Relationship Reset

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I don’t know about the rest of you, but there are times in a relationship when you just have to hit the reset button.  You find yourself in a rut.  Mike’s and my rut sounds like this:

Me: Good morning.

Mike: Hi, how are you today?  Did you sleep well?

Me:  Pretty well.  How was your work day?

Mike:  Story (…he tells me the latest while I’m eating breakfast or getting Isabelle ready for school). Usually I give him a quick kiss good-bye and tell him I love him and Isabelle and I rush out the door as he prepares to go to bed for the day.

Later the same day…

Me: (arriving home from work).

Mike:  Hi, how was your day?

Me: Fine.  Did you sleep well?

Mike:  So-so. Or sometimes he’ll say, I slept really hard today.

Me:  What time did you wake up? And what have you been doing?

Mike: (tells me whatever time he woke and anything he accomplished—laundry, dishes out of dishwasher, etc.)

I commence making dinner and going about the business of the evening until Mike leaves for work at 9 p.m.

I regularly feel like Rosita the mama pig in the animated movie “Sing” who builds a contraption to do all of her chores and records herself saying the exact same things every day to all the people in her life and they don’t even know that she’s not really there.  Life on autopilot.

We are one of many couples who work completely opposite from one another—I work a more traditional day from 8 to 5 and Mike works third shift from a little after 9 p.m. to 7 a.m.  This schedule creates additional challenges but we know we are not unique.  We struggle to build intimacy because there’s so little time to talk and grow a friendship.  Conversations become about logistics of who is going where, when and whether or not we need to arrange rides for our daughter.

Left alone, this is a recipe for disaster which is why early on we purposefully imposed date nights and opportunities to hit the reset button on our relationship.  Sometimes that reset button is as simple as taking a car ride early on a beautiful morning to get coffee and a donut—just the two of us.  Or walking the dog together on the weekend.  Other times it’s an evening out with friends laughing and creating memories.

Recently we took a weeklong (adults only) trip to Telluride, Colorado and had the opportunity to really spend some time together.  And you know what?  We still like each other!  We walked and talked and, more importantly, we dreamed together—something we had not done in many years.  It felt so good to spend time envisioning a future for ourselves that we could be proud of and feel a real connection to one another.

You may be wondering if I have a point.  Yep.  The point is, our closest partner relationships are the most important relationships we have with other people.  We need to set aside time to nurture them and foster their growth.  In order for our families and communities to thrive, each and every one of us has to be committed to the relationships around us and hitting the reset button is a reminder to put them first.

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