One Sunday after attending the morning service at Unity on the River in Amesbury, MA, Hannah and I stayed after for a two-hour workshop on improving relationships. The counselor, Jim Goldstein of Powerful Partnerships, offered some good reminders for us.
For me, it is “easy” to be with Hannah. It’s just easy to chill with her, hang out with her, whether we are hiking or pickleballing or just in different parts of our house. “Easy” is one part why our marriage seems to work. Check out an excellent movie, Everybody Loves Somebody (2016), to see the importance of most of the time it being easy with your spouse. Click here to see a two-minute trailer of the film.
I believe raising a healthy family is like the instructions delivered by the flight attendant. “Put the mask on yourself first before you assist others.” Throughout our years together, I made a priority of my relationship with Hannah; that became the foundation for giving it our best shot to raise healthy, happy, appreciative, engaged, and loving kids. By the way, I believe the best thing a dad or a mom can do for their kids, is to love their spouse.
So, I leave you with six simple things from the workshop that we don’t always do, but that we sure as hell want to do.
- Have rituals that we do together (e.g. evening wine on our front deck or in front of the fireplace)
- Have date nights (e.g. Ruby’s in town for half-priced margaritas and nachos)
- Do nice things for each other (e.g. simple stuff, without being asked, like Hannah’s meal making and my dishwashing and laundry doing)
- Focus on what you like about the other one (e.g. for me, how she gives things a shot. For Hannah, how I encourage people)
- Touch a lot (we do every time just one of us leaves the house)
- Talk about real things, not just the business of getting through the day. (e.g. our relationship, our friends, our family, what’s ahead)
Simple, but not always so simple.