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Ep 166 - Am I spending too much time with my spouse?

I hope you had an amazing yuntif season and I hope you aren't crying into your loads of laundry. 🙂

Hot tip for getting back in the groove if things went wonky a little between you and your husband: you might need some space, and that's ok.

During the holidays we spend a LOT of time together, and while most of us at some point thought more time = more love, that paradigm is a big ol' lie. Especially if you are either introverted or just totally socialized-out (or even very tired!!), you may need some time alone OR time with someone OTHER than your husband, and that's perfectly ok.

One of my favorite marriage tools is to go on dates--with someone else (I'm talking about a friend, silly, calm down!). When you get your social needs met, you can turn to your husband for what only he can provide.

So go enjoy your date or your quiet room, even if you can only carve out half an hour. You're amazing and you totally deserve it.


  1. Three components to marriage

  2. Introverts & Extroverts

  3. What if I need the space?

  4. Asking for space as a gift

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<00:00:37> Kayla Levin: Hi friends. I'm excited to talk to you about this topic. I've had this conversation individually with a bunch of people, but I don't think we've discussed it on the podcast before, which is that you might be spending too much time together with your husband.

<00:00:51> Kayla Levin: This is a crazy thought. I'm really happy to be addressing this right after the holidays because I think that's one of the times that this might be coming up for people because <00:01:00> without our normal work schedules, we don't have that normal structure. And what I often find sometimes couples find this out, they figure it out for themselves.

<00:01:07> Kayla Levin: Couples who've been married longer, 10, 20 years might not still be having this, this issue. But especially newly married couples and sometimes couples who just have a strong idea of what a happy couple's supposed to look like, quote unquote, but supposed to. They think that if they really loved each other, they just always wanna be together.

<00:01:26> Kayla Levin: Right. By the way, those of you who are moms be interesting to check in with yourself. Do you think that a mom who loves her kids always wants to be with her kids too? That's very interesting. And I want you to know that a happy couple doesn't have to always want to be together. They don't have to always want to enjoy each other's company.

<00:01:46> Kayla Levin: A happy couple is allowed to want alone time to want space to prefer the company of somebody else. Sometimes that's fine. Professor Allie Finkel from Northwestern University gives this great <00:02:00> metaphor of, climbing a mountain

<00:02:02> Kayla Levin: In earlier times we were low on the mountain, we didn't need a lot of oxygen. When you're just playing around the bottom of Everest, , you, you don't need any, any, any oxygen to help you be there. Which means that if your expectations for your marriage were very low, so no problem.

<00:02:15> Kayla Levin: And now we expect to be able to climb Everest in our marriages. We expect to have our, our partner, our, , our advisor, our, , intimate partner, our best friend, our comedian, our coach, , like all rolled up into one person who is our spouse. And yet we're not necessarily putting in the, , the super investment that would be required for that kind of relationship.

<00:02:38> Kayla Levin: So what I wanna offer you in light of that is that we don't have to be at the top of Everest . Most of us are gonna be really high up the mountain, and sometimes we're actually rolling in more than what is within the context of a marriage. Meaning if I need some social. It doesn't have to be with my <00:03:00> husband.

<00:03:00> Kayla Levin: And what what will happen is that the more you're looking for it in the wrong place, and then you're not getting it. Because what you're really wanting is like this social energy, but your relationship with your husband is very specific.

<00:03:10> Kayla Levin: What you'll find happening is one or the other of you, or both of you, is gonna start getting frustrated, okay? And I want you to check in with yourself. Is this because I'm just spending too much time with my spouse?

<00:03:27> Three Components to Marriage

<00:03:27> Kayla Levin: I teach marriage as having three components. There's your thoughts about yourself, your thoughts about the other, and your thoughts about the relationship between you and the thing is that the way you feel about your relationship comes from your thoughts about it. That's component number three. Right. So if I think we're strong, I'm going to feel confident.

<00:03:48> Kayla Levin: And what we try to do is we try to act to like what we think a strong marriage looks like, thinking that that will change our thinking so that then we get to feel better. But that's not how it works. The way you're acting doesn't change your thinking. <00:04:00> In fact, the way you're acting comes from your thinking.

<00:04:03> Kayla Levin: If I think that we're not a strong, solid couple, Then I'm gonna start acting that way, even if I'm spending more time with him. So it's so fascinating how we have to come back to mindset every single time, and you can believe that you have a super strong, solid relationship even if you aren't spending that much time together.

<00:04:22> Kayla Levin: In fact, I remember distinctly having a client very early on when I was coaching, whose husband was deployed. And how does she work on having this strong, solid relationship with a husband who's not even in the country? Right. And that is work you can absolutely do because whether he's in the country or not isn't actually what's contributing.

<00:04:40> Kayla Levin: Okay. And I'm not saying it's only about your thoughts about the relationship, because there's also what's coming up for you about yourself as a wife and your thoughts about him. Right. And is there a baseline of the amount of communication that we need to have? For sure. But most of us are riding a little higher than that baseline.

<00:04:58> Kayla Levin: We don't need to worry about that. <00:05:00> Most of us think that we actually need more than what we really do to be maintaining a healthy relationship. And as like a kind of a side note, , this very much goes into if you're feeling overwhelmed and you're nervous because you're not getting in that weekly date night that you were told.

<00:05:17> Kayla Levin: The first of the 613 mitzvahs, like you absolutely have to get in that weekly date. I just wanna tell you that you wanna do what feeds your relationship, and sometimes what feeds your relationship is finding a ritual in the morning or a really good check-in or going for one great date once a month.

<00:05:34> Kayla Levin: Right? Think about what's really working for your relationship, because if it was a halakha that you had to go on a date once a week with your spouse, it would be written there. Okay, . That's just my side note on that whole topic.

<00:05:46> Introverts & Extroverts

<00:05:46> Kayla Levin: Let's also talk about introverts and extroverts because this is super relevant when it comes to spending too much time together.

<00:05:52> Kayla Levin: So for those of you who are new to the idea of introverts and extroverts, I know we all use this language, but a lot of people think that introvert <00:06:00> means shy and extrovert means outgoing, and that's really not. At all. True. The easiest way to understand the concept is that an introvert is someone who gets energy, who gets re, like their battery gets charged by being alone, and an extrovert's battery gets charged by being with others.

<00:06:15> Kayla Levin: Right? So as much as I really love people and I love spending time with them, and I do need social time on a regular basis, it doesn't give me more energy usually, Right? Usually, unless I'm with like maybe a small, intimate group of people that I'm very comfortable with or one on one. Usually what gives me energy is to have a little time to myself, some peace and quiet, maybe a book or a journal.

<00:06:38> Kayla Levin: What gives my husband energy is to be engaging with other people, to be talking with other people. Just being in a room of hundreds of people would be even better, right? Like the, the more people, the more engagement, the more connection in his life, the better. So obviously this also relates to whether you're spending too much time together and in a very interesting way, because if you're like my husband and me, you might have different <00:07:00> types.

<00:07:00> Kayla Levin: Which means that it might be too much time for one of you and not too much time for the other. Maybe not even enough time for the other. Right. And this goes back to what I was saying before, which is, The extrovert doesn't have to get their social interaction inside the marriage relationship. And in fact, I would strongly encourage the extrovert.

<00:07:19> Kayla Levin: If you are in an introvert/extrovert relationship, I would strongly encourage the extrovert to intentionally create social outlets that you get. My husband has this because of his, the groups that he has for when he is learning, right? And in his work setting, he has lots of places where he. That social connection that he needs.

<00:07:38> Kayla Levin: So it's not always on me. Right? This might be hard for the extroverted women out there because I know that it feels like If he really loved you, he'd wanna spend all that time with you. He, why? Why would he wanna go be by himself if he wants? Like you wanna connect with him right now?

<00:07:56> Kayla Levin: So it's just really helpful to think of it in this paradigm because it really has <00:08:00> nothing to do with who it is when I need to be by myself. It, you could be my absolute favorite person in the world. You could be my husband and it doesn't work. I can't recharge if I'm in engagement with another person in the same way.

<00:08:13> Kayla Levin: Right. And so same with your husband. It's not personal. If he needs some space by himself. Right. And it's just good to like have that reminder. So because we've worked this out, I'm able to know that we're not spending that time together. And actually this has no effect. This is not a, a rating of how well we're doing as a couple, right?

<00:08:37> Kayla Levin: Where I'm sure earlier in my relationship or with the newlyweds that I work with or with people who have this paradigm, like I said, any time that one of you wants that space, wants to go do something with someone else instead of with you, it seems like a ding on the relationship. And I just wanna offer you that that is not the case.

<00:08:54> Kayla Levin: That is not the case.

<00:08:56> What if I need the space?

<00:08:56> Kayla Levin: All right. The next thing I want to to give you guys is <00:09:00> that what do you do if you're the one who needs the space? And honestly, whether you're introvert or extrovert, I'll also say that this comes up a lot with moms because , as a mom, if you have people needing you all day long and kind of on you and like physically, you're feeling a little touched out, and then your husband wants to connect, right?

<00:09:18> Kayla Levin: So often I'll encourage. To shoot for the connection, but sometimes you can't. Sometimes that's not available for you. Right? And what I want you to know is that asking for space can be done in a lot of different ways. So if you need space, whether because you're an introvert or because you just had a really overwhelming day, or because whatever is going on for you, you need a little bit of space.

<00:09:43> Kayla Levin: You don't have to be mad to ask for it. It doesn't have to be coming from a place of like, Oh, I just can't anymore. Right. It could be coming from a place of like, This is the absolute best possible thing for me right now, is to have some quiet and some space and I love me and I love you <00:10:00> and I'm gonna, and I'm gonna ask that thing that I need it.

<00:10:02> Kayla Levin: It doesn't have to be coming from frustration or, or , I think because we feel bad. Asking for what we need. We think we have to be really upset to ask, and I just wanna tell you, you never had to be upset in the first place. We were just all wrong about that. .

<00:10:18> Ask for the Space as a Gift

<00:10:18> Kayla Levin: Okay, so ask for the space as a gift.

<00:10:23> Kayla Levin: This is the trick, right? Imagine that your hour to yourself is wrapped up in a bow. How would you ask? And one of the ways to doing it to do that is to be really sure that you're not assuming that your partner knows what you mean. So even asking for space, He might not know what that means, right? So like I know for me, if I wanna go and be in my room and be by myself, and my husband comes and checks on me every five minutes, I'm restarting the clock every five minutes.

<00:10:51> Kayla Levin: I didn't get my space right. He doesn't know that if I don't explain that to him, not because he's dense, because I didn't explain it. We have <00:11:00> to explain what space means. It's a personal thing. It means different things to different people. So if you need an hour uninterrupted Then you wanna make sure that you're not assuming that he knows what you mean by that.

<00:11:11> Kayla Levin: So number one is making sure you explain what that means. Don't just say, I need some space, I need some quiet, I need to be by myself. I need a break. What does that look like specifically? And it's so good for you. Because it's gonna force you to articulate what that means. You might not have even figured out what that means yet, and you might try something and it might not even be right.

<00:11:30> Kayla Levin: And next time you might be like, Okay, let's try again. Last time I thought only 30 minutes was enough. And actually I think I'm gonna need an hour or last time I thought I needed you all to leave the house. And this time I realize I'm the one that needs to leave the house. It's okay to get it wrong, get in the game and start trying.

<00:11:45> Kayla Levin: The other thing that's probably even more important that you make sure that you are communicating clearly is the benefit of the space. Again, don't assume the other person knows it's different for everyone. Will it give you more energy? Will it give you the ability <00:12:00> to connect? Will you get your sense of humor back like.

<00:12:03> Kayla Levin: I know for me, if I need some space, I start hating everyone. I'm like, I honey, I wanna love you all again. , Can I go be in my room for a little while till I love you back, like love you again? Cause right now I'm just cranky and I don't wanna be cranky around the family. That's one version, right? And it's different for everyone.

<00:12:18> Kayla Levin: So make sure that you're also explaining the benefit. I get to come back and I get to enjoy my family. Can can you give that to me? Is that possible?

<00:12:28> Summary

<00:12:28> Kayla Levin: So these are really the main things that I wanted to make sure to go over with you guys, right? Which number one is there is. Number of hours you need to log.

<00:12:36> Kayla Levin: There's no way that it looks. If you're in a healthy relationship, you can be in a healthy relationship and spend tons of time together. You could be in a healthy relationship and spend very little time together, right? It comes down primarily to your thoughts about it and why, because your thoughts are gonna dictate how you show up.

<00:12:52> Kayla Levin: So if you have really strong, real thoughts, you're not just tricking yourself, but you have real thoughts about. Your value, your husband's value, and the value of your <00:13:00> marriage, you're not gonna be phoning it in and just thinking thoughts and never actually showing up in your marriage. That's just not how it works.

<00:13:05> Kayla Levin: If you're truly thinking the thoughts, you get to look however you want. Okay? You don't have to log more hours to be a healthy couple. You might be an introvert or an extrovert, and it's worth thinking about it, figuring it out, Maybe even taking an online quiz to see, talk to your husband about that.

<00:13:21> Kayla Levin: Make sure you guys know each other's types because it's a really, really valuable. Also that you can ask for space as a gift, and the way to do that is make sure that you are explicit about what that space looks like and what it's gonna give you as a benefit, what he's really giving you when he gives you that space.

<00:13:37> Kayla Levin: Cuz space alone is not exciting. All right. And again, and there's like a final thing, which is that if you are the one who needs the more connection, know that the connection you need might not be with him. If you're craving connection, ask yourself if maybe there's some more friendships that you need in your life or there's more social networking that you need in your life because it's a huge gift to your relationship.

<00:13:57> Kayla Levin: Have friends. <00:14:00> Outside of your relationship.

<00:14:01> Kayla Levin: All right, my friends, that's what I have for you today. I'll see you back here next week. I'm really excited. Actually, I'll be sharing with you. I'm about to record it right now, but you won't hear it until next week. All about eating, yelling, and other stress-based impulses, which is actually going to be our topic in November.

<00:14:15> Kayla Levin: So you guys are gonna wanna be in the program by November. I don't know what some of y'all are doing out. Not joining us. Seems like you have to listen to all the episodes or something before you can join. That's not how you get this going. Come on, get in the program. You need to join our community. You need to start learning this.

<00:14:33> Kayla Levin: The way I teach it inside the membership is like nothing you have here on the podcast. It is so much more implementable. I don't know if that's a word, but you get to use this material immediately. So go to and you can sign up. Literally right now. You don't have to. We close that monthly thing and, um, you're gonna get some amazing material and you'll be in there for November when we're gonna be talking about eating, yelling, and other <00:15:00> stress-based impulses, which are kind of a problem for most of us sometimes.

<00:15:04> Kayla Levin: So let's get that worked out. All right, you guys are amazing. See you back here soon. Bye.

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