Making a relationship work is challenging under the best circumstances—but especially when time together is scarce. Being under those constraints changes the dynamics of a relationship. There is added pressure to make your time together count. There’s a temptation toward grand plans or trying to fit so much in that you barely get a chance to enjoy it. By the same token, even minor conflicts feel much more important because they rob you of what little time you have together.

In today’s article, we’ll discuss how to cultivate a healthy relationship when time is a precious commodity. We’ll also provide some helpful tips and tricks for keeping that fire going without letting it rage out of control.

Set Priorities

Instead of trying to pack it all in, focus on the basics. You should spend some time thinking about what you need from the relationship, especially from your time together. Don’t try to pack it all in without organizing your thoughts around what matters—you don’t want to leave yourself too exhausted for romance at the end of a long day, and trying to pack in big adventures might leave you disappointed if something doesn’t go according to plan.

Accordingly, here are areas to focus on:

  • How important is physical affection vs. quality time?
  • What activities would you love to do together?
  • Which needs are most important for your partner?

You may have different priorities. As a result, it’s important to organize your thoughts and talk about them in advance so that you can care for each other.

Realistic Expectations

It can feel like a catastrophe when we have big expectations for something, and they don’t pan out. It’s very emotional, especially when your time together is so precious. Be ready to go with the flow and improvise if things don’t go to plan. Sometimes, a summer storm is all it takes to ruin an outing or a fun day you’ve had planned for weeks. Backup plans and contingencies help take the bite out of those disappointments.


It’s important to establish a strong text game in the modern world. It might sound silly, but sharing memes, text messages, and videos from Instagram or TikTok can help keep a relationship strong. Each is a little shot of dopamine to help get you through the day and keep that connection you share healthy and alive.

couple dancing in woodsThese messages are your way of telling your partner you’re thinking about them. Don’t feel like you have to respond immediately to everything they send you, and don’t get mad or angry if it takes them time to do the same. These messages should be a source of joy, not heavy with expectation. Get into the habit of sharing your days in a low-pressure way.

Create Routines that Work

Establishing routines that work can be helpful. Again, because time is precious, scheduling time to talk and a fallback in case something comes up might be a good idea. With relationships constrained by time, it’s important to plan for contingencies to avoid the sharp pain of disappointment when possible.

Shared Activities

Finding shared activities that you can enjoy together can be fun without being able to spend time together. If you’re a gamer, lean into that and make some time to play together; otherwise, read a book or schedule a movie night.

Schedule a Consultation

Consider scheduling an appointment if you struggle to maintain a healthy relationship with those you love. Sometimes, what we need most is a safe spot to unpack our feelings, fears, and concerns. Therapy is an important tool that can help you organize your thoughts, understand your needs, and make a plan to satisfy them. You’re not alone in your struggles, and help is available.

Reach out to learn more about couples therapy and how we can help.

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