Guest Post by the husband
Similar to cars that need to have their oil changes and be maintained occasionally to help preserve the car, sometimes marriages need a tune-up as well. There are tons of these “lists” that describe date nights, paint a picture of a beautiful small trip, or elucidate techniques on enhancing communication. This article will do nothing of that sort. Date nights are important every week or so, small trips are fun to go on if you are able to obtain someone you trust to watch your little one, and communication is key in all aspects of a relationship, especially your marriage. Instead, below are a few ideas you can do with your loved one this Valentines Day exemplified by some activities we engaged in during our trip to New York City. All photos were taken with our iPhone 6.
1. Start by taking a walk
This may sound very cliche, but taking a walk is a great way to be in touch with your spouse and really talk about things that are on your mind and heart. Recently, we went on a walk through central park after a snow storm and enjoyed the winter wonderland before it turned into slush. Making snowmen, throwing snowballs at trees or other inanimate objects were really fun. Long walks also allow us to really listen to each other and enjoy each other’s presence. It’s very easy, benign, and free. On the flip side, if you’re going through a rough patch with your spouse, it provides a venue for discussion without feeling confined to one’s house, or a room. Being in an open space may open up the relationship a bit to talk about issues that are on our mind and free up a safer space for communication.
2. Enjoy some art together
Looking at something abstract or esoteric is a great conversation starter. Luckily for us, we were able to visit the Museum Of Modern Art in Manhattan, which just so happened to have a special exhibit of some sculptures by Picasso and inspired by Picasso on loan from his museum in Paris, France. Peering into an abstract sculpture or piece of art frees the mind because although there are some universal motifs that may stand out, e.g. a feminine form and some flowers in the photo below, tackling the intricacies of such a piece requires a nuanced approach. Brainstorming a general theme and deriving meaning from such a piece with your loved one can be very intellectually stimulating and very inspirational as well. Any large metropolitan city will have museums you can visit. If those aren’t available to you, then sometimes looking at some art online and talking about it can be invigorating. If you and your spouse haven’t talked in a while and feel that there are less things in common to discuss, this may be a way to start a small discussion about something to open up some lines of communication.
3. Listen to some classical music together
The emphasis on the above statement is “classical.” If listening to something with words, I would recommend something in a foreign language that neither of you understand. Listening to some jazz or classical music can really open up the musical portion of your mind and really invigorate one from the daily grind. N and I had the opportunity to watch two Italian Operas at the Metropolitan Opera in Lincoln Center, NYC. We had a nice box seat towards the top of the concert hall. Although the music was in Italian, which neither of us understood, we were bathed with beauty for about 3 hours. A lovely live orchestra produced such amazing music while the opera singer’s un-amplified or distorted voices danced with the music to create a ballet between the two. Again, if you are going through a rough patch this Valentine’s season, this is a good way to still be together and not talk to each other. If there were some hurt and some pain that was exchanged between you two, this is a good way to spend some time with each other, allow some healing, and without really talking to each other. Note: N and I both fell asleep during the Opera, but it was still good. It was also surprisingly very affordable at $30 a ticket.
4. Enjoy something edible together
As a physician, I encourage you to eat healthy, exercise, and to not indulge in excess drink or food. However, enjoying some dessert together with your spouse is also a pretty awesome experience. N and I decided to visit the Spot Dessert Bar, a dessert place in Koreatown (there’s another one on St Mark’s place) which has a variety of great desserts. As I have frequented this place often during my 1 year stint in your New York, I decided to get one of my favorite dishes, which is honey toast with condensed milk ice cream and some cream with strawberries. It was delicious and we had a great conversation with each other while eating. It was a great way to talk about what was on our minds and a way to connect deeply with one another. For those having some trouble with their relationships… well… you gotta eat, and if you’re going to eat, might as well eat with someone you care about. Maybe it’ll help improve the mood and make things better as well.
5: Survive a storm together
This can be both a literal or a metaphorical storm. My wife has seen snow before, but never had snow fall form the sky on her. Well, this weekend we had a lot of snow fall from the sky on her. Roughly 24-30 inches worth of snow as winter storm Jonas cast a blizzard over New York. The city was issued a state of emergency and all cars except for emergency vehicles were banned from the streets in the late afternoon. We were staying at our friends’ place that weekend and were able to duck inside and spend the late afternoon/evening together in the warmth and safety of a nice apartment on the 15th floor of a midtown high rise. If you find yourself in the middle of the storm and feel that all is lost in your relationship. Don’t despair. Try to find that warm safe place where you can both hide and try to talk it out: whatever that may manifest itself for you two. Whether it be at your favorite coffee place, in your living room, or crying in each others’ arms, weathering the storm together makes you stronger and closer together.
If you want a full itinerary of what we did, see our upcoming post in the travel section of this blog.