Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Marriage is About Togetherness, Right?

We hear so much about how every "i" must be dotted and every "t" crossed when it comes to shidduchim, because, after all, the couple will be spending the rest of their lives together. Yes, true. But just how much time do husbands and wives actually spend together? The following will attempt to mathematically answer the question.

For purposes of this study being in the same place at the same time does not count as spending time together unless both husband and wife are engaged in the same activity consciously. Thus, if a couple are both sound asleep, even though in the same venue, they are not spending that time together. Nor does merely being in the same house together count as couple togetherness unless both partners are exclusively involved in an activity.

First fact: there are 8,760 hours in one year, breaking down to 168 hours in one week.

Second fact: doctors recommend that one gets at least 8 hours of sleep per night. We'll assume that our couple has children, so they will be lucky to get 7 hours a night. That would mean they are asleep for 49 hours a week, leaving them with 119 hours per week for togetherness.

Third fact: Going to minyan is not a couples activity. A man will spend about 10 hours a week at minimum at minyan. This will leave 109 hours per week for togetherness.

Fourth fact: Either the man will be learning full time or he will be working full time. Either or both may also be attending college. Therefore, a man, whether working or learning or a combination of both will be spending 65 hours a week not engaged in togetherness (commuting time is included). This will leave 44 hours a week for togetherness.

Fifth fact: If the man also goes to college then classes and homework will subtract an additional 12 hours a week, 14-18 during exams periods or when major papers are due. Let's average it at 14 hours for school. Subtracting this, a couple is left with 30 hours a week for togetherness.

Sixth fact: Children are time consuming. They require feeding and bathing and playing with. They require help with homework. They require being taken to school and being brought home, in some cases, or they require waiting time at bus stops, and they require being taken to play with other children or having other children come to them to play. They require regular visits to doctors. This time may be spent by the wife alone, by the husband alone or by the two working together. This does not count as togetherness time for the couple (You try being alone together with three children on your laps). Let's assume the minimum amount of time for school-age children as 3-1/2 hours per day, for a total of 24.5 hours of active childcare per week. Also please note that having infants increases the hours spent on childcare. This leaves our couple with 5.5 hours a week for togetherness.

Seventh fact: People talk on the phone or use the computer. Let's assume that only 45 minutes per day is spent on these activities for a rounded total of 5-1/2 hours per week. This now leaves the couple with zero hours for togetherness per week.

Eighth fact: Simchas happen. There can be one a week or many. Let's assume an average of one a week. Assume an average of 4 hours per simcha, including traveling time. Also assume that the simcha is separate seating. The traveling time is togetherness time but the simcha is not, so now we have to subtract 3-1/2 hours from our total, leaving us with minus -3.5 hours for togetherness.

Ninth fact: Families require visitation, there is shopping to do and also laundry and cleaning. Let's be conservative and only allow 10 hours per week for these activities. That leaves our couple with -13.5 hours a week for togetherness.

Tenth fact: Romance is sometimes required/desired. Enough said.

We are not wrong when we sometimes say that there are not enough hours in the day for everything that must be done. This is certainly true when it comes to togetherness for a couple. You may be married, but together? When?

Now when someone suggests a shidduch ask yourself a new question: could I spend minus 13.5 hours with this person a week? It might change your outlook. And it's not a bad argument for boys getting married only after they have completed college. Take away the 14 hours per week that they would otherwise spend on school related work and a couple would actually be left with half an hour a week all to themselves. Wowie!


Anonymous said...

I know lots of guys that I dated that I could spend no time together with and yet have been perfectly happy being married to them according to this formula. Hmmmm.

G said...

Which is why the important question is less about "who do I want to spend my time with", although that IS important, and more about "who do I want to raise my family with".

Anonymous said...

Your formula did not account for the unexpected and so should have a margin for error of .5, meaning minus 15 hours per week of togetherness. This would result in minus 780 hours per year of togetherness. It would require that a year have an additional 6 months and 3 weeks just to reach the break even point.

Anonymous said...

Thought this was funny until I did my own figuring and discovered that my wife and I spend even less then the figure you gave on private togetherness. With all the time not available our 4 kids have to be figments of our imagination.

Anonymous said...

You left out working full-time and going to grad school at night. When I did that I think I saw my wife and kids briefly on shabbos. :)

Anonymous said...

Truly makes you wonder how the population of frum Jews can possibly be growing larger. Someone is fudging on their learning hours.

Anonymous said...

If I get this right a husband and wife will have some private time only until they have kids and then they won't have any more until their 50th anniversary. Are they telling the people in choson and kallah classes this?

Anonymous said...

My choson and I promised each other that we would never become the way you describe. We would be different. Six years,3 kids, college working and learning later I sometimes think he and I should wear nametags "Hey remember me? I'm_____. We once stood under a chupah together."

Anonymous said...

"Also assume that the simcha is separate seating."

In my family, we don't attend simchas that have separate seating (just like people who do separate seating don't attend our simchas). One of the main reasons we don't attend them is because they "rob" some of our precious time that we have together. With 5 young children, a time-consuming job, and a house to take care of, there simply isn't enough time remaining for us to "waste" it sitting separately at a simcha (likewise, I don't waste time playing poker with "the guys"). The only time I waste is on the Internet and our computer is in our kitchen/family room where everyone is located most of the time.

Mark [FFB from Boro Park]

the apple said...

What happens to the couples who don't have children right away?

ProfK said...

That's why they call this period of time a honeymoon. They get 11 hours a week of togetherness time. If no one is in school add another 14 hours for 25 hours of togetherness time.