It’s been almost two weeks since my tenth anniversary weekend.
I wish I could say that I have found an effortless way to incorporate everything I learned that weekend into my life now that my husband and I are home and back in the trenches.
It’s pretty fucking hard to slow down and make time and to stay awake late enough so that you can have sex more than once a week, or month, when the demands of parenthood reenter your life.
So it’s a process.
But I have figured a couple things out.
There are some things I’m doing that aren’t helping.
Some things that are changeable.
My husband and I spend very little time together now that we are home.
Some of it is situational. Between the kids, the jobs, the sports, the homework, the colds…
There isn’t a lot of extra time.
But there is some.
If we make it.
And I’m not doing very well with setting boundaries in the work department.
As soon as I get a free minute, I’m figuring out how much work I can accomplish in those 60 seconds.
Yesterday my husband and I went to see our therapist, as we do every Thursday afternoon.
She said, “This time excuse keeps coming up. I’ve got a challenge for you.”
We looked at each other, and then back at her.
“I want you to make time for two, one-minute hugs every day. Can you do that?”
We both kind of rolled our eyes and then answered, “Yes.”
I will give my husband the obligatory hug before he runs out the door in the morning.
But never for more than a couple seconds.
So the first thing I learned in therapy…
And I don’t remember all the technical stuff.
But basically it’s this.
When you have physical contact with someone, for longer than the dismissive two-pats-on-the-back hug ,
when you really hug someone (or have any type of close, body to body contact for at least a minute), your body produces a feel good chemical called oxytocin.
Kind of brings new meaning to let’s hug it out.
So rather than kill each other, I guess our therapist is trying to get us to kill two birds with one stone.
First, there is no reason we can’t at least make two minutes during a 24-hour period for each other.
And making those two minutes be productive,
A few months ago, our therapist also advised against scheduling a regular date night into our schedule because when you do that, you don’t really have to focus on being intentional.
What does that mean?
Well, it is my intention to spend more time with my husband.
On a regular basis. Every day.
Ideally, I will find ways every day to make sure I spend at least a little bit of time of time just with him.
Scheduling a once-a-week date night means you might get lazy.
You might not even think about being intentional because you know that on that one date night, you’ll have some time.
So the rest of the week you forget about it.
You aren’t mindful of that.
I get that.
But our schedules are so crazy right now.
And we are so far off track in the spending-time-together department that I think we need to break the rules a little bit.
At least I do.
The other day I went on a walk with a new friend.
She was telling me that every year on her anniversary, she and her husband go away.
They don’t just go to the same place, though.
And my friend isn’t always responsible for making the plans.
She and her husband take turns.
This year, my new friend is planning the trip.
Next year, her husband will plan it.
And they have done this for years.
Always surprising the other person with the destination.
I just love that.
For more than one reason.
First, I think it’s such a fun idea.
But second, I think it solves one of the biggest problems many wives face in a marriage.
I know I am not the only woman to utter the words, For once, I wish my husband would plan something for us to do.
I am tired of being the one to come up with the plan.
So now I am going to kill two birds with one stone.
I had this idea.
We have one week night a week with no practices or plans or anything.
A night where everyone is home, and we aren’t running around or obligated to be in seven different places at the same time.
A night where we can get everyone into bed at a reasonable hour.
So my proposal is that my husband and I reserve that night for us.
That from 9:00 to 10:00 every Wednesday night, we will have a meeting.
Maybe the meeting will be just to catch up.
Maybe it will be something a little more romantic.
We will take turns coming up with the agenda for that hour.
Here are the rules for the plans:
1) you must be on time
2) you may not plan the same thing twice in a row on the nights you are responsible for making plans.
That way, we can’t say “Why do we always do what you want to do?”
“Why do I always have to make the plans?”
And while this regularly scheduled hour may not force us to always focus on being intentional,
it’s a start.
Now I have to go.
It’s almost 9 p.m. and I still have two minutes of hugging left to do.