We watch a lot of television. Snuggling is our favorite, and it makes a good pairing. There are times we watch a whole season of a show in just under a week. But don’t start thinking all we do is sit in our PJ’s, eat bowls of cereal, and watch TV. We almost never wear PJ’s… We have ups and downs with our TV watching—one month we watch a lot, the next hardly any.
When we are watching TV and having our awesome snuggle time, it’s easy to think: “we have a great relationship”. And with a job where we both work together, plan together, and spend LITERALLY (imagine Chris Traeger saying this) every moment together, it’s easy to think, “we have a great relationship.” I mean how could you not, when you're cozying up or talking to each other all the time. But do we?
The short answer is yes—but not because of those two things. For us, the secret to being/feeling close has been spending “real time” together. Real time to me is when we can sit down, not talk about work, not talk about shows, but talk and ask real questions. Asking “how is your relationship with this person going?” Or, “do you feel like—insert particular thing—is going well?” And my personal favorite, “what can I do to make you feel more loved?” Okay, that’s actually more what “real time” for my wife is. Real time for me is playing a game of cards, or having her with me as I build IKEA furniture and feel like a real life RON SWANSON.
For my wife, it’s very important that I ask her those types of questions and don’t just ask, “how are you doing?” and expect her to immediately unload all of her feelings. And when I do ask specific questions, it’s like opening up a great vintage red wine and seeing the amazing color, and character of the wine. I don’t want my wife to stay bottled up and collect dust, so I ask specific questions.
This is why I love food so much. When eaten slow and at a sit-down meal, you have the perfect environment to ask questions and get to know each other. Some of the best conversations I have ever had with people was over a good meal. We have also shared many great conversations during road trips, small and big. They have been a huge way we have worked though problems, shared ideas, dreams, discussed whats a good trail-mix...(side not: this turned into a two hour conversation that was not actually about trail-mix).
Some of the questions I ask my wife:
1. What are two ways I could love you better?
2. What has been one of your favorite trips been?
3. What has your relationship with blank been like lately?
4. What has be two things I have done recently that really meant a lot to you?
5. What is something I might be able to do in order to increase your joy?
Last night for date night we partook in Belgian waffles, eggs, and bacon! Simple and easy to do with very little/no stress in the kitchen. Everything was about perfect as we sat down to eat, we had the music, the crispy hot waffles, and the adult beverages. Then. As I slathered my waffles with genuine REAL maple syrup, I notice a gooey green substance resting in my of my perfect waffle squares. What in the world? It was mold, the maple syrup had gone bad. After "calmly" telling Susannah, she picked up the bottle and read off, "refrigerate after opening." We had first opened it a few months (years?) ago and apparently did not think to do that...lesson learned.
Well, butter my biscuits (a new phrase I have been testing out with the focus groups), Susannah had made a total of 4 waffles, so we had two to spare and a bottle of Log Cabin (not so real maple syrup) to save us.
There are thousands of recipes for waffles--we tried out Bobby Flay's Belgian waffles and they were not bad. We gave them a 6 out of 10 (10 being the waffles you ask for when on death row). The next time we have waffles for date night we are going to try it with fried chicken and maple syrup (southern style).
We finished the night off with roasting marshmallows over our stove for some s'mores! It's much better because you are right next to a sink after to wash off your sticky face/entire body.