One might think that spending countless hours with your partner is the key to a blissful relationship but a recent study shows this is not always the case.
It will be a familiar scenario for any couple juggling long or antisocial hours. In an interview with Good Housekeeping, British news presenter Emily Maitlis revealed she and her husband, Mark Gwynne, an investment banker, “don’t see enough of each other”. They have been married for 18 years and because of their jobs “we’re like ships that pass in the night”. But, she added, “it works,” reported The Guardian.
So how much time do couples need to spend together for a healthy relationship?
Relationship counsellor Silva Neves reiterated that it depends on the couple, of course. “What would be ideal for couples, especially if they have little time, would be to have meaningful contact first thing in the morning – that can be one full minute of a meaningful hug or kiss, because that really deepens intimacy. When people come home, they do the same thing,” he said.
The counsellor continued to advice, “If it’s possible, send a few texts during the day, or even a heart or a kiss emoji. Those are small things that take very little time but make a difference in the connection of couples.”
Taking for granted
When a person starts to feel they are being taken for granted in a relationship, this can cause discord. “When people start feeling taken for granted in the relationship, someone might feel they are not being seen, or heard, any more.”
“In today’s world, everything is so fast and often people don’t take time to be curious about their partners’ lives.”
Shift in relationship
It can also be an issue if there is a shift in the relationship, such as a couple seeing each other often to not very much, or the other way around. “You get used to what’s normal for you, and some relationships start with always having long gaps,” says Dee Holmes, a senior practice consultant.
“I don’t think you can say there’s a minimum [time together needed] because for some marriages in which people have quite a lot of time apart, that works for them, but it wouldn’t work for everybody.” Too much time together may also not be ideal, she continued.
“I think it is healthy to have time apart because it gives you other things to talk about, and when you come back together you appreciate each other more.” But again, for some couples, being together all the time works.
What matters, she said, is how well you communicate with your partner. “Even if you’re not physically together, if you’re still communicating, that stops misunderstandings and people feeling rejected or alone.
Relationship experts confirm there is nothing better than quality time together.” Holmes said scheduled couple time is important for the health of a relationship.
Being in the same place physically does not always mean it’s quality time, she added. “It doesn’t necessarily mean you’re having a good relationship if you’re playing on your phone all night. It’s about what you’re doing in that time together more than anything.”
Have something to add to the story? Share it in the comments below.