A Recipe For Reconnecting

February 16, 2013 0 Comments

This is an article that I wrote for Rhythm of the Home back in their Winter 2011 issue. I shared in my newsletter (are you signed up?) that my husband and I are lacking fulfillment in our marriage right now. I think it’s time for us to follow the advice I shared in this article. I know you will enjoy it too.

{I have updated the article just a bit.}

The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.

~ Theodore Hesburgh

The above quote may be familiar. It is just as important to think of it the other way around too. The greatest gift a child can receive is to be cared for by two parents who love each other.

Do we always remember that nurturing our marriage is one of the most important things we can do, not only or us, but also for our children?

For me the love is always there, dependable and strong. It’s the expression and appreciation of the love that is often lacking. I suspect that we are not the only household who finds this to be true.

Maybe you just did this with a nice night out to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Or maybe you are like us and it has been way too long since you connected, just the two of you.

We are a family of readers, and our bookshelves are lined with volumes about caring for children. There are books about raising boys, empowering girls, and teaching children to be mindful. Some of the books are so focused as to only be concerned with the first few months of a baby’s life. I have books about nurturing myself as a woman and mother. My husband has at least one book about being a father. Our family even has books about raising a puppy and welcoming a dog into our family.

Nowhere on our bookshelves are there any books about nurturing our marriage. It’s ironic, really, since it is my relationship with my husband that was there before any children came along. We started as two, and while we love all the beautiful ways our family has grown over the years, it is easy to forget that at the beginning it was us, a man and a woman who fell in deeply in love and dreamed of a beautiful life together.

While I understand that not all marriages are meant to last, and that there is beauty in all different kinds of families, I do believe in partnership and commitment between two people who vow to be together. I know that my marriage is the most difficult relationship that I have ever had, and that it will continue to be so. But like so many other things, with love and attention my relationship with my husband will flourish.

With young children in the home something as simple as attention to our partnership can be hard to come by. Our days are so very full. Between our demanding careers, extended family and friends, as well as our own enriching passions, it feels like every minute is filled.

The truth is, when it comes time to connect with my husband I am often so totally drained by the end of the day that I fall onto the couch, mindlessly watch TV and then utter a few words to him before stumbling off to bed. Or, more often the case these days, both of us sit on the couch, laptops warming our thighs, working into the night. Again, we mutter a few words to each other before stumbling off to bed.

The long conversations that were the bedrock of my husband’s and my love story rarely happen any more. Gone are the late nights hanging out at the local pub or meeting under the moon for study breaks (we met while both graduate students) or snuggling in bed watching the sun rise.

These days, we need to prioritize our relationship and create the space for us to really be together. Sometimes we have to force it, because that tiredness has a way of creeping in, or work demands something of us, or a child falls ill.

We can’t wait for the ‘right’ moments. If we want to nurture our marriage, and our entire family by doing so, we have to make it a priority.

This is why my husband and I have stay at home date nights and unplugged time to truly connect with each other. We put away the distractions….iPhones, iPads, laptops, and the TV. We take the time to look into each other’s eyes, to really listen, hold hands, cuddle, relax, and simply breathe it all in together.

Here’s our favorite recipe for a night of reconnecting. We stumbled upon this one night a few years ago when the power went out on a warm summer night. My husband and I sat outside on the porch talking late into the night, even after the power came back on. Now, we try to recreate what we experienced that night every few months. (Honestly, we haven’t done this is way too long. Time for an at home date night, tonight!)

 

Ingredients

  • 1 Fireplace (while not necessary, if you have one put it to good use)
  • Several candles
  • 2 – 3 warm blankets
  • 4 – 5 pillows
  • 1 music mix (I’ve been loving Mumford and Sons on Pandora lately. My husband might choose some John Coltrane.) 
  • A favorite beverage (my husband likes, beer, I enjoy cider, but maybe you prefer a glass of wine or hot tea)
  • Sleeping children
  • A few squares of Dark Chocolate

Cozy fireplace for at home date night

 

Instructions:

Light a fire in your fireplace. Scatter several pillows around the floor in front of the fireplace along with the blankets. Light several candles. Dim the lights.

Pour yourselves a nice drink, turn on the music, and lay your bodies down on the floor. Take a few deep, cleansing breathes to really let go of the day. Let go of any pressing worries. Let go of thoughts of your children.

Once you feel yourself beginning to relax sit up, take your partner’s hands and look each other in the eyes. Take a few more deep breathes while holding your gaze. Then, softly say to each other:

“I love you. Thank you for being here with me on this journey. Thank you for being with me over these years, through good times and bad. Thank you for loving me.”

Vary the words to meet your needs, but start your time by taking the time to express your love and gratitude for each other.

Then, use the following conversation starters to spend the night talking and connecting with your partner. Or, better yet, use 20 Questions to Connect with Yourself and Your Partner, a free PDF download when you sign up to receive my email newsletter.

*Tell me about the best thing that has happened to you in the last week.

*Tell me about the biggest challenge you had in the last week.

*If you could have added one thing to make your week better than it was, what would it be?

*What is your favorite part about being a parent?

*What is your favorite part about seeing me as a parent?

*What are you hoping to accomplish in the next week? month? year?

and just for fun

*If we could go on a vacation, just the two of us, with no worries about who would care for the children or the cost, where would you want to go? Let your imagination run wild on this one. Why would you want to take the trip? What would you really look forward to about being just the two of us?

 

At home date night

 

The crazy busy days will return. You can count on that. But for tonight, it is just the two of you. Back to the way it all started, full of hope, possibility, and above all else, love. Don’t let life get in the way of what is really most important. Take the time to connect, to grow your love, and to nurture your marriage.

 

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