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Yes, You Should Schedule Your Partner In

Too many couples fall out of love because they forget this simple idea.

“The key is not to prioritize your schedule but to schedule your priorities." — Stephen Covey

In our hyped-up, information overload, too-many-things-to-do world it is WAY too easy to lose track of one's partner. You might be reading the news in bed on your tablet, answering the phone at the dinner table, working on the weekends, or simply constantly chasing kids or chores. Yes, our kids need us. Yes, there's a ton to do. But if the cost is weakening your relationship, is it really worth it?

Responding to the latest 'crisis' in the chaos feels necessary as a way to maintain even a minor sense of control. But control over the 'stuff' in our lives only goes so far when it comes to keeping us in a healthy relationship. Covey's comment is an important reminder that we must schedule our priorities — and to me, that means our spouses — if we are to thrive.

If you have ADHD, Covey’s comment takes on special urgency. ADHD means that you often get distracted from what you are doing, that it’s hard to stay organized, and that you have trouble focusing on what’s important, vs. what feels good at that very moment. As much as ADHD adults love their partners, it's often not the partner that 'feels good in the moment.' Over the long-term, that creates real stress in a relationship.

The result is that if the two of you don’t schedule your priorities, as Covey suggests, you will lose track of your partner. How many times have you heard “we just grew apart” about a couple that ended up divorcing? Most likely, they forgot that their most important priority was each other, not their projects, chores or work.

Your partner is most likely your number one priority. Do you have a schedule of time to ‘attend’ to each other? If not, you need to start. Literally. Write things into your schedule, and stick to them! Consider any of the following:

  • The most common: a regular date night. Schedule them all (including a regular babysitter), and alternate who plans.
  • Saturday or Sunday afternoon couple time, during which you pledge to have an adventure or do something together you both enjoy, such as go for a hike and chat.
  • Breakfast together without the morning news or paper (unless you like discussing them together...).
  • Nightly dinner sitting at a table, with no cell phones in sight.
  • Parents’ morning. You both stay in bed, and kids have special permission to watch TV or play video games and eat bars for breakfast…as long as they don’t disturb you.
  • Monthly parent play dates – partner with close friends who have kids of similar ages. Once a month one set of parents takes all the kids for 2-3 hours, freeing the rest up to do…whatever they wish (hopefully, fun and some sort of focusing on each other.)
  • Monthly couples check-in. One couple I worked with scheduled this by booking a hotel, spending the afternoon discussing important relationship issues, then going for a romantic dinner for two and spending the night. Kids didn't interrupt them, and the monthly event reinforced their commitment to each other
  • Scheduled adult adventure time. Perhaps it's one day a month, perhaps it's a couple hours a week to do something new and interesting, which has been shown to be a great connector
  • Anything that reminds you of how much fun you have — that could be dancing or tennis lessons, a scheduled walk on the beach before dinner to hold hands...any ritual that lets you slow down and appreciate each other for a bit
  • A scheduled 10 minutes of cuddle time to just hold each other (positive interactions/words only — no problems allowed!) when you wake up or go to sleep. My husband and I did this for a while and loved it.

And here’s one more tip: While you are scheduling each other in, don’t get too hung up on who ‘leads’ on this. You both win when you are together, having fun, and remembering what you love about each other. If the more organized partner has to initiate the discussion about what to do, so be it.

Go ahead: Be creative...and don't forget to schedule it in! Scheduling might sound forced, but it's a great way to protect your relationship from the huge amount of 'life' constantly coming at you.

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