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When Quality Time
Becomes All of the Time
Cynthia Ruchti and Becky Melby offer couples
a guide to making room for each other

Grand Rapids, MI — There are times in marriage when the hustle and bustle of life, the demands of work, and the busyness of the kids have couples desperate for even just a little bit of time alone together. While two’s company, especially for those who love each other, what happens when—due to retirement, working from home, or even running a business together—spouses find themselves spending what feels like too much time together? When being in the same space all the time is awkward, complex, annoying, and just plain challenging? How can partners coexist without co-exhausting each other? In Spouse in the House: Rearranging Our Attitudes to Make Room for Each Other (Kregel Publications/ September 21, 2021/ISBN: 9780825446788/$18.99) Cynthia Ruchti and Becky Melby take a frank and funny look at what to do when time together may seem like too much of a good thing.
Change is seldom easy, and the authors know all too well how adapting to a new, all-the-time closeness can cause the bliss of marriage to form blisters. It is an adjustment to share the same space 24/7, work around each other’s routines, communicate expectations, and divide the chores. Drawing from their own experiences as members of the HHATT Club (He’s Home All The Time), and from men and women across the country in the same situation, Ruchti and Melby take a deep breath and dive into the root causes of the discomfort. They dig into what God’s Word has to say and they offer practical tips for learning the spiritual, emotional, relational, and even physical steps that can help readers replace irritation with peace.
“Any home, large or small, can feel like too tight quarters unless we learn how to relate to, appreciate, and work around each other’s personalities and preferences when a health need, job layoff, retirement, temporary circumstance, or new working arrangement results in both spouses in the house for long stretches of time,” Ruchti explains. “A husband and wife can rub each other the wrong way, find there’s not enough oxygen in the house for both of them, and trip over each other’s physical and emotional ‘stuff.’ But there’s hope for every hurdle, and a joy possibility for every relationship jolt.”
Spouse in the House is a resource for couples that is needed now more than ever. As the authors point out, not since the Industrial Revolution transformed American life from what had been largely agricultural and family-run businesses has there been such a seismic shift back to two spouses at home. This migration to more time at home can be traced to many factors:Advanced degrees can now be earned entirely online.A rising entrepreneurial spirit is creating more and more home-run businesses (many with “work-linked” spouses collaborating on the same business, or each running a business of their own).Company employees increasingly work remotely to cut down on overhead (which had started pre-pandemic).As many as ten thousand baby boomers retiring every day in the United States.“After several years of working part-time, I quit to focus on writing. My husband left at 8:30 every morning and came home at  6:30. Those hours in between were mine to plan and fill as I pleased. I played worship music as loud as I pleased. I moved my laptop throughout the day from the kitchen counter to the couch to the dining room table. I ate lunch when I pleased and ate what I pleased. I spread folded laundry across the kitchen table, left cupboard doors open, and held animated phone conversations in any room of the house I was in. I…I…me…me…mine,” Melby admits. “The adjustment to living in an ‘our’ world wasn’t easy. While I loved the idea of more time with my man, and the freedom of camping trips during the week and seeing our out-of-state kids more, it was the little day-to-day things that frustrated me. He wanted to play, but I needed to work. I wanted to read, but the TV was on. As our subtitle suggests, the problem wasn’t actually a lack of time or space, but the need to stop labeling things and blocks of time as ‘mine.’”
Through Spouse in the House, the authors are hoping to help make the transition from the mindset of “mine” to “our” more smoothly for their readers. For any couple who wants their home to be a refuge of peace and serenity for all—not just themselves—and who wants to know they aren’t alone in the mental and physical claustrophobia of too much togetherness, Spouse in the House is a vulnerable, charming, and pragmatic breath of hope. Click here to read an excerpt from Spouse in the HouseAdvance Praise “Spouse in the House combines two of my favorite things: practical marriage advice and humor. Cynthia Ruchti and Becky Melby weave together wit, wisdom, and biblical principles in a relatable way to help everyone from newlyweds to long-marrieds have a marriage that is enriching and joyful. Married for over forty years with a SITH (spouse in the house) of my own, I found myself highlighting insightful tips and doable strategies, chuckling out loud, and nodding in agreement as I made my way through this enjoyable read.”
~ Shel Harrington, humorist, family law attorney, and author of Over 50, Defined
“For twenty-three years, my husband and I have shared our work space as we’ve each run a business from home. I’m clear about the challenges our situation creates. Yet Cynthia Ruchti and Becky Melby’s new book gave me renewed hope that perhaps we’ll both make it out alive—and well. With candid humor, the authors share laugh-out-loud stories, great resources, and tips from a myriad of friends who know the life-sucking potential of all that closeness. Whether you’re living the togetherness dream or anticipating it with dread, don’t miss Spouse in the House!”
Deb DeArmond, coauthor of Don’t Go to Bed Angry: Stay Up and Fight!
“Yes, I have a spouse in the house—or rather, on our eight-hundred-square-foot live-aboard boat. And during the pandemic, we lived in a three-hundred-square-foot RV so we could care for my ninety-two-year-old in-laws! All I can say is that the wisdom, advice, common sense, and practical help in this book took a very stressful circumstance and transformed it into an opportunity to dance lovingly with each other instead of dancing around each other. Couples can move from being mad to being madly in love again. And Bill, my HHATT (Husband Home All the Time), is equally grateful!”
Pam Farrel, codirector of Love-Wise, and coauthor of the best seller Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti About the Authors Cynthia Ruchti tells stories hemmed in hope through her novels, novellas, devotions, and nonfiction, and through speaking for women’s events, retreats, writers’ conferences, and workshops. She draws from 33 years of experience writing and producing the 15-minute daily radio broadcast, “The Heartbeat of the Home.”
Ruchti’s more than thirty books have garnered reader, retailer, reviewer, and other industry awards. She serves as Professional Relations Liaison for American Christian Fiction Writers, is a founding board member of the Deliver Hope ministry and is part of the worship team at her church. She’s also a literary agent with Books & Such Literary Management.
Ruchti and her husband, Bill, live in the heart of Wisconsin, not far from their three children and six grandchildren.
Learn more about Cynthia Ruchti and her writing at or by following her on Facebook (@CynthiaRuchtiReaderPage)Instagram (@cynthiaruchtiauthor), and Twitter (@cynthiaruchti).
Becky Melby has authored more than twenty novels and novellas. Spouse in the House is her first non-fiction book release.
The Melbys have four sons and fifteen grandchildren and make their home in southeastern Wisconsin. When not writing or spoiling grandchildren, she may be found touring the country with Bill in their camper or on their Honda Gold Wing motorcycle.
Find out more about Becky Melby’s books at or follow her on Facebook (becky.melby.9) and Instagram (@beckymelbybooks). She also shares short blog posts each Friday on the Fill My Cup, Lord page on Facebook. Suggested Interview Questions Spouse in the House was in the works prior to March 2020, but did it take on a whole other life after the initial COVID-19 shutdown? How can couples who aren’t home together for most of the day benefit from reading this book? You speak to the heart of women in Spouse in the House. In what ways do you envision its encouragement reaching men, too? Can you each share a little bit about life before your spouses retired and were home all the time with you? How did life change? What was the biggest challenge for you at first? How about for your husbands? What did you learn about yourself and your marriage as you wrote Spouse in the House? One of you writes, “Couples go to premarital counseling before saying ‘I do.’ Why doesn’t somebody create preretirement counseling so we’re ready to say, ‘I still do. All. The. Time’?” How can couples prepare for the life changes that come with retirement?  What are some of the conversations you should have with your spouse from the beginning about expectations regarding time, space, and boundaries? What are some of the discussions you need to continue to have regularly? How should you work out the annoyances that are bound to come up around the house? After being married a long time, why do they seem to be more of an inconvenience now? Can you offer some tips for families that find themselves home together now, maybe homeschooling, and a new work-at-home situation? If both parents work jobs from home, where is a good place to start discussions of the division of labor? Throughout each chapter are nuggets of wisdom from a variety of people. Can you tell us more of how you recruited help to offer advice to readers? Why is it important for both husband and wife to spend times separately, with friends of their own? What single piece of encouragement would you offer to someone preparing for life with a full-time spouse in the house?
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