What is the Single Most Important Factor in Your Relationship?

What is the single most important factor in a good relationship? A myriad of tings come to mind – a deep friendship, respect for each other, a good sex life, honed communication skills. Undoubtedly, all these factors are important if not essential bases for a strong and successful relationship. But perhaps even more important than all these elements is TIME – time to work on your friendship, time to enjoy each other, time to touch, time to listen.
This is not just any time, this is TIME spent together ALONE. That is, not time spent together in the company of your kids, not time spend together with friends, not time spent together at work. This is your time together ALONE.
Remember when you wanted to spend every waking hour together? Remember when you wanted to hear everything about your partner and you reveled in every small detail and moment? This time together fuelled your relationship and drew you together. It gave you the opportunity to connect, to understand and to love each other. Without time, you risk a relationship in which the two of you grow apart.
Long-term couples tend to spend very little ‘alone-time’ together in a given week, and couples with children even less so. In stark contrast, new relationships seem to attract all the time they deserve.
Time alone together will give you an opportunity to:

  • work on your communication skills,
  • ask each other questions,
  • understand your partner,
  • be loving and affectionate,
  • make love, and
  • solve problems.

Unfortunately, so many couples fail to see the simplicity of this solution, and instead their relationships and marriages fail. Couples disconnect and grow apart – they fail because they have failed to nurture their relationship with time.
[sectiontitle1]So what can you do?[/sectiontitle1]
Simply exercise the power of time. Here are some specific ideas:
1. Date Night: Date night may not seem so trite as inconsequential once you have acknowledged the importance of time. Date night isn’t something to be nudged out the way when anything more important comes up. Indeed, a regular date night might be the essential ingredient in your marriage cake.
2. Leave the TV and other technological gadgetry switched off for half an hour after the kids go to bed. Save this time to be alone together – talk about your day.
3. Arrange an annual weekend away – it can be anywhere as long as you are alone together for the entire weekend. If you can’t afford a weekend away for whatever reason (be it money, work or other commitments) then take yourselves off for a bush walk or a local adventure where you can reconnect and remind yourselves how much you enjoy the other’s company.
4. Once a week, sit down and have a cup of tea or coffee together. Don’t bring a paper – leave your book aside. Sit quietly together or talk. Nurture even the short moments of time you share.
People change over time, and you need to keep abreast of the changes happening in your partner’s life. You can’t do this without time spent together. Dedicate time in your quest to keep knowing each other and your relationship will go from strength to strength.


  1. Bradbury, T.N., Fincham, F.D., & Beach, S.R.H. (2000). Research on the nature and determinants of marital satisfaction: A decade in review. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 62
    (4), 964–980. doi:10.1111/j.1741-3737.2000.00964.x.
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