been a writer for Aero Crew News since 2019 and covers various topics related to aviation concerning life- and career changes, relationships, and overall mental health. Reini is in private practice at Emerald Mental Health. She offers online mental health support to adult individuals and couples coping with a wide range of challenges such as anxiety, burnout, grief, and stress. For more information and questions, contact


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