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I’ve got the answer to this one today.

Because husband and I talked at length about it last night through tears.

If there’s one way to surely fuck up your relationship it’s take on a full renovation!

Life’s a bit hard right now. We have too much uncertainty about affordability and too much to do before we need to remortgage in May. We currently reside in a no-man’s land of stress.

As such, our minds are consumed with the mammoth tasks ahead, or the worry about money/work/[insert usual adult day-to-day stress here].

It means our relationships are suffering. Not just the two of us as a married couple, but as parents to Blake too. It’s really having an effect on him I’m sad to say.

After many door slams, too much ranting (on my part) and too many tears last night we finally softened and folded into each other and vowed things have to change.

There’s one simple answer here – more quality time together all round.

 

Today I’m in Brighton for a weekend business retreat with a twist.

Today I was in a room with 50 entrepreneurs, many who are solo workers. Today we all had to stand up and say why we were there. I’d say a good 70% said the same phrases;

“To meet people in the flesh”

“To make friends”

“To connect”

Isn’t it sad that in some ways we are MORE connected than ever before. I mean you can Skype your Great Aunt Sally who lives in Australia and feel like she’s in the same room. Yet you can also be in the same room with the people you love most and they may as well BE in Australia.

Our phones and devices keep us connected digitally but they stunt and limit our human connection.

Tonight we all went to an inflatable play centre and really got to strengthen our human connections through fun and laughter. It was brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.

 

Some Commitments to Connection

If you’re reading this and you know you need to put the phone down and connect with actual real people here’s some ideas;

– Phone people. Actually call them not message. I put a message out on social media this week on #TimetoTalk day and said my phone was on if anyone wanted to talk. Speaking to old friends and actually conversing was beautiful and beneficial to both of us. I LOVED it. Stop the Whatsapp message and 23 emojis for a minute and actually use your voice. You get more words out ands can ‘hear’ emotion in a voice compared to text.

Hand write a note of appreciation to someone. Nothing says thank you like a hand written card. Don’t hold back – be honest about why they mean so much to you

Date night for couples. It’s something we personally don’t do but I think it would help us. I did look into going away and reconnecting over a ‘sensual’ weekend. But then I googled ‘couples sensual weekend away’ and wish I hadn’t! If you’d like to do the same, go ahead and be my guest. No judgement but dungeon BDSM bedrooms aren’t my bag!

Kids date day. I do this often with my boy when his Dad is working on call. We go out to a restaurant and we order nice food and have a good chat. No phones, no iPad. It is brilliant for spending quality time with him.

Explore the great outdoors. Get yourselves outside. Borrow a dog or walk the one you have. Get the kids to take the bikes or the scooters. Hold hands. Talk about your dreams and hopes for the future.

Advance organised fun. Our mate John puts ‘organised fun’ in his diary when the boys get their dates in for communal boys’ nights out. Planning these in advance every few months is vital for maintaining friendships. Make it a habit before you leave your next social gathering or you see each other face that you book the next meet up in the diary.

Because if you try and do it too close to the date you know what happens – nobody is available! So get them booked straight away or even better, book them in for the year! That way you’re more likely to commit to them. Lunch with the girls. Night out with the lads. Afternoon tea with mum. Get it planned in advance, have something to look forward to and stick to it. Similarly, if you use the phrase “we really should meet up for coffee/dinner/a chat/a drink” more than once with someone you like, instead of answering with “yeah” why not sort a date that is mutually convenient there and then?

OK that’s it from me today. I promised I’d do this every day but right now it’s past midnight and Cinderella needs her pumpkin face mask and sleep.

Gem x