A friend recently shared with me an experience he had that later caused me to have an epiphany one night while taking a shower. It turns out he forgot to pay his cable television bill and as a result his cable service was terminated. After paying the “reconnect” fee Cable One couldn’t make the reconnection until four days later. This happened to be over a weekend. He complained about
missing his football games and cable news shows. He said it irked him to be without his television but interestingly he admitted he realized that he and his wife of eight years talked more, especially at mealtime as they had developed a habit of eating while watching television, which he admitted on a normal day resulted in very little conversation between them.
So I’m in the shower engaged in “mind wandering” when for some reason his experience kept floating back into my head. As I continued to reflect on this man’s story I realized that to him he viewed his situation as something of a drag – as something that pulled him out of his comfort zone and routine. We all have comfort zones and routines, right? It’s really not unlike what many of us had to go through after Hurricane Katrina, with half the town without habitable homes most of us found ourselves temporarily (some not so temporarily than others) living with a family member, friend, in-law or outlaw, and also without
electrical power for days to weeks. But on the contrary, I think most would agree that for many it was a time, intimate as the togetherness was and liked it or not, in which conversations were more frequent and longer among those having to share living space. It was kind of like being forced daily and frequently to
share with and listen to others share their feelings, opinions, troubles and travails, above and beyond the norm, the expected and routine.
And it was in this light that I had the shower epiphany, in the interest of refreshing or regenerating the bonding, the fondness and admiration, that often in many relationships, weakens, fades, or is often taken for granted. I wondered if perhaps such a similar experience would be helpful for some couples in strengthening or breathing fresh air back into what might otherwise be a stale
relationship. You might call this experience a Mini Marriage Retreat – and it comes with a few "rules of engagement" the purpose of which is to promote togetherness and (hopefully) intimacy. The nice thing too is that it’s inexpensive and you don’t have to pay a retreat director.
Your retreat is to be taken over a weekend – beginning from 6 pm Friday through 6 am Monday. Here are the rules:
§ The television is to be turned off at 6 pm Friday and is to be kept off except for watching DVD movies, which must be done together.
§ You must each be in or out of the house together (except in the case of cooking on the grill outside).
§ You may spend your time together as you please.
§ You are allowed to use only one vehicle. If one must run an errand in the car, the other must go along. You must be in our out of the car together, not alone.
§ Each of you must be responsible for individually cooking at least two meals, assuming you will eat seven meals over this weekend.
§ You must each be in or out of bed together. You must retire for the night together and arise together.
§ Each of you must compose an eight-line rhyming poem about anything you wish, and read it aloud to your partner.
§ If you decide to travel, you must travel together and stay together wherever you go.
§ You must light at least one aromatic candle after sundown.
§ You must create, make or build something, anything, out of anything, any size.
§ Reading books is allowed but at the end of your reading, you must share with your partner what you’ve just read – and it must be more than just a cursory summary.
You can make additional rules if you like but they must conform or promote a turning toward each other and not away from each other.
In case you are unable to agree on which weekend to do this, you can each write on two separate pieces of paper two upcoming weekends on the calendar that each of you would prefer. Place the six pieces of paper in a box. Flip a coin to see who picks the weekend out of the box and that’s the weekend you do it.
For many, the thought of being without a television for any period of time, (Lord knows!) an entire weekend, is totally out of the question. But just that thought, if it applies to you, may be just cause to make you stop and really think about what other things in your personal life you may be giving priority to over and above your relationship. It really comes down to what value you place on those various things in your life that are truly most important to you. Something to think about.
Since roses are red
And sugar is sweet
I hope you will choose
To make this retreat,
Because it may help
To make your ties strong
And hopefully make
Your relationship long!