You’re always late!
Martin: Come on, Sylvia, we’re going to miss our plane!
Sylvia: Martin, lighten up! I just need another minute. There’s little traffic on Sunday. We’ll end up waiting for our plane for an hour!
Martin: What if there’s a highway accident! You know how long it takes to go through security! It’ll be awful if we miss the plane!
Sylvia: Just a few more minutes! I have to -
Martin: You can finish that in the car………….
Sound familiar? Martin wants to be at the airport two hours in advance. Sylvia is happy to get there just in time to slip into the plane. People differ in their feelings about time schedules. We are born with an internal clock telling us what it means to be “on time” and we somehow pick partners with a different clock.
Stopping Time Our time conflicts can go on for years unless we figure out how to adjust to each other, depending on the circumstances. In this dialogue Martin becomes more anxious each minute and, as Martin complains, Sylvia will become more anxious (though she might hide it).
The Road to Power Snuggling
Spouses need to meet the same time schedule when they travel together on planes, attend parties, see movies or meet others.
The immediate goal isn’t to calculate the minutes needed to get to a plane or a party; instead, the goal should be to first understand how to relieve each other’s anxiety.
What will relieve Martin’s anxiety? He needs to get to the airport well in advance so he can relax. In this case Sylvia has to realize that just thinking of a missed plane will drive Martin bonkers so she needs to help him get to the airport early. Then, without resentment, she can read a book or talk on her cell phone while they wait at the airport for an hour or more. This becomes a win-win situation because it relieves both of their anxieties.
But, when it comes to an event where being late will not have dire consequences, such as attending a party, Martin needs to accept Sylvia’s relaxed clock. While Sylvia is getting ready, he can read or watch TV and refrain from any nagging.
Your Weekly Homework
Together, review situations when you had disagreements about time. Each should define what important deadlines mean to them. Then discuss how you can accommodate each other. Plan out the next set of events with the goal of avoiding anxiety for both. Stick to it without resentment.