This isn’t going to be a post about learning /as/ a couple, where both people are learning languages. This is more of a reflection of the extra difficulties in finding time to study when you have time commitments to your spouse and/or children.
I read a blog post and a forum thread on Lingq about this, and most contributors agree that you have less time to yourself when you are part of a couple or family living under the same roof. Once you factor in work, meals, chores, quality time, going to school-related events, etc., there’s not a lot of time left for studying. A few people explained that they had more time than when they were single, because life seems more settled and the routine is clearer.
Where opinions differ, however, is in methods to increase or maintain your study time. Steve, the creator of Lingq, gave some advice along the lines of ‘learn to pretend you’re listening while listening to language material on your mp3 player’. He later said that his suggestions weren’t serious, but that was a bit unclear in his first couple of postings. Some people suggested dedicating a defined time each day for study, and some suggested adding language facets to your everyday life (like labeling household objects). Another suggestion was to get up earlier than everyone else to have some quiet time.
I have semi-recently changed my relationship status, so this is quite relevant to me. I’m not used to living with someone else, and I can definitely feel my language efforts sliding downhill. Mostly I just want to spend time in the relationship, and there is the fact that I’m easily lured into a night on the sofa when I have study to do. I need to start drawing some boundaries for myself.
Whatever you decide to do, it’s clear that it should be discussed clearly with your spouse. If they feel they are not getting enough attention because you are spending too much time on the computer (or however else you study), their feelings may be saved by explaining what you are doing.
Have you experienced a decrease in language study time when you get into a relationship? Do you think it’s possible to maintain the same level of study while paying enough attention to your family?