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Monday, January 08, 2007

It only takes 15 minutes

I miss my husband. I miss talking with him, connecting with him. I miss sitting on the couch with our legs intertwined while we talk about our days--the mundane, the exciting, the regular stuff that is the bulk of our everyday lives. Sure, we have managed date nights here and there, but I don't want to be married only on the weekends.

During my first writing date with Aspiring Writer Friend, we talked much more than we wrote. Actually we did not write at all. That does not mean we didn't accomplish anything. We talked about writing. We talked about what we want to from our weekly dates. For her, she wants to flesh out ideas to turn into essays to submit to various publications. I need someone to bounce my ideas off of for my non-fiction book.

But that's not all. We talked about our pasts. We talked about our kids. We talked about our marriages. One of the things that came up was that it is difficult to stay connected with our spouses when there is a never-ending list of things to accomplish in our lives packed with play dates, trips to the park, and laundry. When Father in Chief comes home, we eat dinner as a family. Then it's medicine time, bath time, book time, and bedtime for the kids. We clean up, watch a bit of useless television, check email, and if we're lucky, we read for five minutes before succumbing to our exhaustion. There is so little time for ourselves. There is even less time for our relationship. AWF nodded as if I had just recited her life. Or at least it was her life until recently.

She recently initiated a new rule in her house. As soon as the kids are in bed, they sit together and talk for 15 minutes. No kids, no television, no computers, no distractions, no agenda. I immediately brought her simple idea home. The first night was horrible. We couldn't understand each other. We couldn't see each other's points of view. We couldn't hear each other. We fought. Probably because there was so much pent up stuff to talk about. It was a total failure. But we didn't give up.

We're only on day five, but I'm in it for the long haul. I want to be married forever and I don't want us to be strangers. You know, those old couples sitting in restaurants in total silence who ran out of things to say during the Reagan administration. This means we need to talk. We need to stay a part of each other's minutiae. What a simple and obvious idea. But when you have kids and jobs and responsibilities, it's not always easy. And maybe, just maybe, we'll eventually get to that other thing that only takes 15 minutes. One can dream anyway.


  1. Hi sweetie -

    We did this a while ago (before kids) when our jobs were getting stressful and our our lives seemed to be taking us away from each other. We started "board game night" - where we played a game together each Friday and spent some time together, instead of just parked in front of the TV. Now that we have 3 kids and stress is creeping back into our lives, I think it's time to restart this weekly ritual. Although maybe not board games this time - just some light music, some wine and time enough to relax and say what's on our minds.

  2. When I first started reading this post, I assumed you were talking about FIC going back to work after the holidays, not a bigger picture.

    My hubby and I might be on the more unusual end of things in this regard. We talk ALL the time, every day. Now I don't know if it's because I'm a talker by nature, but whenever I hear about couples not really talking to each other regularly, I am thankful for the 15 months that the hubby and I spent as weekend spouses - him working and living in northern CA during the week and me living in Tahoe and working in Carson City.

    We talked at least four times a day, every day during those 15 months. The morning call covered what we expected to happen in our days. The mid-day call covered what had happened in our mornings and what we expected to happen in the afternoons. The end of the work day call covered what had happened in the afternoon and the before bed call covered what we did with our evenings. Each of us knew about what was going on with each other's lives, where, and with whom for how long. We may have never met each other's people, but we knew them by name and could recognize them in our conversations.

    I think all of the calling encouraged us to learn how to keep talking to each other and it became a habit that I am thankful we have never broken. Now, of course, our mornings and evenings are recapped in person, but we still have our mid-day and on the way home from work calls.

    Now with our daughter, there is, of course, an added dimension to our conversations - "What did the kid do today?" And there are always some funny anecdotes.

    So, I recommend checking in with each other throughout the day, getting info to each other BEFORE you're both exhausted. It's easier to follow up on it later. Other ways we stay connected to each other - we try to read some of the same books, so we can talk about them. We both happen to enjoy talking about sports - for example, why does EVERYONE have to be so jealous of the New England Patriots and disrespect their superior players in the Pro Bowl selection? ;^) And the hubby peruses a couple of papers daily - the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Boston Globe . . . He keeps me informed on what's going on in the world and we talk about interesting stories.

    Now don't get me wrong. We watch our fair share of useless TV, more now that I'm pregnant. But since it IS useless, we like to entertain ourselves with our own running dialogue.

    But get back to me when #2 is here. :^)

    Good luck with your effort. I think it rocks!