Dear Husbands and Wives:
In my book, 52 Ways to Connect as a Couple, I spend one chapter challenging couples to get active. Including ideas like kayaking, zip-lining, and taking a Segway tour. But the next chapter, might present a dozen even better ideas.
That chapter recommends you take life down a notch to stop and smell the roses. To take a break from texting, deadlines, clients, bosses, classrooms, and time clocks. To be grateful. To remember, together. To hold hands and be friends again.
Just a few ideas:
Concerts in the Park. Within a short drive – or maybe in your own hometown – there’s a downtown park that features summer concerts once a week. Or maybe a music festival that goes on for an entire week. The type of music isn’t nearly as important as the atmosphere. Bring lawn chairs and join the other couples, families, and teenagers enjoying life. It’s usually free.
Go back to high school. Even if you live far from your old alma mater, head over to your local high school for an occasional ball game, choir concert or theatre production. There’s a vibe on most high school campuses that gives you hope for the future.
Horsedrawn carriage. This is one of those things you’ve always wanted to do. Clip-clop through Central Park or around a small town square. Snuggle up and celebrate your life together.
Drive-in Movie. According to Mental Floss there are 336 drive-in movie theaters remaining. On a clear summer night, find one. Maybe even watch the movie.
Take the tour bus. For years, I dismissed the idea of sitting on a bus while some wannabe comedian squawked over a tinny microphone about who this building was named after or what happened a hundred years ago at this intersection. But Rita and I tried it once, and it gave us an entire new appreciation for Chicago. Then we tried it again in Dublin visiting our daughter, Rae Anne, at college. In one afternoon, you can see an entire downtown area saving footsteps, energy and cab fare.
Acquire some hard-to-get tickets. To a professional sporting event, rodeo, monster truck rally, symphony, or the reunion tour of your favorite rock band from high school. Something you’ll talk about for years.
County fairs. Stay away from the rickety tilt-a-whirl. Stay away from the sticky, greasy, deep fried elephant ears. But go ahead and waste ten bucks on the skills booths. You won’t win anything. The rifle sights are bent, the basketball rim is oval, and the milk bottles are weighted and can't be knocked over. But it’s still a hoot. The carnival barkers can be pretty entertaining as long as you keep your cool and keep your hand on your wallet.
Recreate your first date. Ask her out with the same hesitant words. Rent the same movie. Go to the same restaurant. Play the same music. Talk about the same topics. Relive the same awkward good night kiss (or not.)
Rent your dream car. If it’s a Ferrari, Porsche, Jaguar, or classic Mustang remember to watch your speed!
Art fairs. When the arts community takes over a park or shuts down a side street and erects a long row of tents, that’s your cue to pretend you’re art connoisseurs. Stand together at the entrance to each booth and nod thoughtfully. Point to a particular piece and whisper to each other and, again, nod thoughtfully. People nearby will think you’re sophisticated dealers. Just don't stand too long at the velvet Elvis paintings.
Pack a picnic. Pick a summer Sunday afternoon. Or meet each other for a long lunch midweek. You can plan a gourmet brunch-in-a-basket days in advance or go to a local deli at the spur of the moment and ask for two box lunches to go. Find the perfect grassy area to spread your blanket. It could be a local park bustling with joggers and dogwalkers. Or it could be an out of the way strawberry patch or wooded glen that gives you all kinds of privacy.
Stay home and fake a power outage. No lights. No computers. No television. Get out the candles and . . . do stuff slow and easy.
That's twelve ideas.
Let me know how it goes,
P.S. Speaking of picnics. If you're traveling through southwest Michigan this summer, stop at GROW in Saugatuck, the brunch restaurant owned by my son and daughter-in-law. Tell Alec that his old man sent ya. Lindsay and Alec also opened a second location three blocks away called GROW TO GO, where you can pick up a picnic lunch!