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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Relationship Maintenance

View from our balcony
For a number of years during the period in our lives that our children were below the age of 8 years (with the youngest being 2 years of age) my wife and I hardly spent any quality time together during the week.  It was during that time that we decided to find a way to date even if only once or twice a month to maintain our sanity and romance strong.
It seems that all our waking hours were spent taking care of the children and their needs and wants. Responsibilities included taking care of my mother who had come to live with us at my wife’s invitation.  Don’t get me wrong my mother didn’t add to the list of chores, in fact she was a special blessing.  We could always trust my mother to look after the children for short amounts of time while my wife and I tended to the family business, and I of course also maintained a full time job (and at times night school).
Quite by accident we discovered a brand new hotel on the water front, when we took the children for ice cream and a stroll on the Marina.  I was so impressed by the location that I got away long enough to check out the rooms, and view, as well as the costs involved.  While there I made a reservation for a couple of weeks down the road.  It was meant to be a surprise get away for my wife, so I kept it to myself.
Our typical stay there included a chilled bottle of champagne, and twelve roses set up in advance of our arrival by the hotel (by pre-arrangement of course).  The place had what I considered a huge Jacuzzi in the master suite, and a balcony that was right over the water overlooking the Marina.  We most often had a rushed day even as our check-in time approached.  We would, however, always make time to stop at a grocery store to buy more fruit than we could eat (pears, apples, oranges, bananas, mangoes, etc.), and more magazines then we could read while spending one night away.
View from restaurant
Right next door was a new and considered amongst the best in the area, seafood restaurant. The evening consisted of a very nice and relaxed dinner, followed by a walk along the Marina.  Once back at the hotel we would relax in the balcony reading and enjoying the sound of seagulls over the sailboats anchored near our window.  We would follow this relaxed time by an even more relaxing time reading in the Jacuzzi.  Almost any talking we did was conversations about the children and what each one of us had been doing during the week.  The total cost for the one night normally ran in the neighborhood of $300 plus dollars, I know it sounds a little extravagant especially for early 1980’s, but look at the bright side:  we were 6 miles from home and could be there in under ten minutes if we were needed.  No cost for travel to out of state vacation.  Plus it saved us from spending that much or more on therapy.
Hotel Lobby
If I were to justify this post it would be simply to keep fresh in my mind the responsibilities that goes with forming and maintaining a loving relationship that endures beyond the years after the children leave the nest.  Saying I love you every day for a lifetime is important, but keeping the relationship fresh and interesting is equally important.  At some point when the children start arriving they totally disrupt the romance if you let them.  You owe total focus to the children, but that only means that you have to step up your game, and make time for the one person that you fell in love with and give adequate effort to the love affair.  I know that what I am talking about borders on a perfect life, and I’ve said it before that we are blessed.  None of our story was without effort.
If you are presently faltering even a little bit in your relationship, there is plenty of time to step up your game.  Keep in mind that it takes two to tango, but be persistent.  The best is yet to come…..

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