If you’re like a majority of Americans, your daily schedule looks like: “go, go, go, go, go.” Nearly every item on our to-do list is demanding to be marked “URGENT!” This constant full speed lifestyle not only compromises us as individuals, it can also put undue pressure on our relationships. We’ve talked before about the  importance of making time for you. Are you encouraging your spouse to do the same?

Listen

Be attentive when your spouse is talking. What topics energize your spouse? What dreams are they sharing? What missed opportunities are they regretting? Somewhere in those details are the pursuits that might make your spouse happy.

Plan

You’ve done your detective work and it’s become pretty clear, for example, that your spouse loves taking photos. Is there a photography club or a hobbyist class offered in your community? Share the info with your spouse, “I was thinking about how you like taking photos. I noticed the parks department was offering a one day workshop on nature photography. You should take it!”

Just Do It

Birthdays, anniversaries and “just because” occasions are a good time to gently nudge your partner to embrace their own “me-time.” Again, listen to your spouse’s heart and dreams. Then gift them with the opportunity to fulfill them. A friend once mentioned in passing that a local artist studio was offering classes in stain glass art. “I’d love to learn how to do that!” she had said. Weeks later her husband handed her an envelope with the paid registration receipt as a birthday gift.

Talk Positive

Sometimes being too busy to give a hobby a try or take a class is just an excuse. The real reason may involve a lack of confidence. Reassure your spouse. “I love listening to you sing the kids to sleep. You have such a beautiful voice. I heard the church choir was looking for new members. You should give it a try!”

Fill The Gap

You and your spouse may have specific routine tasks that you each take on. Step in and fill the gap so your spouse can break from those tasks and embrace a hobby from time to time. “No, you go ahead and have a night out with your friends. I’ll handle the kids’ bath time solo tonight.”

Challenge: What activities or hobbies do you think would make your spouse happy? Take time this week to encourage them to pursue it.

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