So it's Thursday, time for our relationship question of the week...yes, I'm going there. 23 years of marriage HAS to be good for more than cheap silver plated gifts! Just kidding. I'm very happy to say that after our ups and downs Big daddy and I have, in fact, been together for 23 years. Besides our obvious love for each other (it really is obvious..we still do the whole PDA and everything..lol) we have 6 wonderful and unique offspring as the fruit of that relationship.
These being the facts, I often get people asking me relationship questions that range from the "Yeah, someone really should have talked to you about this." to "Whoa Nelly! That's a little blunt..." One thing I have found though is that they are all valid questions. I will attempt to answer, from my perspective, the ones I get asked the most often. If you have any you'd like my opinion on well just come on down, sign on the dotted line and wait your turn, I am NEVER at a loss for an opinion...lol
Today's question is "How do you do it?" OK, that's usually the prelude to a real question, but it is by far the question I am asked most often. :) The real question this week is "How do you get any time alone?" I'm more than willing to take suggestions on the answer for this question as my own may seem a little dull....we MAKE time. We STEAL time. We FIND time.
Big Daddy and I are just like every other couple out there, except that we honestly have very little in common in the way of personality and common interests :) That could be the key to our success as a married couple, or it could just be God's vast and astounding sense of humor at work in my daily life. I tend to believe the latter. Regardless, just being together, having a conversation where we both have the opportunity to complete a sentence without any interjections of "Mom! I need a..." or "Papa, can you take me..." or "You like to share don't you Daddy?" sorry...inside joke.
For us it's all about quality. Here are some of our stolen moments:
* When all of the small ones are tucked into bed we will sometimes take the 30-45 min before Big Daddy has to head off to dreamland (he gets up for work at 2:45 AM ) and play Backgammon or Gin. Both are compact enough to be played on the couch between us so there's not allot of set up and both go quickly; we can play 3 or 4 rounds in our 45 min. It's time to just do something together. Sometimes we chat about nothing while we play, sometimes we don't really talk but just distress in each others company. It works for us.
* We do the grocery shopping together. Whenever possible we do the grocery shopping without any of the kids. It sounds silly, but it gives us a chance to talk about the week ahead, what we have going on, how we feel about kid stuff, without kids getting into the conversation. And there's something really freeing about the anonymity of the grocery store. We walk around in our own little world while we shop together, not worried about what the kids are up to and if there's blood or broken bones in our near future :)
* We worship together. There is something so intimate about worshiping together. Maybe it's because with true worship, is done completely naked. Not physically naked. What I mean is, to genuinely connect with God one has to be willing to let all pretense go, to stand before the Creator, unashamedly laid bare for Him to see...in those moments, knowing that he and I are both willing and open, adoring our Savior shamelessly...it's a beautiful thing. I couldn't give that up unless God Himself asked me to.
* We go out...yes, we do! We really don't have a ton of common interests. We like allot of the same movies, but neither of us like going to the theater as a way to spend time together. I'm married, if I want to spend 2 hrs sitting in the dark watching a movie with my husband I can do it far more comfortably at home! Besides, our time really is limited, so why would I spend it not connecting with him?
We go for walks in the evening. Our whole courtship/dating period was spent walking around San Francisco, talking, dreaming. We enjoy each others company allot....that helps..lol Sometimes these walks become gripe sessions or question pondering time, but they connect us..and that's what matters.
We also have a favorite breakfast place we go to. We found it last year and it is WONDERFUL. The food is good, the atmosphere is good...it's just a great place to go hang out together. You never feel rushed to get out of there, even though they have the fastest short order cooks in North West Indiana! It's "our place". Every couple should have a place like that, where they can just go and be themselves. It's that whole learned response thing. When there's a place you can go and you know that this is the place where we go together, where we talk and relax..it becomes an automatic response when you talk about going, when you think about going, when you get there to just release the tension and relax together.
When all else fails..when it's a crazy day or a crazy week and we just don't have the time to spend, we can't steal it from anywhere, we stand in the kitchen (the place no child dares go without permission, I am, after all, an Irish woman :) and just hold each other. Sometimes we take a moment to whisper loving words to each other or to steal a kiss, but mostly, we just hold onto each other, like we're holding onto a life raft in the middle of a raging storm. We lend each other strength in those few moments, solidify our commitment to each other in the midst of all we do for the sake of our family.
Busy-ness does sometimes get the better of us, but it can never be an excuse for disconnecting.
OK...so there's my weekly dose of relationship experience..I wouldn't call it advice, I don't know what your challenges are, what your relationship dynamic is, I'm not qualified to give anyone advice...What I do know is that marriage is tough, probably the toughest challenge in life. Dealing with the attitudes, behaviors, seeming faults and offenses of someone you did not give birth to is really hard at times, but the rewards...they are so worth it. I hope your relationships blossom into beautiful gardens filled with all of the sweetness of love and intimacy :)