It is no different with relationships. A relationship in which you do not invest time into will languish and perish eventually, including your relationship with God.
As I tell my clients, if you want to build, deepen, strengthen and nourish your relationship, you must invest time in that relationship. Whether that relationship is with God, your romantic partner, your children or your parents, time is important in order for relationships to prosper and grow stronger. It is difficult to convince people you love them if you never have time for them.
How much time are we talking here? We are all busy. We are all stressed. None of us have as much time as we’d like to have. The amount of quality time needed to make a difference just might surprise you! Studies are showing that 15 minutes per day can result in positive outcomes in relationships. Fifteen minutes just happens to be one percent of your day! Can you afford to invest one percent of your day into building and growing your relationships?
The content of the one percent of your day you are investing in your relationship is not as important as the time. In other words, you don’t have to do something fancy that costs a lot of money. What I recommend is to ask the person you are spending time with what they want to do during their 15 minutes. Yes, even children. Ask them what they want to do with you. If your five-year-old wants to get down on the floor and play with toy cars, do it! You will be glad you did. If your romantic partner wants to do dishes together, do it! You will be glad you did. Hopefully this 15-minute activity is something during which you can have a conversation with this person while engaging in the activity. Watching a movie together is not ideal because it is difficult to have a meaningful conversation while watching a movie.
Sometimes people object to this 15-minute homework because they think it’s artificial and believe wanting to spend time together should come naturally. That’s true but, if it’s not being done, this scheduled 15 minutes will be better than nothing and it is a good way to get in the habit of spending quality time together. This one simple technique can solve many relationship problems. I have seen it work!
It is important to note that this article is not intended to take the place of medical advice or to diminish the effects of mental or personality disorders.
Dr. Brad Hinman, LPC, LMFT; AASECT certified sex therapist; director, Hinman Counseling Services; assistant professor, Andrews University