How Eliminating the "Screens" Helps Us Stay Connected

My husband Billy and I have been married for 18 years. I think our marriage is a pretty typical one between two, busy, working parents. We date on average once every 4-6 weeks. Though that may not seem like a lot of dating to some people, we have nightly “at home dates.” If you are friends with us on Facebook, you know where you can find us after our son Liam is in bed—on our patio near our firepit. We plug in our “baby” monitor to ensure we can hear Liam, and we re-connect with each other. However, we haven’t always had this tradition…

Several years ago, I asked Billy for a very unconventional birthday present- a gas firepit. Some women ask for jewelry, not me lol. An ex-co-worker of mine had recently received a gas firepit from his wife for his birthday, and he told me how wonderful it was for them to share special time, with no distractions, at their firepit. When I mentioned that I wanted a gas firepit for my birthday present, Billy didn’t take me too seriously. In fact, he didn’t get it for me! I didn’t do a good job hiding my disappointment, and he very quickly replaced my gift with what I had wanted all along.

In the beginning, firepitting was a seasonal activity for us. Something we would do once or twice a week during the fall and winter months. Billy and I would listen to nostalgic music, drink something toasty, and chit chat. Other times, we would firepit early and make it a family affair with Liam. That always included roasting marshmallows or going all out making smores. Our firepit soon became my “happy place.”

This past (early) spring, our firepit time changed.  A good friend of mine’s mother was killed tragically in an accident. Another friend lost her battle with cancer. I was also going through weird health issues.  I knew that I couldn’t make sense of anything that was going on because there was no logical explanation for any of it. I was very sad, confused, and anxious. I didn’t want to escape (as I did so often) into our weekly tv shows. I needed to talk to my best friend-my husband. Billy has always been a calm in life’s storms, my rock.

So it began: every evening we put Liam to bed. We grab the baby monitor, the ignitor for the firepit, a cool drink, and our phones for Pandora. Sometimes we listen to the tunes of MJ, Journey, or Petty, or we listen to the music of our neighborhood crickets and coyote.  Sometimes we pull the patio furniture off our covered patio, so we can sit under the stars near our (other) in ground firepit. I think every topic has been covered at the firepit lol. We try to keep it a place of relaxation, reflection, and renewal. At first, I think it was hard for Billy to give up nightly viewing of his shows, but he has told me recently that he loves coming out to the firepit as much as I do now.

We are so thankful for our firepit time.  It is a perfect setting for a “at home date.” We hope that you and your spouse are able to find special time together as well, away from the distractions of life. It may not be at a firepit. Maybe you do something else! We would love to hear what you do! If this inspires you to turn off the television, and re-connect with your spouse, please let us know!

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