Using GTD As A Husband

- 4 min -
Joe Buhlig

I find it easy to let my marriage slide. We love each other so it should come naturally, right? Roses every Valentine’s, daily love notes, and genuine conversations each night. If that’s second-nature to you, I envy you.

Building and growing an intimate relationship with your spouse is a choice. If you’re going to choose to love her, you need to do something about it. You need to show it. Step up and make the sacrifices of time and energy to let her know you love her, even when you don’t feel like it. It’s a choice.

But we all show our love in different ways, different love languages. I won’t go into the details of these here but I think you can get the gist of what they are by their titles. If you want more detail on them, check out the book. Here they are:

  1. Words of Affirmation
  2. Acts of Service
  3. Receiving Gifts
  4. Quality Time
  5. Physical Touch

Before you can use GTD to better your marriage, you’ll need to have an idea of how you and your spouse each prefer to be shown love. You do things for someone whose love language is Quality Time much differently than someone whose language is Receiving Gifts. In my case, I’m Physical Touch and my wife somehow manages to be a four-way tie for all the others (okay, not really, but they’re pretty closely ranked). So we’re opposites. You can take the test to find yours on the book’s website.

Anniversaries and Birthdays

Let’s start with the obvious ones. Dates are important. We have to remember them. And even with all the help of my system, I still find myself putting things off until the last minute. Keep these dates on the calendar and create a project for them a month out or more. I have to do this a couple months ahead of time or I’ll fail to do anything at all.

In my case, I typically get my wife a gift and plan a night out in some form. That covers Receiving Gifts and Quality Time. It usually starts with a project for the event and a task that tells me to make a decision about what to do or research upcoming events that coincide.


I honestly don’t know what I would do without GTD here. When crunch time arrives and I want to pick something up for my wife, I can never think of that thing she said she wanted. But with a Someday/Maybe list for gift ideas, all I have to do is look there and pick one. Sometimes I share items on this list with family members. It makes it really easy to answer the question, “What does Becky want for Christmas?” Giving gifts to my wife has a lot more impact. Receiving Gifts covered.

Finding Time

But sometimes time is a better (and more affordable) gift. This fits the Quality Time bill, and it’s where the calendar really comes in handy. My wife and I share calendars with each other so we can see what’s coming up between us. Because of that we can work together to find time away from the house and kids. Or maybe we use the time after they go to bed to watch a movie together (or get way too many ideas from Fixer Upper) or talk about our day.

Day to Day

Little things can go a long way in our house. My wife really appreciates help with maintaining the dishes, laundry, plants, toys, etc… These play into Acts of Service for her. Some of these are second nature and I don’t need a system for them. They’re habit at this point, which is great since my wife loves having the help. But some of these, like watering the plants, require a recurring task in my GTD setup.

There are also some bigger things that come up irregularly that make things much easier on her. If I take on the taxes process, she can sleep a lot better. Without a project in place to handle all of those steps, we would be paying fines every time. I’m not interested in introducing that kind of stress in our relationship.

Mental Space

The most important aspect of GTD for me is the mental space it affords me. When we sit down to talk or go on a walk, I can be there with her. Yes, I still worry about work sometimes and she can tell when I do. If I flex the system and write those thoughts down when they come, it allows me to focus on her, give her the Words of Affirmation that she needs and show her that I care. She’s my best friend. I want her to know and feel that.

This series is about using GTD outside the lines of our day jobs. Yes, it can be used in every aspect of your life.

  1. Using GTD As A Homeowner
  2. Using GTD As A Writer
  3. Using GTD As A Husband
  4. Using GTD As A Dad
  5. Using GTD As A Man
  6. Using GTD As A Woodworker