June 6, 2020
Melissa and I have been married for just over 10 years. We were married the first weekend of December and Melissa moved to Wichita right before Christmas. That meant we needed to immediately figure out how to embrace our different family traditions for the season. This was further complicated by having to incorporate different religious and social traditions. I was surprised how easily this worked out. My family focused on Christmas Eve and Day so those were spent in Wichita. Due to extended family commitments, Melissa’s family gathering took place later in the week. That allowed us to travel to Arkansas and participate in her traditions as well. Since we spent Christmas in Wichita, the next year we decided to always spend Thanksgiving in Arkansas. This is the way we have celebrated since.
We recognized we needed to not only participate in larger family celebrations, but to create new traditions of our own. I have mentioned one of the Christmas traditions we have started is attending an IMAX movie on Christmas Day. This allows us to be with the family on Christmas morning but provides a transition into our own time. Being purposeful is important. We can purposefully join with both extended families while still purposefully creating time together.
While figuring how to manage the big holidays, we both realized we needed to be purposeful the rest of the year as well. We have devised two specific ways to accomplish this end. The first is to commit to stop what we are doing to listen when one of us has an issue or concern. We try to do this at least once a week, even if there is not a pressing issue. The second is a weekly Date Night. Because of our various work schedules, Thursday night seems to be the best. We have not always been able to achieve this goal, but we have found if we are not purposeful about it, it does not happen.
THOUGHTS: We have struggled with Date Night during the pandemic. We usually go out to eat on this evening. Between the restaurants being closed and the pressure of new jobs we have slipped. This changed last week as we purposefully ate a special meal at home (Dungeness Crab, one of our favorites). It is important to not allow distractions to move you from your focus. We need to decide what is important in our life, community, nation, and world. Then we need to be purposeful in working toward solutions that can bring systemic change. If you venture out, stay safe.