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Is Time Alone Necessary for Your Marriage

Make no mistake about it – great relationships require time alone – time away from each other!

We have witnessed time and time again marriages in which one or both partners failed to understand the importance of being alone, not only for themselves, but for their spouse as well. When we first introduce this concept to others, the reaction is usually one of surprise. Many couples are of the mistaken notion that they are to be constantly attentive to their spouse. While their intentions are good, their desire to be attentive causes them to, in fact, interfere with the quality of their communicative relationship with each other. The desire for too much time together can inadvertently drive a wedge between a husband and wife. Isn’t that ironic?

In all probability, many couples believe that quantity of time together is the most important characteristic of their relationship. Instead, the “law of diminishing returns” comes into play here.

The economists would explain it something like this. Let’s say you buy a case of your favorite cola and decide to drink it all in one setting. The first cola tastes great. Perhaps the first two or three taste good. But after about four or five, the quality of taste begins to diminish. If you were to drink the whole case in one setting, you would like each cola less and less until you reached a point where you began to absolutely hate your favorite cola.

The “law of diminishing return” seems to appropriately describe many marriages. More is not always better. Give your spouse some privacy . . . the opportunity to be alone. Expect the same opportunity for yourself. Don’t allow communication in your marriage to fall victim to the “law of diminishing return.”

Being alone to your thoughts provides for you a periodic psychological renewal. A few moments alone to your thoughts each day frees the spirit and cleanses the soul. Do not deny yourself or your spouse these moments of alone time.

By Dr. Charles D. Schmitz and Dr. Elizabeth A. Schmitz

Authors of Building a Love that Lasts: The Seven Surprising Secrets of Successful Marriage
Winner of the INDIE Book Awards GOLD Medal for Best Relationship Book
Winner of the 2009 Mom’s Choice Awards GOLD Medal for Most Outstanding Relationships and Marriage Book 2009 Nautilus Book Awards
(Jossey-Bass/Wiley 2010) Available wherever books are sold.

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