How much time do you spend with family?

Family time is one of the most important times in our lives. It is the time we set aside for our children and our spouse. Sometimes it seems hard to “find” this time, but unless we make the effort, we grow old without really creating those essential bonds for a family. When my daughter was young, I tried to have a fixed time each week to do something together with her. As she got older and had more friends it became more difficult to find the time each week. Nevertheless, no matter how much we say we love someone, there is nothing like being there for them.

The need to be there never ends. One morning Karen got up at 4:30 AM to travel 30 miles to take her oldest daughter to the hospital for surgery. Julie, (Karen’s Oldest) was having a hysterectomy and Karen wanted to be there with her at the hospital. Karen asked her boss for the day off so she could drive Julie to the hospital and spend the day with her. It would have been very easy for Karen to find an excuse: “It is really far to drive;” “I don’t have much vacation time left;” “There will be plenty of support at the hospital;”
“I will only spend most of my day sitting around.” Actually, all of these thoughts went through my head when Karen told me what she planned to do. However, to Karen, this was a form of family time and it was the most important time in the world that she could spend with her daughter.

In my second marriage, Karen and I fixed times to do something together as a family and to do something with just each other. I am not always good at keeping this family time and it is not always “quality” time but as I look back, I would never give up these times. If there were one most important “time” in my relationship with Karen, it is this “family time.” I think Karen and I have grown closer together and become more loving and intimate as time has gone by. Our family time and family meetings are still weekly events which we adhere to. Sometimes they end up in disagreements or the discussion of unpleasant issues. The alternative is to ignore problems and just let them build up. I have found that it is never one big issue that destroys a relationship. It is the pile up of straws that as the proverb goes eventually “breaks the camels back.” Family time for me is not only time together, it is problem-solving time to improve our relationship.

Do you have a family time? Do you have a set time each week to spend together for fun and for discussion? If so, do you find this time valuable? If not, what would it take to create this time? What would it take to improve the quality of your time together with your family? Will you regret that you did not take this time in the years to come? Can you start this week with more family time?

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