Smart Loving by Francine and Byron Pirola
AS we fall across the ‘Christmas-NY’ line, we look back on the past month with a sigh of relief and a tinge of regret.
Yet another frantic Advent with barely time to think about Jesus or our loved ones except to curse the ones who obstinately remain difficult to buy for.
Every year, we swear to do it differently next year, yet it seems that we fail to meet our own expectations year after year.
But now, it’s time to really slow down.
Done with the rushing and speed shopping like a crazed trolley driver moving with the attitude of a road train crossing the Nullarbor.
Breathe. And again.
Our Australian summer is the quintessential time to regroup, recreate and most importantly, reconnect with each other.
While our family and friends are important, we find we have to remind ourselves at this time of year they are not as important to us as each other.
We used to make the mistake of filling up our summer break with all the catch-up appointments and gatherings that have been accumulating over the year without first clearing the backlog of time owed to our marriage.
As a result we would find ourselves going back to work and school routines without having attended to the vital needs of our marriage relationship.
Of course, that’s not always easy.
Like most people, when we have neglected our marriage for a while, there will be some unresolved stuff that’s waiting for a conversation.
Not the ideal way to relax, but really, if we ignore those niggling issues, they hang about like a blowfly at a barbecue – pesky darn things that keep interrupting our fun and end up ruining what would have otherwise been a great time.
Nothing saps your energy together like a lingering disagreement or a hostile atmosphere.
Here’s a simple activity we’ve used for years that helps us ease into a gentle reconnection.
We call it the Connect Hug.
It’s simply that. A one or two minute hug (yes, at least 60 whole seconds), wherever we happen to be – the bedroom, the kitchen, the garden, at the supermarket.
Just hold each other in a close embrace and breathe.
Breathe in the scent of each other and breathe out the tension and distraction.
Breathe in all the goodness of our spouse and breathe out the pain, the hurts, the disappointments.
Breathe in and claim our longing for intimacy and breathe out to release our fear and independence.
Breathe. Just breathe and hold each other.
Before long, we notice a physiological shift – our heart rate slows and our blood pressure settles.
We feel more centred, more grounded, more connected to each other and to our common dream.
Holding each other like this makes approaching a difficult conversation easier. It makes everything easier.
So this summer, don’t forget to reconnect with each other.
You’ll return from the break with more energy, more focus and more delight in being who you are called to be as a couple.
Francine and Byron Pirola are the co-authors of the SmartLoving Series at www.smartloving.org
See smartloving.org/connect-hug for more information on this story.