When you’re dealing with an overwhelming load of meetings, deadlines, social events and familial obligations, it can be tough to make time for your relationship.
However, prioritising your busy schedule over your partner is one of the biggest relationship killers, according to Lisa Brateman, a psychotherapist and relationship specialist in New York City.
“It’s an absolute must that you make your relationship a priority. There’s no way around it,” Brateman told INSIDER. “Whenever people say they don’t have time to give the relationship the time it needs, they’re not making the relationship a priority. A lot of people make the mistake of thinking it will be there later.”
Here are some tips for making time for your relationship.
Establish a routine
It’s common to become disconnected from your partner when you feel like you don’t have any free time. That’s why it’s so important to establish morning and evening routines as a couple, revealed Dr. Nikki Martinez, a relationship expert, psychologist and life coach.
Busy couples should plan to get up a half hour early to have a cup of coffee or breakfast together and touch base, Martinez told INSIDER. They should also make sure to find time to talk about their day.
“[These routines] set the tone for the day and how you two are going to interact with each other,” Martinez said.
Set aside time for activities
For those with busy schedules, relationship experts recommend actually scheduling time to spend with your partner.
“I’m not talking about constant, every day having to spend three hours together,” Brateman said. “But we always make time for the important things in our lives.”
Plan to spend 20 minutes going on a short walk with your partner, to get some fresh air and catch up, Brateman recommends. Or if possible, schedule a lunch date sometime during the week, taking a quick break between work obligations to invest in your relationship.
Communicate, communicate, communicate
When a person is buried in paperwork and their mind feels overloaded, it’s important that they let their partner know what’s going on. If you need space, tell your partner; if you’re upset about something, let them know rather than holding it in.
“Communication is one of the biggest issues of couples who come to therapy,” Martinez said. “But it may be that the other partner who is upset about hasn’t said anything, and the other person may have no idea what’s going on or that they’re upset.”
Martinez recommends that busy couples have regular “state of the union” check-ins to go over any issues that may arise during their hectic periods. That’s a time when partners should ask one another how their day went, whether there’s anything they need to talk about and if anything big is on their mind.