People often don't plan their time together or even sit down and compare schedules. They may negotiate on child care or school pick up based on schedule, (sometimes really difficult with conflicting schedules), but frequently leave the weekend or free nights to whatever comes up.
As always, time needs to be left free for surprises, but with so many hours going to other things such as work and family, it's not unusual for relationships to become an afterthought. People may resort to just watching television programs together rather then making time count.
When people fill out a form asking how many hours they spend in a day on work and other pursuits, they often fill out over 24 hours on work without even including sleep! This kind of impossible scheduling leads to feeling overwhelmed and over committed. The questions do not include family or friend time, so one wonders how that even fits in.
People that take the questionnaire gain perspective on the way they spend their time and start setting limits on how it is spent. Often one cannot simply do more in less time, although that can free up some time. Compacting too many things into a slot can lead to stress and exhaustion.
There are, of course, single parents or people caring for sick relatives where days may seem never ending. They go one thing to the next every day and can lose perspective feeling there is no alternative. They have to be especially careful with their time and be sure to schedule in a "time out" to gather themselves and think through the next day. What absolutely has to be done? What can be done in advance?
As always there may be difficult choices to make. It is important to think through the whole schedule. Sometimes it is helpful to think through it with someone else, or really evaluate the hours in a day. This practice often shows open areas that are overlooked and supplies ideas to maximize effort.
Relationships, married or not, need to be programmed in. They often supply a needed break or, surprisingly, more energy. They are too necessary to be left to chance.