When my husband and I first got married we really believed we knew how to have a successful marriage, but little did we know that we had NO IDEA what it was going to take to live with intention day in and day out. When we met we were well established in our careers, both several years deep into our side hustles, and knew exactly what we liked doing with our time. It was easy to decide how we would navigate our lives when we were single. We were making decisions based on what mattered most to ourselves, and no one else. Once we fell in love and realized we both loved most of the same things and both had a passion for personal goals, self development, faith, fitness, family, finances, and so on, we knew we would have it in the bag.
A Look Back At Our Love Story
Years came and went, jobs changed, finances ebbed and flowed, our family grew, and the secret of how to have a successful marriage was seemingly further and further away with each passing day. There are many things that keep a marriage together, and in our home our faith in God is the cornerstone. However, to add to that and provide tangible working tools to our tool bag we knew there had to be a better way to navigate each day.
Something was broken, things were amiss too often, and that is when the strategist in me came out and started looking at where the problem lied. We took a long hard look at what was most important to us and found a way to make them happen.
The Problem We Found
The problem wasn’t so much about being married to horrid, selfish spouses, but mainly that we were operating under the go-with-the-flow mentality. Now, let’s be honest, getting out of bed and doing whatever feels good that day is awesome, but after any length of time life starts to pass you by and resentment and bitterness begin to creep in. This is when we started applying time blocking to our life, and it has made all the difference in creating a happy relationship for both of us. I believe it has been through time blocking that has given us the key to have a successful marriage!
What is Time Blocking?
For those of you who are new to the concept of time blocking in general, let me give you a quick run down. Time blocking is a systematic approach to organizing your time each day into segments to relieve the constant need to multitask. Research has shown that multitasking can reduce your productivity by at least 40%. (See more on that study here).
Time blocking is a way to improve the brain’s ability to focus on one task at a time, then allow it to shut off that portion of the mind before switching to the next task or topic. Before I go a step further and talk about how to apply this approach in your relationship, I’m going to drive home the top three reason why you should use time blocking as a tool for having a happy, and successful marriage.
Reason #1 to Use Time Blocking For A Successful Marriage
Hands down, time blocking is the most efficient way to organize your time. If you aren’t managing your time, then your time is managing you. Do you know how many blocks of 15 minutes add up to 1 hour? Four. Just four, 15-minute blocks of time will give you an entire hour a day to do a task you think you don’t have time for. Did you also know that you can check the amount of time you spend on your social media apps on your phone per day? Yep, that’s right. I promise you there are more than four 15-minutes blocks of time hiding right there in your cellular device.
How We Spend Our Time Each Day
Once we sat down and looked at what we were spending our time on it suddenly became very clear that the stress and frustrations of each day didn’t need to be there. If we weren’t taking action and responsibility for how we spent our time then we couldn’t be frustrated with ourselves. There actually WAS ENOUGH time to do all the things we wanted to do if our time was organized well. Efficiency is key friends, it really, really is.
Here is a great example. My husband asks me to work on putting away the clothes in my laundry basket that have been there for, oh I don’t know, 2 weeks! My response is, I don’t have time, maybe tomorrow. It is very likely that I don’t have time and that is why the laundry is still sitting there. It is ALSO very likely that I have been prioritizing other tasks with my time in leu of doing something I loathe.
Can you see the opportunity there to serve our partners given that we have set aside time to do so? Time management is so vital in a marriage because it communicates love and shows gratitude. Regardless of what your love language is, you need TIME to be able to serve your spouse, and children, and self.
Reason #2 To Use Time Blocking For A Successful Marriage
I cannot think of a better way to describe what a successful marriage looks like other than to say SELF CARE. Taking 30-60 minutes every weekend to map out our week together allows my husband and I to build in time for our own needs. Doing this allows us to turn right back around and serve each other. And not just serving each other, but our children, and the communities we live in.
Without intentional time built in for the things you need as a human, not as a wife or mom, but as you, when will those tasks ever make their way into your life? When will you be a whole version of yourself instead of a fragmented version? How can you have a happy relationship if one, or both of you, is unhappy to begin with?
How can you have a happy relationship if one, or both of you, is unhappy to begin with?
When you look at your week right now, how much time is set aside for your fundamental needs? Do you and your partner have time to be alone to do the things you want to do? Is there time set aside for your mental, physical, emotional, financial, and spiritual wellbeing? Even beyond that question, do you even know what you need to be whole?
Establish Your Fundamental Needs
I want you to get out a piece of paper and write down a list of up to 10 must have tasks you need to accomplish every week in order to feel 100% whole. HINT: these are likely the tasks that get pushed to the side when time runs away from you. When you’ve spent too much time getting sucked into the vortex that social media is. Or when you’ve been busy serving everyone else and now the sun has set on yet another day.
Here is an example of what one persons fundamental weekly needs may be:
- meal prep
- read one chapter in my book
- gym 3 times
- clean house
- visit parents
- date with husband
Another example could be:
- meditation daily
- finance log once a week
- one on one time with kiddos 20 minutes each
- 2 hours with girlfriends
- yoga 2 times a week
Every person has a different set of needs to be whole, and only you and your spouse can decide what your list of weekly needs is going to look like. Having this conversation with them is essential to have a successful marriage.
Third reason to use time blocking for a successful marriage
When you and your husband have taken the time to sit down and talk about what you need in order to feel whole, suddenly communicating what you need becomes a million times easier. All the anxiety about how to get it all done is gone. Now you don’t have to feel guilty for your mom time out of the house on Tuesday night because you know dad gets his time Saturday night.
You also know that this week, your partner has a lot on his plate and you don’t have as much so you can pour into him everything he needs. The other amazing part about time blocking your week with your spouse is knowing ahead of time that every single want and need you have for the next 7 days has a time and place. This my friends, is when you get to say you are living with intention.
Living with Intention Every Week
Imagine being in the middle of play time with your kiddos and feeling complete peace about the laundry and dishes because you know at 11:00am you will make lunch, eat with them, put them down for a nap, and then clean the house! Or that to-do list you’re growing over there, well you don’t have to think about it because yesterday you gave it two solid hours and next week you will do the same.
Imagine not having to think about cleaning the house today because it was all done yesterday, or respond to emails when you’re out to dinner because every morning you have 15 minutes set aside for that. You no longer have to force multiple tasks into one window of time because you know where each task is living within your week. Do you see how liberating this could be for your entire family?
How to start time blocking for a happy marriage.
Combining two lives is really hard and without a solid plan as to how life is going to look when all the hustle and bustle comes about, someone is going to take on too much, or not enough, and there will be conflict because of it. If this is where you are, have grace with each other, because being able to live with intention every day is no easy feat for any of us. But also know that there is absolutely a way to change the trajectory of your life, and marriage.
Commit to setting aside time to planning out your fundamental needs and getting them on the calendar every week. If you’d like to see all the tasks my husband and I schedule on a weekly basis to ensure we have a happy marriage, click here for your free fundamental needs workbook where you can see what we refer to as The Great Eight.
The Great Eight is our foundation for an efficient, supportive, and wholistic life week in and week out. You’ll also get to take the weekly schedule template and use it to know how to plan your week with your partner as well. I can’t wait to know how much this has helped each and every one of you.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I start time blocking to prioritize my relationship?
By getting to know your Fundamental Needs, aka your “Great Eight,” the 8 things you absolutely need to be the most full version of yourself and through checking out this completely FREE workshop on how to balance your fundamental needs with both your home and work so. you can have time to prioritize the very most important things in your life! Through understanding your fundamental needs and time blocking you can be sure to schedule everything in that you need for the week, including dedicated time spent in your relationships!