What is Quality Time in a Relationship?

If I could sum up in one word my life since getting married, it would be: busy. Since getting married almost four years ago we have had three babies while my husband Ken also went through and graduated college, while also running a company. Through it all, we have tried to maintain our marriage.

We weren’t always successful, though. After a time, we started slowly living our own separate lives. By not making the time to really sit with, look at, and talk to each other, we started growing apart and slowly started to become strangers to each other. I was terrified that we would grow apart so much that we would hit a point where our relationship couldn’t recover.

My husband and I both were afraid of where our marriage was headed, so we determined to change course. We didn’t buy a book, or go to a marriage class, or try out a program (although those things are often very helpful). My husband and I realized we just needed to spend more quality time together.

So we decided to make sure the kids are in bed early every night and make it a priority to sit together and reconnect. This time together started on our porch. About a month into making an effort to spend one-on-one time together, we’re still out on our porch.

The moment our children go to sleep, we slip on our shoes and head outside.

Our porch is just a small wooden balcony off of our second floor apartment. It’s not super big, but it’s perfect to sit on and talk. We have two of those white flimsy plastic outdoor chairs—Ken has his and I have mine. We moved them so we can look directly at each other as we talk. We light three bug repellent candles each night. Sometimes we are out there for thirty minutes, sometimes a few hours, depending on what’s going on in our lives.

Our porch is nothing special, but the time we share there is. It is a place with zero distractions, where my husband and I are fully focused on one another. Most nights we won’t talk about anything in depth or too serious, most nights we just catch up and have lighthearted conversations.

Those moments, whether they are serious or not, matter because we are growing together, reconnecting and falling back in love. For me, “porch time” has quickly become priceless.

One evening, after the first couple nights of our “porch time,” my husband stopped as we headed outside. He looked at me and said how glad he was we were doing this and how he loved having this time with me.

I asked my husband what he loves about porch time. He didn’t even hesitate.

Ken said: “What I love about our porch time is that I get to focus on listening to you and how you are doing.” He told me it was something he looked forward to everyday.

In the past, my fun loving, talkative, and loud personality has made me feel like no guy took my thoughts and feelings seriously. Even the guys I dated often found me annoying. So the fact that my husband loves talking with me every single night and that it’s the best part of his day means more to me than he will ever realize.

Our marriage has improved dramatically since we made the commitment to talk to each other, without interruptions, every day. Our communication has gotten a lot better, our intimacy has grown, and we feel like best friends again—something we have always treasured about our relationship.

It has been incredible to see what a change it has made in our relationship, in just a month, to do this one simple thing every day for. We went from heading down a doomed path for our marriage, to thriving. Our time together has helped us remember why we fell in love in the first place and to fall back in love, even deeper than ever before.

So next time someone asks me what my secret to a great marriage is, I’ll have two words: “porch time.”

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