For the first time in almost a score of years, my wife and I found ourselves looking at each other – without any distractions. No errands to run, no dishes to wash, no mess to clean up. With kids safely with their grandparents, we found ourselves filled with joy, like happy teenagers whose parents are off to Hawaii for a month!!
We giggled at silly things, binge watched ‘Chuck’, walked the beach and ate fish ‘n chips!! As hours turned to days and days into weeks, we found ourselves coming to the end of that joyous overture. Yes, the late night pizza from Old World was still awesome, Sylvester Stallone could still kick butt and you can always count on Seinfeld for a good laugh. But not having children around was getting a bit unnerving. Not that we were tired of each other, but our bond felt incomplete without children.
During this time of togetherness, we learned a few things. Lessons that will come in handy once the kids are married off and starting their own lives. We learned what is needed to sustain and revive a relationship.
First, never take your partner for granted. They work equally hard to deserve your respect. They are there to hold you when you stumble, and they are there to hug you when you crumble. Your partner is your pillar of strength, so respect that trust and honour that bond.
Secondly, develop the strength and security of being alone, in yourself and with each other. Our differences make us interesting; out commonality makes us one. Find those things that bind you together, be it a game of monopoly or lying on the couch all by yourself, reading a book your partner cares about.
Thirdly, be realistic about your expectations of each other. We all change with time. The person whom you met is very different than the person you are with now. Talking about ‘Remember when … ‘ will revive those happy memories and pave the way for a better relationship. My wife and I did that a lot and plan to continue doing so.
Fourthly, make time. You do not need to spend money to show your partner you care, but you need to make time for them. Your honest gratitude is all they need. Make time to leave all the distractions behind, hold their hand and go out for a walk. A park will make equally good memories as a beach where sunset can be cherished.
As the day of Children’s arrival came closer, we cherished every moment that had been afforded us, and reflected on the strength we had gained from this time of togetherness. Then we readied the house with affection, and embraced our children with love when they arrived, thus completing our bond – as a family.
When moments of solitude find you, I invite you to think of your partner and ponder the wisdom of these words:
“They are a garment for you
and you a garment for them…”