by Larry Bilotta
Let me ask you…do you know how many hours a day you SHOULD be spending on your marriage?
A happy, healthy marriage requires that time is spent WITH each other, ON each other and FOR each other. Unfortunately, most couples forget this and focus on other things they consider (at the time) to be a “priority”.
So just what are some of the demands are married couples faced with?
o Planning and attending the children’s events
o Fussing over wedding, shower, christening, birthday and anniversary gifts for loved ones
o Taking care of pets and day-to-day household chores
o Maintaining the home and vehicles
o Attending and preparing for church related events and gatherings
o Spending time with extended family and friends
Add to this the fact that some couples are faced with serious “road blocks” that put a great deal of pressure on their marriage such as:
o Dealing with a serious illness in the family
o Elderly parent moving into the house
o An affair
o A serious accident
o Financial struggles such as bankruptcy or maxed out credit cards
o Loss of a child or loved one
o And the list goes on…
In order to put each spouse’s time into perspective, let’s take a look at what they do during a typical 168 hour week:
Activity Time Spent Time remaining in the week
Sleep: 8 hrs/day | 56 hrs/week – *112 hr remaining
Job/Travel: 9 hrs/day | 45 hrs/week – *67 hrs remaining
Eating & Prep: 2 hrs/day | 14 hrs/week – *53 hr remaining
Kids issues & events: 3 hrs/day | 21 hrs/week – *32 hr remaining
Household maintenance: 1 hrs/day | 7 hrs/week – *25 hr remaining
Phone conversations: 1.5 hrs/day | 10.5 hrs/week – *14.5 hr remaining
Friends/Social life: 1.5 hrs/day | 10.5 hrs/ week – *4 hr remaining
And where do those last 4 hours go?
According to the A.C. Nielsen Co., the average American watches more than four hours of TV each day (28 hours per week / two months of non-stop TV-watching per year). Let’s not focus on the idea that in a 65-year lifetime, a person will have spent nine years in front of a TV!
But let’s not assume that you are the average TV watcher. In fact, if you’re reading this article, you’re probably not watching anywhere NEAR that much TV. Instead, ask yourself: Do you have enough time for a good marriage?
To answer this question, we’ll need to discover what a “good marriage” REALLY is, and then we’ll discover the actual amount of time a “good marriage” requires in terms of hours per week. I have worked for many years now teaching married couples what they WISH they had learned BEFORE they got married.
I can explain what a good marriage is based on and what men and women need to be happy in marriage. In fact, I’ll get right down to it…
A man needs sexual intimacy and respect.
A woman needs financial security and emotional security.
When I work with couples, I give them these definitions and then ask them to give me a percentage on how much they are getting these needs on a 100% to 0% scale.
Over the years, I have found that in all good marriages, they each give me a rating between the 80% to 100% range. This means that a husband’s wife builds him up, overlooks his faults, looks for what’s good about him and takes a genuine…well, let me not waste words.
I’ll explain it concisely by showing you what a Real Wife and a Real Husband does to create a happy marriage using my Real Husband and Real Wife definitions which you can download here: http://www.stopyourdivorcein4weeks.com/real.pdf
In a perfect world, men and women would have these two signs posted their bathroom so they could read it on a consistent basis while they prepare for their busy day. I guarantee that any couple who even comes close to these definitions would tell you they are generally very happy in their marriage.
So how much TIME does it take to create this ideal marriage? After dealing with all the day-to-day life issues listed on the time chart you saw earlier, the remaining hours left for your marriage could EASILY be spent on watching TV.
TV is easy. It requires no thinking, no physical activity, no interaction with other people and no sacrifice on your part. You just sit down and let the cares of the day slowly drift away while you consume yourself with your favorite TV show.
The Neilson study about time use dramatizes the fact that Television is the #1 form of entertainment in the Nation. Nothing else even comes close in terms of time commitment. Americans in general are looking for the easy life that Television delivers.
It’s a fact that no relationship is as intense, demanding or as fulfilling as a marriage can be. It is the toughest, yet the most rewarding relationship you can have with another person. So WHY then do we choose to make EVERYTHING ELSE our top priority while we leave only 4 measly hours a week devote to our marriage?
Now think about this because I guarantee you haven’t before. Does anyone actually care about the health of YOUR relationship, your connection with each other and your marriage? In this society, marriage is the goose that lays the golden eggs and my point is no one really cares about the goose.
Let me prove my point that your marriage is the goose and everyone wants your “golden eggs”. Your children don’t care about your marriage …..until mom and dad are in big trouble and can’t stop fighting. Both sets of your parents don’t care about YOUR marriage.
In reality they care about their own son or daughter in the marriage, not the marriage itself. Your extended family members don’t care about YOUR marriage …but they do care that you bring a gift for nephews, nieces and come to the party…but they have nothing to say about your marriage.
Friends don’t care about YOUR marriage.They are polite to you as a couple, but really care about you as individuals…the person they knew BEFORE the wedding.
Your kid’s school won’t care about your marriage. They just need to know which one of you is going to volunteer for the fund drive or show up for parent teacher night.
It’s rare for churches – synagogues to care for your marriage. For most, it’s just not on their radar. They have no preventative maintenance program for married couples to keep them from falling into disrepair.
When it comes to assets, the goose of your marriage has got the goods. Marriage makes the two of you more stable and financially successful because of your union. Together you produce the golden eggs that build a strong Nation. Marriage has been ignored in this country thought it is the most VALUABLE and BENEFICIAL of all relationships.
No one has suggested “National Marriage Day” to bring to light the fact that marriages must be cared for and nurtured. We must protect the goose that lays the golden eggs. Instead what we have is a “goose killing society” because they don’t understand marriage.
When a marriage falls apart, friends, relatives, coworkers, schools, and even religious organization don’t know what to tell you. They don’t know what to do because very few people understand what it takes to create a successful marriage and even FEWER people know why marriages fall apart.
With this background in mind, it’s easy to see how the two of you will be influenced to put your priorities where everyone says your priorities should be…ON THEM! This is the reason your time, (one of the goose’s major assets) is freely given away to everyone else and only 4 hours a week is left for the male and female halves of the goose, to take care of itself.
If no one cares about the health of your marriage and the two of you don’t care either, then where does that leave your family? Who will care enough to keep your marriage together if the two of you don’t even know how? Who in this society will strengthen your marriage if not the two of you?
The answer is NO ONE…because no one cares about the goose. And this brings me to my conclusion that… “Only a HEALTHY Goose Can Lay Golden Eggs”
Hopefully you can now see that your marriage is the goose that lays the golden eggs. Together, you create secure and successful children that will shape our future and the future of our Grandchildren.
Together, you pay the taxes that run our cities, the mortgages that build new homes and create the wealth of society. It is as husband and wife that the two of you contribute to a strong society. Together, your savings and investments make this a stronger Nation…as a union, the two of you lay the golden eggs that contribute to our great Nation…and the prosperity of every human being on the planet for that matter.
So how do you take care of the goose, how to you keep your marriage strong? You must talk to each other to strengthen the goose. Talk…as in CONVERSATION, not just in passing. Talking, sharing ideas and listening to each other takes time and 4 hours a week is the absolute MINIMUM amount of time that you should spend doing this activity.
Talk openly and be sure not to criticize each other while you are talking. This will add depth to your relationship and keep your marriage strong. Probably the most well worn piece of marriage advice is to plan a “date night” on a regular basis.
You plan that date and suddenly the world of demanders comes and tries to steal even that little time from the goose. Don’t let it happen. Take a closer look at all the time restraints on your marriage that you would normally use to serve the needs of others and remember that Only a Healthy Goose Lays Golden Eggs, and improving your marriage takes time. It will not happen overnight.
You need to be in a good state of mind when the two of you face the unexpected and uninvited troubles of life that might take the form of bankruptcy, a sick child, or various kinds of addictions that could affect either of you.
If collectively, you are not a “healthy goose”, those troubles can rip the goose apart and one-million five hundred thousand divorces a year prove it. In times of trouble, you must talk to each other MORE, not less. To talk, you need to feel safe with each other. To feel safe, both of you need to really listen to each other without judgment.
If you have to vent your troubles and worries, take turns, then put it all behind you. IT ALL TAKES TIME. Give your marriage the time and the world will continue to thank you for your golden eggs.
Wondering if there’s still hope for your marriage? Discover how to save your marriage. Get FREE tips and advice to help you get your marriage back on track the RIGHT WAY at Larry Bilotta’s Marriage Saving web site http://www.marriage-success-secrets.com
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