Father’s Day is Sunday, and if you have a partner and forgot about them, you’re not alone. Between work, side hustles, kids’ activities, and friends and family events, we’re sometimes (most of the time) ships in the night. Our deepest conversations are often about who’s picking up the kids, what’s for dinner, and when the toddler last used the potty. While my husband and I have always been good communicators, sometimes we find ourselves sitting in silence, absentmindedly scrolling newsfeeds after the loud tiny humans go to sleep. Next thing you know, it’s time to hop back on our computers for work until we pass out, wake up and do it all over again.
When I was in college, I noticed my parents reacquainting themselves with each other. They started going on dates again and had things to do that didn’t involve me (shocking)! While I don’t wish to hurry these precious years we have all living under the same roof, I do hope my husband and I grow closer together as partners in this journey. We’ve been together 11 years, so it’s always nice to find ways to keep things fresh. Date nights might not always be doable, but finding some “you two” time is important. Here are some of my favorite slow down, say hello, date-your-partner moments:
- Use your commute. My husband and I spend most of the morning shuffling ourselves and two children out the door, so we’re only mildly late to our first meetings of the day. We intentionally spend a few mornings per week on the phone during our 30-minute drives to work. We’re typically in some kind of traffic, so it’s refreshing to take your mind off the stand-still cars and spend some time “together.” Sometimes we synch our schedules for the week, other times we talk about our careers or dream vacations, but mostly we just acknowledge the other person exists.
- Set a reminder to check-in. Maybe you and your partner are great at connecting, or maybe you’re a normal human being and forget to say hello to your person every once in a while. I started testing a service called Relate. It’s like a tiny reminder to check in with your partner. It’s not an app, so you don’t have to delete your 5,000 kid photos. All you do is text (612) 806-0144 and the system gets to work. You answer some simple questions about yourself, and then every once in a while, it will send you prompts to think about your relationship. Some are as simple as sending a text about whatever you’re thinking in that moment and some are more intensive like being positive towards them when you normally wouldn’t…like maybe when he leaves a dirty diaper on the changing table…I’m working on it. It only takes about three minutes a week, and the texts tend to come in the middle of the crazy, reminding me to slow down and refocus on my first love.
- Find some nature. This is hard. What if there’s an emergency? Work calls? Someone posts something interesting on Instagram? My husband and I recently went to Iceland, where we had limited cell service, but unlimited hiking and exploring the mountains, glaciers, and hot springs. We had the privilege to take the trip without the nuggets, but there are plenty of Minnesota State Parks, lakes, and trails to get lost in. Take the cell service away and you have one last distraction, even if you have your kids with you. When we’re without our pocket computers, our conversations are deeper, we’re more creative, and we get a break from the 24 hour news cycle!
- Cook together. I know, sometimes this means a plate of microwave cheese nachos. But someone has to spread the chips out and someone has to sprinkle the cheese. Like nature, there’s something about food that brings people together in a more meaningful way. It’s something the whole family can do, but my husband and I sometimes wait to cook dinner until after the kids are asleep. Sure, we eat a little later (just call us Europeans), but the time together before we crack open our laptops again is never taken for granted. Seriously, just 10 minutes over a plate of cheesy chips, talking about something other than your kids can make a huge difference.
Whether you can get away together or just steal a moment when the kids are in bed, it’s nice to remember you’re in this together. This Father’s Day, between all the brunch, golf, and kid-carting, don’t forget to say hello to that person in your bed.