I have to admit that I like my alone time. There are times when my wife goes away for several days and I love the idea that I will have the house to myself and can do whatever I want to do without anyone being around. That usually means reading, television and eating a steak, but it is wonderful not to have to have to worry about another person. In fact, I sleep in the middle of the bed and I love it. About 3 days into being alone I really start to get antsy. I realize that I hate being alone and more importantly I miss my wife. It gets worse as the week goes on. I can’t wait for her to get home. Besides the fact that I love her to death, I think one of the reasons is because we are pretty intentional about making time for us throughout the week and I miss connecting with her when she isn’t here.
Earlier this week I listed 8 hallmarks of a good relationship and the common threads that make them successful. Whenever I speak to a potential client they always say the same thing: I am feeling stuck in my life…and oh, yeah, my relationships are a mess. Relationships have a way of affecting many areas of our lives. Today I want to stress the importance of making time for the important relationships in your life. Again, this will apply to most of your relationships including your love relationship, family and friends. Here are some things that may help you:
• Make an appointment: I have spoken several times about the need to make an appointment with yourself. This is also true for important relationships. My wife and I set aside Saturday mornings as our time to catch up and spend time together. We have a regular breakfast thing we do and we try not to let anything interfere. I do the same thing with important friendships. I have several friends that I have a standing appointment with. We take the time to catch up, share our lives and give each other advice.
• Being Present: A true story – I was sitting in a booth having lunch with a great friend. My phone goes off several times and I say I’m sorry and take a couple of the calls. Towards the end of the lunch my friend says to me “I love you and I love having lunch, but I won’t do this again.” When I push for a reason he tells me that by answering my phone it makes him realize that he is not that important and I am not present anyway. When I go to defend myself he tells me something that changes my life. He says: “Despite what you may think, you are not THAT important that any phone call can’t wait until after lunch. You are not the President or a Dr. There is nothing happening that won’t wait an hour.” I apologize and we continue to meet for lunch on a weekly basis. I always turn my phone off when we meet. By the way, kids pick up this very easily. ALWAYS be present for your kids!!!
• Misplaced Importance: I was talking to a gentlemen in his late 60’s the other day and he was dismayed that his children seemed to have no time for him. As we talked about the reasons we talked about the years that his children were growing up and how he worked a lot of hours building a business. Now many years later the business is gone and though he may be comfortable financially, he is feeling alone. Giving your all to your career or hobbies is not a bad thing, but don’t misplace their importance. At the end of the day your relationships are the only things will be your most important legacy. At some point a career will end, but your relationships will still be around.
• Small Things Count: We don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day in our house. When I tell people that they are surprised. The reason, I explain, is that I bring my wife flowers all the time. Why? Because I know she loves them and I love her. There are very few weeks that I don’t bring home flowers, her favorite candy or a card. Just this past week I grabbed some construction paper and made her a flower. It was pretty crude looking. On the flower I put a note that said: “You deserved a flower today but I couldn’t get out to get one for you, so I made this one you instead. I love you!” She loved it. It is the little things that count. I call friends on their birthday or send them messages when I think of them or I know that something big was going on for them during the day. It says that I am thinking of them and they matter. Small things count.
• Dads Day Out: Life is busy and sometimes you lose your focus. I used to do this thing called Dads Day Out with my kids…actually one kid at a time. I would block out time on my calendar and one of my children and I would go do something that they would find fun. I didn’t answer calls or do anything other than give that child my undivided attention while we were together. They loved it as kids and they still talk about it. And by the way…I still do it now even they are adults.
As you can see it is important to make time for your relationships. Sometimes it may be extended time and other times just small things to let your relationships know that you care. Take some time today to make time for your relationships.
And don’t forget: Life is a journey, not a destination!
Stephen Halpin has been using his skills as a couples coach for many years and has been in private practice for the past three years. He is available for one on one or couples sessions. He is also available to come to your organization and talk about such topics as Tough Conversations, Creating a Vision and Creating a Life of Wholeness. For more information you can contact Stephen at: StephenLifeCoach@gmail.com