When I was writing for the Journal of Christian Coaching I had the chance to share some thoughts on spending time together as couples...this article is timeless...Make Time, Make Friends and Make Out. What are you waiting for?
“Hola, Senorita! Hola, Senor! ¿Hay algo que puedo conseguir para usted?
Is there something I can get for you today?”
We smile at him from our poolside perch, and peruse the swim up bar menu. Nachos with guacamole, chicken quesadillas, club sandwich or just plain old chips and salsa, they all sound good but what we really want isn’t listed on the menu. I close the menu and offer it back to our own personal waiter who will continue to carefully monitor our needs for the rest of the week.
“No, gracias, quizá más adelante.”
No thank you, maybe later.
He nods in understanding, and disappears into the sea of poolside umbrellas.
Grant settles onto his chaise while I pull my hat a little lower on my face. I dig into my tote and pull out my Ipod, dialing up my favorite playlist. It’s early, the sun just beginning to peek through the bands of palm trees offering a warmth that my weary soul has been craving for weeks. I mentally banish the images of my overflowing inbox and the nagging suspicion that I’ve left the freezer door open, and instead join Sade in singing Smooth Operator.
“Honey,” I whisper across the chaise, to my husband who is reclined beneath the umbrella. He opens one eye and grunts sleepily.
“This is exactly what we needed,” I say and kiss him gently on the nose. He winks at me, then covers his face with his hat and almost immediately begins to snore. Hoping for rest, reconnection and relaxation, this trip was something we had looked forward to for months.
You might be thinking, “Well, there’s no way we can get away for a whole week.” Or, “I’d just be happy with a weekend, or even an afternoon.” I can certainly relate to those sentiments, and while we waited for our treasured Mexican siesta, we found ways to break away, if only for an hour.
For as long as Grant and I have been married, almost 19 years now, we’ve tried sometimes with success and sometimes without, to make time to be together. Before kids it was easier, but when kids arrived, our coveted “together time” became our coveted “alone time”. Honestly there were days when as much as we wanted to go on a date, we were both so exhausted that we just wanted to be left alone. I’m smiling now as I think about those days. They were crazy, but made less so by the babysitting co-op we eventually joined with three other families. That little group changed our lives. We found ourselves on three of four Friday evenings able to get a little R&R while the kids played with their friends for the evening. Did we feel like going out every single chance we could? Nope, not every time, but more often than not, making the effort always paid off. On these extra effort nights, we’d order take out and then come home to our own couch, and DVD player, and snuggle up. Making time, even when you don’t feel like it, even when maybe you would rather be irritated or angry about something, really makes all the difference. Usually at the end of those nights we’d go to bed smiling.
I love the term, “Favorite Friend” and use it with Grant all the time. He is my “Favorite Friend” and sometimes when we’ve been running in different directions, he with traveling and me with kid activities, we disconnect and lose the focus on our friendship. We were friends first, before we were anything else. As we endeavor to make time, it helps us to make friends with each other again.
When was the last time you actually sat across from the dinner table and could have a conversation with your mate without being interrupted or better yet, when was the last time you actually sat at the dinner table together? How long has it been since you played together, laughed together, or just sat on your patio and held hands? These are the things we forget that connected us to begin with. Think about the activities you did together when you were first getting to know each other and then see if there is room for any of those things in your life today. Grant and I are about to learn to country dance because it sounds like fun, will help us be friends and will most definitely give us something to laugh about. It will take effort, but our friendship is worth it.
Alright men, before you read any further you should know in a woman’s mind there isn’t a whole lot of room for “Making Out” unless you’ve “Made Time” and “Made Friends” with her first. If you’re hoping to be intimate with your sweetheart any time soon, and I’m talking about the kind of intimacy that harkens back to your early married days when every time she walked into the room you wanted to swing her over your shoulder and traipse back down the hall from whence she came, you may want to consider the order in which you go about taking a break with her. Making Time and Making Friends do certainly help lead her to Making Out, but be careful here. Before you move to the Making Out phase, please do some romancing, some pursuing and some plain old fashioned wooing.
And ladies, before you start nodding your heads thinking to yourselves, “Yep, that’s what I’m talking about,” you may want to consider a shower and a little makeup before the love of your life walks in the door. As much as he loves you in your natural state, he will definitely appreciate the time you took to clean yourself up. He’ll think you did it for him…and he’ll notice. I promise.
Grant gets home tonight after being away for an entire week. I can’t wait to make time, make friends and yes, make out.
Allison Johnson is the founder of Resurrectedgirl Personal Development Coaching and is the author of Waking Up in the Middle of Nowhere. She lives with her husband Grant and her two children in Rockwall, Texas.