Welcome to Married Mondays! I don't know if this is going to be a thing, but we shall see where it goes. Likely you're in a relationship if you're here and you'll have some of the same struggles we have had in our marriage. And if there is one thing I believe in whole heartedly is that we are worthy of love and belonging within our relationships.
2020 was a hard season on us and we're all still grieving it and in it! Our brains are tired, we're emotionally tired. It's been a lot fam! Yes, I just said "fam" because you're here - in my private space of the world - you're fam. Welcome Cuz... anyway moving on...
V and I do not have the perfect marriage. What we do have is the most perfect imperfect marriage and it got here with work. Lots of it. Work doing all the things that take effort and empathy with lots of learning curves along the way. Now does that work just happen automatically? Heck no! Amazing things take time and energy! Amazing things need time and dedication. Most of all - great and amazing marriages need to be made a priority.
Last week I was having a check in with a friend over the phone, because we're still in a no gathering state (sup, Covid in January 2021) and she mentioned that years ago I gave her some marriage advice that I had heard regarding seasons. Your marriage has seasons which indicate what times are best to work on it. If you're barely surviving and head above water - this isn't the time to dig deep and unearth every aspect of your life. You need to get to the dock or the shore if you feel like you're drowning and then once you're safe - start unpacking what you need to do. I had completely forgotten about marriage Seasons until she re-mentioned it.
It's January of 2021 and let's just say setting goals and dreams is weird, am I right? We have basically next to zero certainty of our world and we're constantly adjusting our expectations of what life is going to look like moving forward while at the same time trying to stay in the present moment. And if you're one of my couples from 2020 or 2021 - we're all in a anxious state of - is the dance floor coming back to BC this here or are we dancing in our zoom rooms?
One of our January goals as a couple is to dig deep into connection with one another and I was thinking I'd share some things that seem to be working for us. If you're feeling disconnected from your partner, I'm not saying this will absolutely 100% work, but for us - it sure is! We've set a weekly goal of trying to do an activity together, so far it's been making a point of going on a walk together despite it being winter. It's something so easy to do that is quality time together, we're walking and valuing our health together and fun tid bit, we're walking in the same direction - together (totally robbed this gem from John Gottman). I love that idea.
We've also set a goal of a date night a week. Data shows that happy couples make date nights a priority once a week. Now, I scoffed when I heard this - thinking... "I see V every night, we eat dinner together, we watch tv or movies together - we don't really need a date night or are we already having a date night? But why don't I feel super connected?" The 'A Ha' moment - que the lit up light blub! I didn't feel super connected because we were 'together' but doing something separately.... watching a movie or tv, eating dinner and quickly moving along to the next thing, on our phones.... so here we are, trying to do a weekly date night.
What does that look like? Well, we're testing out John Gottman's - 8 Dates. I don't know if this is going to be ideal for all couples. To be honest, if you're in a real shit storm - this isn't going to cut it for you - seek a therapist asap. BUT - if you're just feeling disconnected from your spouse, this might be a great first step and I'll tell you why...
So far we've done 1 date and what I can tell you after that first week is I feel more connected to V than I have been in a long time in a different way that I don't know if I can fully explain it. We sat together on the couch and read the intro + date 1 and then flipped a coin to decide who would be planning Date #1. We picked a day and put it on the calendar and all week - I was getting legitly so excited for it. All the anticipation I felt I had missed since we were newly together dating! Come Friday night, I'm already excited and we did one of our other goals of an activity together and went for a walk at La Farge Lake in Coquitlam. They have it lit up still from Christmas till the end of the month. We were starting to pave the way to connection.
So V got it in the coin toss - he had to plan our first date. V solidly dislikes planning aka they just don't often happen unless I plan them. But he's in this with me and took care of our date night and nailed it. We followed the instructions in the book and he planned where we would go, what we would do, ample time and we brought the book to go over specific questions it asks you to do on these dates. He planned a date afternoon in woods - we went out to Goldenears Park and he brought wood for a fire at the day camp use area. He packed camping chairs, a blanket for me (I'm permanently cold always), snacks and made hot chocolate in our thermos. When he got the fire going, we sat and we went through the questions in the book and by the end of the date we felt connected and just kept rolling with that feeling. The date didn't end at the park but continued onto at home where we sat around together talking and then in our super awesomely budgeto inflatable hot tub for hours (yes, it's pretty rad and inexpensive hot tub for a 2020 pandemic purchase). It was such an awesome night to reconnect together.
Another fun thing I've always wanted to do but finally purchased was Table Topics. I got a set for my parents this Christmas called "road trips" and my mom was raving about them. She said her and my dad started having some really great conversations with them over the holidays. I always wanted to buy a set of cards but never did until this month. We've done 1 or 2 cards a day randomly, sometimes at dinner or I've taken couple up to bed and we usually answer them while cuddling before we fall asleep. Another awesome way to connect or a great gift idea. Link here. - Table Topic's Couples Edition There's a whole bunch of Table Topics including family friendly, girls nights etc. I know for sure I'll be picking more up in the future.
Anyway, I don't know if this book or cards set would have the same effect for you as a couple, but hey, you never know and if you were feeling like you need to reconnect. Give it a go! See what happens. Investing into your marriage is always worth a shot and in the grand scheme of things $30 - is nada.