Quick Exit

Sometimes it can be tough to maintain couple time with busy schedules and the demands of work and household responsibilities. Prioritizing time together is important for maintaining a positive relationship and quality of life. Although life is busy, both time to yourself and as a couple is important. Research with PSP families has found that maintaining couple time can be difficult due to shiftwork,1,2 but maintaining weekly time to be together as a couple strengthens relationships.3  

Things to consider

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Focusing on the quality of time spent together can be helpful. One way to do this is to pay full attention to each other during couple time. Try having your together time in a quiet and/or comfortable environment with limited distractions. You might want to dim the lights and share special food or drinks that you both enjoy. Limiting distractions can enhance intimacy. Be mindful to stay in the present moment and focus on each other. Minimize cell phone use/texting during this time. Constant texting can take focus away from your partner and have a negative impact on intimacy and your romantic relationship. 

Intentionally creating positive interactions with each other is another way to enhance time spent together. This can include giving compliments, accommodating each other’s wishes, being cheerful, and/or using humour.  

Creating Small moments together

Take a moment to each write down 5 small things that you enjoy doing with your partner (either on a scrap of paper or take turns using the fillable form below). Don’t show your partner your list quite yet! Your list can include any activity that brings feelings of joy, intimacy, connection, or appreciation. Consider the day-to-day moments that are meaningful to you as a couple. They can be sharing a hug or kiss every day before work or bedtime, having a cup of coffee together, sharing a special meal or drink, going for a walk, talking about your day, etc.

After you have both completed your lists, exchange them. Review your partner’s list and choose one thing that you each would like to commit to doing for one week.

After one week of doing these activities, reflect on the following together:

  • What was it like prioritizing these moments together over the past week? 
  • What did you learn? 
  • How did you feel during those moments together? 
  • Were there any barriers to making these moments happen? 
  • Going forward, how can you continue with these moments together? 

Over time, these small moments can become habits that strengthen relationships. Continue to check in with each other at the end of each week to ensure that you prioritize this time together, talk about how things are going, and adjust as needed. Creating small moments doesn’t take much time but it does take effort to develop new habits. It is important for both partners to commit to “small moments” to reap the benefits.  


Download: Creating Small Moments Together

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References for this page (click to expand)

1Roth, S.G., & Moore, C. D. (2009). Work-family fit: The impact of emergency medical services work on the family system. Prehospital Emergency Care, 13(4), 462-468. https://doi.org/10.1080/10903120903144791  

2Bochantin, J. E. (2016). “Morning fog, spider webs, and escaping from Alcatraz”: Examining metaphors used by public safety employees and their families to help understand the relationship between work and family. Communication Monographs, 83(2), 214-238. https://doi.org/10.1080/03637751.2015.1073853  

3Gottman, J. M., & Silver, N. (2015). The seven principles for making marriage work. Harmony. 

Halpern, D., & Katz, J. E. (2017). Texting’s consequences for romantic relationships: A cross-lagged analysis highlights its risks. Computers in Human Behavior, 71, 386–394. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2017.01.051 

Linnet, J. T. (2011). Money can’t buy me hygge: Danish middle-class consumption, egalitarianism, and the sanctity of inner space. Social Analysis, 55(2), 21–44. https://doi.org/10.3167/sa.2011.550202 

The Gottman Institute. (2022). How to turn your relationship goals into habits. The Gottman Institute. https://www.gottman.com/podcast/