Being together isn’t the same as being connected. How this work-from-home couple is making love a priority.
Late last year, my wife and I had a heart to heart talk. Though our marriage was in fairly decent shape, we knew that fairly decent was far less than either of us wanted.
We both work from home and spend more time together than most couples are afforded. However, much of the “togetherness” we enjoyed amounted to little more than occupying the same general space; a far cry from the true togetherness we craved.
So as 2016 began, we agreed upon some easy-to-implement strategies that, six weeks into the year, have had a dramatic impact on our relationship.
#1 — Co-Journaling
This was my wife’s idea, one that I resisted at first. What is it? She suggested the two of us begin journaling, but not in separate journals. She wanted us to write in the same one.
Actually, the more I thought about it, the more this made sense. Though I’ve started personal journals several times, I’ve never been able be as consistent as I’d like. Maybe involving my wife would help hold me accountable.
And while the idea of keeping a journal together sounded a bit strange to me at first, the reality was my wife and I were finding it hard to have certain conversations. Could journaling together help us “get everything out on the table?” Turns out, yes.
It’s actually been fun. I worried at first it might turn into a list of complaints about what one is not doing to help meet the other’s needs. Instead, it’s led to conversations I don’t believe we would’ve had otherwise. This has both strengthened and deepened our marriage.
#2 — Day Dates
Turns out our back and forth journaling directly led to us starting another tradition. Setting aside a specific time each week for just the two of us. It took our journaling together to identify this mutual desire.
I’m guilty of rarely taking the initiative to plan date nights and, frankly, we both prefer to stay in if given the choice. But we decided it was important to take time in the middle of the day that belonged to no one else but us.
In our case, it was important that this be a weekday (we like Wednesday’s). As we’re both working from home, it’s easy for us to get caught up in what our clients need from us, letting time with each other slip away.
By protecting time in the middle of the day and in the middle of the week, we feel as if we’re saying to each other, “You’re more important to me than anything else.”
If your work doesn’t allow for this during the week, simply pick a consistent day and time that will work. The important thing is you stick to it once you decide on when it will be.
#3 — Weekly Connections
Though we were less intentional at first about this one, we’ve come to realize the importance of setting aside an evening each week to spend time with family or friends (or both). Sometimes it’s a weeknight; most times the weekend.
Rather than wait for invitations to “do stuff,” we actively seek out these opportunities. It might be dinner with friends or a visit from the in-laws to enjoy a meal and a few episodes of our latest Netflix indulgence, but the important thing is we connect with others as a couple.
The distinction here is in the planning. We’re less likely to wait for these moments to just happen like we used to, and that’s important. Otherwise, they rarely do. The plans don’t have to be extravagant. If you and your spouse are homebodies like us, open your home.
We plan this time with people we care about days or even weeks in advance. We anticipate and look forward to it. If you’re always “playing it by ear,” and waiting for offers, you deny yourself the opportunity to look forward to these moments as that’s part of the enjoyment.
My wife and I have both worked from home for nearly three years. Despite the increased time together, if I’m honest, we’d begun to drift apart.
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