When my wife, Jean, and I were younger, every date together was a chance to absorb a little more about the person we planned to spend the rest of our lives with. We’d go out to our favorite restaurants and talk for hours about all kinds of interesting topics — culture, politics, books, our childhoods. It seemed every subject wound its way toward something deep and meaningful.
We’re now blessed with wonderful boys, and our conversations have changed — a lot! Instead of discussing news, the latest best-seller or any number of big ideas, mealtime talks tend to revolve around trucks, superheroes and the news from the halls of elementary school. Jean and I love this stage of our lives, and watching the boys mature is a blessing and a privilege for us.
Still, some days I forget just what a fiery, intelligent woman I fell in love with. Don’t get me wrong: She hasn’t gone anywhere, but that sophisticated personality is a side of Jean that I’m not able to see enough during the crazy days of raising boys. So I’m reminded again how important it is for parents to set aside time to talk one-on-one about deeper and more personal thoughts.
At least one study shows that the happiest people have more substantive conversations. But it can be hard for us guys to take time for those moments of real conversation. We have work to finish, or our kids want us to play with them or help them with their homework.
I realize that the days of sitting in coffee shops with my wife and talking until the manager puts up the “closed” sign are probably not going to return anytime soon. But we can still be intentional. I can meet her for lunch or sneak away with her on a Friday night for a good meal and some quality conversation.
And, honestly, I can still carve out everyday moments for a deeper conversation with my wife — no matter where we are. I can watch a bit less football, wake up a little earlier on Saturdays or put the phone in a drawer when a mini-crisis is brewing at the office. The moments are there — if I look for them.
Jim Daly is president of Focus on the Family and host of the Focus on the Family broadcast. Read his daily blog.
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