In today’s time-scarce, fast paced society, finding time to volunteer as a couple seems almost unrealistic; pressing work and family demands often leave couples struggling to find time for each other, let alone time to offer help to others. However, carving out time to do so can actually benefit your relationship, and here are four reasons why:
1. Helps you connect
Chances are you spend at least half of each weekday away from your spouse, and this can leave you feeling disconnected from each other. Volunteering can then be a meaningful way to reconnect, since both of you will be required to work together. It can foster intimacy and draw both of you closer. Working together for a common greater cause also creates shared experiences and positive memories that you can fondly look back on.
2. Helps you get to know each other better
Nothing allows you to gain a greater understanding of each other than serving side by side. The more you do so, the easier it becomes to discover which tasks you both are best suited for. For example, in delivering meals to the elderly, you may discover who is better at scheduling and organizing the visits, and who is more adept at making the elderly feel comfortable and cared for.
You may also discover each other’s weaknesses, and more importantly, how you can possibly improve on these areas. For example, a spouse who tends to focus too much on the details at the expense of people’s feelings may be reminded by the other spouse to think about the people involved and be more sensitive to their needs.
Head on over to the next page to find more tips on how you can volunteer together with your spouse.
3. Helps create a sense of partnership
Whether it’s in a sports competition or at work, common goals unite people, and the same is true in marriage. Coming together to achieve a shared purpose requires you to join your hearts and your hands to strategize and complement each other to accomplish a mission together. Difficult circumstances that arise can also provide opportunities for you to work as a team to solve the issues and decide on the best plan of action, thereby strengthening your marital unity.
4. Making it happen
So how can couples best carry this out? The first step would be to decide where to volunteer. The possibilities are endless – volunteering at your child’s school, babysitting for friends, helping new neighbors move in, helping at an elderly home, visiting sick children in hospital and raising funds for charities are just some of the many examples. You can start by thinking about causes and communities of people you feel strongly about, and then asking around or searching the Internet for possible avenues of service.
After you serve together, take time to debrief and discuss how things went. What went well? What needs improvement? Were you both on the same page or did you frustrate each other? These conversations may not be easy at times, but can provide opportunities for you to understand each other better and help you grow closer as a couple.
By combining both of your time and talents, you would be able to meet more needs than as individuals. What’s more, not only do others gain from it, your marriage will benefit too.
Do you have any tips on helping others a couple? Do share your thoughts with us, we’d love to know what you think!
Used by permission of Focus on the Family Singapore. For more information on family life resources and workshops, visit www.family.org.sg.
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