A few years ago, I gave my husband a simple and inexpensive valentine – a small, red notebook. Inside the front cover, I wrote a message to my sweetheart. I proposed, with this notebook in hand, we sit down a few times a year and talk about our marriage. My concept was to document our hopes and dreams for the coming months and what we’d like to work on personally, and as a couple, to enhance our relationship.
Initially, we pulled our notebook out of its drawer three or four times a year. We talked about our life together and our relationship and our desires and jotted down thoughts in our little book. We came away from our notebook sessions feeling engaged and energized about our ideas and plans. We realized our relationship, and we as individuals, are always changing.
Our notebook ideas give us direction – and a focus for growing and developing and adapting. We eventually added notebook time to New Year’s Day and our wedding anniversary. We schedule our notebook conversations as if they are a date, – and anticipate them – each of us planning what we will contribute. We keep it loose, not always on a set schedule, but always with a degree of specialness. We may spend time discussing things over dinner at a restaurant or a glass of wine on the patio.
We may talk about –
Sometimes we need more direction in our lives, and our notebook makes extra appearances. After our sons were grown, my husband’s job took us to a new city. Although the people in Nashville were extremely welcoming, we (especially me!) struggled. We were missing our 20-year history with Texas friends, our community, our infrastructure.
So – we began making step-by-step goals in our notebook. Go out to dinner with one new couple. Try a restaurant in our new neighborhood. Find a church. Call the person that my aunt knows and invite her to lunch. Introduce ourselves to three new neighbors. Sign up to volunteer. By making simple plans and goals in our notebook, we felt accountable to accomplish them. And, little by little, we met people and our new city became home.
This easy gift helps us appreciate each other and our relationship. It causes us to slow down, stop the busyness, make an effort. Our notebook dates are a reminder to tend to things between us, nurture our marriage, keep it thriving. It is fun to look back at prior entries and see where we were then, where we are now.
The biggest endorsement? My son and daughter-in-law have started their very own notebook.
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