(from the forthcoming book “Dove Notes”)
In a very real sense, most of us have a tendency to let life’s circumstances keep us from doing the things we Want To Do (WTD), because we’re so busy doing the things we Need To Do (NTD). The most obvious NTD’s include acquiring life necessities like food, clothing and shelter. But NTD’s can also include hefty responsibilities at work, obligations with family, school or church, or even ongoing extra-curricular activities like coaching or playing on a sports team. At times, the NTD’s can become so demanding that we feel prisoner to them. We find ourselves trapped, suffering through an exhausting schedule that will inevitably cause our relationships to suffer.
WTD’s are those things we place on our list of priorities that are primarily add-ons… things that we won’t even number without feeling guilty. These include going out with friends, sleeping in on a workday, or working on a hobby. Unfortunately, some NTD’s can have such a vigorous appetite for time that other NTD’s are demoted to WTD’s. You have to be very mindful of this subtle transition because some NTD’s are vitally important. One of the most critical NTD’s is connecting…
“You should NEVER underestimate the value of connecting with the person you love on a consistent basis.” I will say this over and over again until it registers to the very core of your being, because this is one of the basic principles that successful relationships are based upon.
What is “connecting”?
Connecting means to set aside time to spend with the person you love that is uninterrupted and without distraction. It usually takes the form of a date. But with intrusive NTD’s, dates can become a stressful exercise in multi-tasking (dinner, movie, etc) where you try to fit a hundred things into an hour or two, and wind up detracting from the quality of the experience. Genuine connecting can be as simple as sitting and talking for hours. It has to be time that doesn’t feel rushed, fueled by a desire to be with this person that isn’t contrived.
I’ve found that one of the worst case scenarios of an all-consuming NTD’s is when two people have become so overtaken by their schedules that they grow apart. In this situation, NTD’s have been allowed to create a distance between them that not only separates them physically but has now separated their hearts. Unchecked, this can lead to resentment, frustration, depression, guilt and anger. All of which can sound the death knell for an otherwise vibrant relationship.
After realizing the possible consequences, taking (yes, taking) the time to connect with my wife has become my priority NTD.