Time for Each Other

Latter-day Saint couples talk about ways they keep their marriages alive.

How do you find time to spend with your spouse? What are some ways you spend time together?

Responses from Ensign readers who were asked those questions follow.

Finding Time Together

  • We unplug the phone when we start an important conversation. Our best timemaker, however, is our 8 1/2″ by 11″ chart, which includes a seven-day hourly calendar, columns for individual family members, and places to list objectives and commitments. Every Sunday we plan and schedule the week.—Tom Brett, McKinney, Texas

  • Mundane activities, such as getting dressed or clearing a table, may be time together but not time shared. We try to make such occasions more worthwhile by filling them with discussion. My husband also calls me every day on the phone. I know when those calls are going to come, so I schedule my activities to be home then.—Eileen Whitaker, Orem, Utah

  • When Scott was in the bishopric of a ward that included several small towns, we’d often get a baby-sitter and go together on his visits to faraway members. Riding in the car by ourselves or just taking a walk gave us a chance to talk.—Sheri Willoughby, Clinton, Iowa

  • When my husband-to-be served a mission in Texas, I wrote him and received letters in return. After our marriage, I realized that I could still write to him.—Connie Taylor, Newport, Washington

  • My wife and I started a tradition called our “I Love You” presents. Each week we devise something extra special for each other. Midnight banana splits, love poems, early morning walks, and an “eight-cow” T-shirt have been some of the results.—Don Center, Abilene, Kansas

  • My husband accepted a residency in pediatrics that required him to work through the night every fourth day until late afternoon the next. When he complained about the hospital food, I decided to take him dinner. He liked that so much, I started doing it regularly, arranging for baby-sitters and taking along table service and placemats. Not only did we have quiet, special times together, but I met many of his colleagues and patients.—Rosemary Perez, Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico

  • My parents sit together at church—not four feet apart with kids in between, but together, holding hands.—Yvette Bridge, Georgetown, Texas

  • We discovered how much fun it is to meet for lunch—to eat quick meals behind closed office doors while watching the children play outside the window. Often we arise early on weekdays to complete household chores. Then we can spend Saturday doing what we want together.—Kathleen and Douglas Glauser, Highland, California

  • When Jim and I are home, we do things near each other. If Jim changes the oil in the car, I bring a stool and basket of mending and sit in the driveway. If I am working on something in the basement, he pulls out a project there. Every month or so, Jim cuts the boys’ hair, I cut the girls’ hair, and then we cut each other’s hair. The children are more interested in watching than interrupting.—Nihla Judd, Kaysville, Utah

  • We schedule things together every night: Monday, family home evening; Tuesday, TV programs we both enjoy; Wednesday, genealogy; Thursday, games (we have a tournament going); Friday, journals; Saturday, chores; Sunday, meetings and companion study. We don’t have a perfect record, but we find that even at our busiest, we have time for each other.—Michelle Thomsen, Everett, Washington

  • Norman must get up at 4:00 A.M. to be to work at 5:30. Usually I get up with him. This way we can have prayer and breakfast together, and I can help fix his lunch.—Michele Walker, Berlin, West Germany

Taking Time to Work Together

  • When Glen was completing his doctorate, he had to study all the time. I recalled that when we were courting, we did some of Glen’s work together, such as driving a tractor and baling hay. So I went with him to the library to help him study. We learned together and, most important, had “our” time.—Karen Blake-Keller, Davenport, Iowa

  • My husband is a baler mechanic. When we first met, I didn’t know anything about farm equipment, but I soon learned and began helping him. The time spent working on engines gives Kim and me plenty of time to be sociable or to talk about serious things.—Nancy Johnson, Boise, Idaho

  • We love to write together. We work on everything from children’s books to screenplays.—Ian and Denise Thorpe, San Pedro, California

  • My wife and I go on stake welfare assignments together. Some of our happiest moments have been in the Church cannery among the noise and steam, filling cans of vegetables from the huge wire baskets.—Arvel Dean, Spokane, Washington

  • Our honeymoon dream of restoring a Victorian home has finally been realized. Besides cleaning, painting, and decorating, we are putting in plumbing, insulation, and a new foundation. As we’ve worked together, we’ve realized that our marriage is like the house—one of potential that we are building bit by bit.—Vicki Lee Simpson, Puyallup, Washington

  • We share housework and cooking equally. It’s surprising how fast we can wash and put away the dishes with a hug between pots and pans.—Glen and Linda Sidney, Thompson, Alberta

  • If the car needs parts, we both go to an auto supply store or to a junkyard to hunt for the parts. We also keep the television on for only one hour four nights a week and never on weekends. Instead, we often read how-to and other informational books and discuss what we’re learning.—Lisa Western, Pomona, California

Taking Time to Relax

  • We bake bread and other items together on many of our evenings and weekends.—Fred Searle, Fort Collins, Colorado

  • After our children go to bed, we like to dance. It gives us exercise and helps keep us young.—Tina Whisler, Kodiak, Alaska

  • Every holiday we go off with our family in our trailer-tent, even if we end up only a few miles from home. If the holiday includes a Sunday, we all attend services at the nearest branch or ward.—David and Arthea Head, Malvern, England

  • We exercise together at our health club. It’s wonderful to hear my husband tell his friends that I’m his best workout partner.—Jan Waite, Palaline, Illinois

  • My wife often got upset when we tried talking in the evenings because I’d fall asleep, sometimes in the middle of a sentence. So we adopted the Church’s physical fitness program, walking together for a half hour several times a week. We were able to talk without interruptions, and I didn’t fall asleep once!—Alan Melby, Provo, Utah

  • We take turns treating each other. The person who treats plans and hosts the dates. The only ground rule is no movies or dinners. This has challenged our creativity, but the anticipation and surprise are exhilarating.—Mario and Karen Nickl, Phoenix, Arizona

  • We enrolled in scuba classes, one at a time, so the other could watch the children. We loved the classes so much that we decided to buy scuba gear, even though we were not well-to-do. We saved by driving our car only twice a week and eating inexpensive meals. Now we look back fondly on our dives together.—Liz and Johnny Petersen, Paradis, Norway

  • Five years ago, Bob suffered a disabling heart attack, forcing him to retire. We realized we had missed many opportunities to be together, so we began to camp often. During campouts, Bob enjoys cooking meals on the camp-stove, and we work on our life histories, read the scriptures, and write letters. We also work on crafts and play games. We’re grateful for our second chance at life together.—Ruby Root, Mt. Pleasant, Utah

  • Shortly after we married, we traveled by car from Alabama to Seattle, Washington. By the time we began the return trip, we had exhausted all the personal histories and fish stories. I began to read, but it seemed unfair to my husband, who was driving, so I read out loud. We finished two and a half books before we got home, finished the third at home, and started another in the evenings instead of watching television!—Candy Stewart-Magee, Birmingham, Alabama

  • Often, after paying the baby-sitter, we don’t have much money for our date. Sometimes we walk through the mall, staying out just long enough for the sitter to put our children to bed. Then we rent a movie and a video recorder and go home.—Lani Braithwaite, West Jordan, Utah

  • On our wedding anniversary, my husband always takes some time off so we can spend time away by ourselves. Arranging for the children to stay with others has been no problem because we have set up exchange baby-sitting with several families we trust. This allows us and them to take vacations longer than one day. Some who have been short on cash have even vacationed at home.—Ruth Roberts, Stockbridge, Georgia

  • Bob invites me on his business trips. We have quite a few children, but I’ve been able to go on many of the trips by scheduling carefully.—Barbara Brown, Yuma, Arizona

  • We set aside one evening a week for a theme evening. We both served foreign missions, so we spend the Japanese evening wearing kimonos or robes, preparing and eating Japanese food, and learning the Japanese language. Our Chilean evening is similar. We’ve also had classical music, video movie, and exercise evenings.—Jodee Gates, Salt Lake City, Utah

Taking Time to Grow Together Spiritually

  • During our first year of marriage we lived in a small Wyoming town. Each month we’d drive to Utah to attend the temple. It was refreshing to get away as well as to renew our covenants with the Lord.—Laurie Hamblin, Provo, Utah

  • We like popcorn. When we make a batch, we sit down to read the Ensign or Church News together.—John Mandrei, Williamstown, Massachusetts

  • We have found that attending a family relations class together is an excellent time to communicate and to learn about each other.—William and Dana Fiedler, St. Petersburg, Florida

  • Kneeling together in prayer is one of our most binding experiences. Designating a time ensures that these enriching moments are not squeezed out by less-important activities.—Christine Wright, Vancouver, Washington

  • On Sunday evening, an hour before we go to sleep, we read and discuss our scripture reading assignment from Sunday School. By doing this, we have been able to grow closer.—Mark and Yumi Speight, Yokohama, Japan

  • A few years ago, we started holding weekly companion meetings similar to the ones missionaries hold. We open with a hymn and prayer, then work out our calendar for the month. With the Spirit present, we are able to discuss problems, talk about our relationship and feelings, and bear our testimonies.—Bill and Teri Kennedy, Sterling Heights, Michigan

  • My wife and I try to fill our Church callings smoothly and in a timely manner. Unorganized callings consume a lot of time that could be spent with each other.—Kelly Knight, Orem, Utah

  • Twice a month after family home evening, we have an hour’s “sharing time” with just the two of us. We take turns teaching each other something we’ve learned in the last couple of weeks.—Roy and Caroline Little, Harlow, England

  • One of our best experiences was taking an institute class together on Old Testament prophets. We enjoyed that class greatly and were so impressed with the prophet Joel that we named our next child after him.—Sharlene and Russ Barber, Knoxville, Tennessee

  • My husband and I decided to serve a mission together and accepted a call as tour guides at the temple visitors’ center in the California Oakland Mission. Our life before the mission was comfortable and rewarding. Our mission, however, made us realize the heights we can reach as a couple.—Mary Ellen Rasmussen, Burley, Idaho

[illustrations] Illustrated by David Hoeft