A tip that’s guaranteed to improve your relationship, hmm?
A bold claim? Not in the slightest.
This is absolute fact and it’s something that I’ve been recommending to my clients for years.
But first, a quick story.
The Money Hungry Entrepreneur With A Suffering Home Life
I once had a client (many clients like this really, but for simplicity’s sake…) who was burning the candle at both ends keeping his business on a steady growth trajectory.
He would spend 12 hour days at the office 5-7 days a week, he ate clean nutritious food (to keep his mind in peak state to do his business justice), and had a strict policy around getting at least six hours of sleep per night (again, to rejuvenate his mind in order to do better work).
There’s nothing wrong with working hard on something that you deeply believe in. I know that I have had some relatively unbalanced work sprints where I temporarily sacrificed my social life or exercise routine in favour of clocking more hours into my business.
But my client was dumbfounded as to why his relatively new marriage (2.5 years) was suffering so much. He said that he told her he loved her often, he helped out with their dog as much as possible, and he often brought home take out for their (rare) shared dinners.
I asked him to do something for me that took him by surprise. I asked him to send me a screen grab/photograph of his calendar. He obliged.
And the image didn’t surprise me in the slightest. His calendar was 100% focused on fulfilling his priorities at work. Every minute of every day was filled with blocked off chunks of time labelled “Meeting with Dane”, “Board of advisors”, and “Follow up with John regarding new contract.”
Then I told him something that he later told me was a turning point in how he viewed his entire life.
I said “Show me your calendar and I’ll show you your priorities.”
His life was 100% dedicated to his personal growth and the growth of his business, but he was putting zero intentionality into his intimate relationship. No wonder it was suffering! There was a clear hierarchy of his priorities and his relationship was on the bottom.
How To Use Your Calendar To Improve Your Relationship
If your calendar contains the key to your life’s priorities, how can you get it to work for you?
The answer is as simple as you’ve already guessed. You schedule your relationship into your calendar.
Want a few examples of things that you can schedule into your calendar?
It’s easy for things to get swept under the rug in your relationship. Whether it’s an argument that you didn’t fully work through, or someone feeling hurt for any reason, communication irons out the wrinkles in your relationship.
I know one person who schedules a weekly “CEO meeting” in his relationship where he and his wife have non-negotiable, set aside time in their calendars where their sole intention is to reconnect through verbal communication.
Not sure where to start with your partner? Read 10 Questions To Ask To Go Deep In Your Relationship.
2. Date nights
Romance is far from dead. Leave the phones at home, hire a baby sitter if you have to, and incorporate fun, shared activities into your love life on a regular basis.
Whether it’s something as simple as a shared home made dinner, or something as complex as a four-phased mega date, increased connection and laughter are never far from your relationship if you have it in your calendar.
Regardless of whether you have sex once a week or once per day, scheduling in extended sex sessions is something that every couple should try doing.
You can have your regular, comfortable routine sex 80% of the time, but having uniquely set aside sex dates where your intention is to explore each other and explore your sexuality within your relationship is a huge bonus.
Does this idea sound the most stale or rigid of the points so far? Keep reading… I address that in a couple of paragraphs.
4. Random acts of kindness and gratitude
It really is the little things that can often mean the most.
While there’s nothing wrong with grand sweeping gestures and elaborately planned date nights, small gestures can often have the same (if not bigger) impact.
Write in your calendar a reminder to yourself to pick up flowers, send your partner a love note, or make them dinner. Send them an eight paragraph email about why you love them. Or just tell them what they want to hear.
5. What’s happening in your partners life
This tip is less about scheduling an event (like sex or a date) and more of a reminder to yourself about the events that they already have planned in their life.
Did she mention that she’s getting her hair cut on a certain day? Run, don’t walk, to your calendar and put that in as soon as you can. Maybe her hair won’t even look any different to you… but your calendar will remind you to comment on it.
Are they going out of town for a weekend next month? Put it in your calendar so you can remember. Whether you use that information to buy them a new scarf (because they’re going somewhere cold) or to schedule your own separate trip, having it written down is going to help you immensely in the “Wow. What a thoughtful partner!” category.
Do You Find The Concept Too Rigid? Do You Crave Spontaneity?
Some of the people that I tell this advice to have a knee-jerk reaction to it.
“Relationships should be effortless. They should just work by themselves!”
“It sounds too rigid. I need communication/sex to be spontaneous.”
“It takes the magic out of it. It won’t be the same.”
First off, these are all great excuses for playing it safe. It’s nice to have a reason to be let off the hook and not have to put effort into something. But the best things in life (relationships and marriage for example) take some level of work.
Besides, is a big juicy burger / steak / fruit salad / insert your favourite food here any less satisfying just because you and your friend agreed ahead of time to meet up and eat them together? No. It’s still delicious. And so it is with your date night/four-hour sex session/cuddle break/deep conversation.
What if you’re still resisting the idea because you really, really, reaaaaally need it to be spontaneous? I’ve got a tip for that too.
Have one of you schedule the events and have the other one be oblivious to it until it’s about to happen (with the caveat that if your partner will need significant time to prepare – say, for a date, for example – then give them ample warning on the day).
As an example, have one partner put ‘4 hour sexual exploration date’ in their Sunday night calendar (when they know their partner has the night off) and have it be a last minute surprise to the other partner. And if that’s too much pressure to always put on one partner, you can alternate weeks. You take one week, then they plan the next week.
Like with most things in life, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. I’ve seen this one habit completely revitalize relationships of six months to 30+ years. Worst case scenario, you give it a two-week trial, it doesn’t work for you at all, and you go back to finding your own rhythms. But I promise you, if you really lean into using your calendar to be a more attentive and intentional relationship partner, it could pay dividends throughout your entire life.
Dedicated to your success,