My husband and I are your typical 60-something couple.
We’ve been married for twelve years. We worked side by side in business for ten years. We share a mix of kids, grandkids, bank accounts, real estate, businesses, furniture, vehicles, and opinions. And we love each other deeply.
Retired now, we have been off adventuring in our 40-foot motorhome towing a Honda CRV.
A 40-foot RV equals about 400 square feet of living space, which is about the size of an efficiency apartment or small hotel suite. Most couples confess that they couldn’t handle being together in such small quarters for very long. Not us! Halfway through our six-month journey I told him, “I want to marry you all over again!”
Had he changed? Had I?
When we first started out on our six-state journey, I expected to have lots of time to write my book, create my online writing course, and relax. He expected long walks on the beach, outings to exotic maritime locales, and being in “vacation mode” every day. After some discussion, we decided to set aside a few hours of alone time each day to pursue our individual activities.
As the summer days rolled by, however, I realized we were doing things differently than we had at home. These were things that ultimately enriched our relationship.
1. We went on dates. Lots of them.
We made a game out of checking out the local coffee shops. Who has the best espresso? Which one has the best scones? Where can we find the best prices? These morning dates cost a mere fraction of a typical dinner date, and they had the thrilling feel of a treasure hunt.
We’d leave our campground at 7:00 am, sometimes not knowing where to go.
“Shall we turn left or right?” he’d ask. “Oh, let’s go right today,” I’d say. He’d grin. All this driving time – sometimes ten or twenty minutes, sometimes all day – gave us plenty of time to talk. Not about the weather or what’s for dinner, but real conversations about our hopes, our goals, our dreams and plans.
2. We did everything with intention.
The dates were a success because we committed to them. We put our full attention into each other and infused our best intentions into it. “This will be so much fun!” I would exclaim as we headed out the door, and guess what? It would generally be more fun than we’d expected! We studied the local papers seeking community events. A highlight was a corn feed on a sunny afternoon at the 1920s-era grange building in a rural community.
We didn’t know what a corn feed was, so we HAD to go find out!
Upon arrival, we learned that it was a fundraiser to support the maintenance of the grange building. For $9 per person you got a plate of sliced ham with rolls and as many ears of corn as you could eat! They are common in the rural areas, and sometimes it’s a spaghetti feed or a bbq feed instead. We watched as hundreds of people flowed through the doors on that day, and sat at long tables – farmers and families elbow to elbow with tourists and visitors. They were all strangers to us, but we felt like we were among friends.
3. We learned to manifest together.
Now don’t think I’ve gone all woo-woo with this one, but I see manifesting happening every single day. For those not sure of what this is – it’s like when you say, “I miss my sister,” or maybe you didn’t even say it out loud, but then she calls ten minutes later. It’s when you think of something or someone, and then it enters your reality.
Here’s how it began.
We pulled off the scenic highway to view a breathtaking cove near Manzanita, Oregon. Snapping pictures and drinking in the beauty, a thought crossed my mind. “We should go whale watching someday,” I said. “Sure,” he replied.
We paused by the side of the highway, then walked down to see another ocean inlet. As we got closer, we saw a few people gathering near a rock wall. “What’s going on?”
A red-haired boy exclaimed, “Whales! Look just out there – whales!” As we stood there, a pod of whales was swimming directly in front of us, submerging then coming up for air. They were so close I could feel the spray from their exhale. “How did you do that?” he asked. I smiled.
Later I shared what I knew about manifesting.
Just say “Wouldn’t it be nice?” about the thing you’d like to happen, be open to receive it, and forget about it. After that, he was manifesting things left and right! Everything from a parking spot in front of a crowded restaurant to a $100 bike rack at a yard sale for $5. Even a coveted annual campground spot in our favorite ocean town.
4. We resolved a problem together.
Our RV refrigerator quit working – it just stopped in the middle of nowhere. We called all the RV repair people we knew to either come fix it or tell us if they knew of another resource. My biggest fear was that it would have to be replaced, because that would be a costly expense.
We waited two long weeks for a repair company.
In the meantime we had to find another way to keep our food cold without a fridge. Step one, buy a huge ice chest. Step two, buy lots of ice. We quickly learned to create containers that would keep the melted ice water from getting in the eggs or the butter. We shopped for canned stews and soups with complete meals in mind. We rediscovered the simplicity of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. And we laughed and joked about our problem-solving techniques and creativity. The issue seemed less troublesome when we worked together like this, and over the entire two weeks there wasn’t one cross word between us.
That’s how we fell in love all over again in the summer of 2017.
Was it the six months of togetherness?
Was it living in such a small space?
Or was it that we started dating again, this time with intention and sharing our dreams and problem-solving skills?
I think it was all that togetherness mixed with intention.
He thinks it’s the dream sharing and problem-solving skills.
Since we have an opportunity to test it again next summer, we’ll have a chance to experiment a little more and perhaps come to a mutual conclusion. Ultimately, though, it’s irrelevant which pieces had the greatest impact. What truly matters is the overall effect that these things had on our relationship, and I encourage you to engage these enriching ideas with your own partner.