*photo credit – Cuddles on the Couch
Before you begin, start here.
So many times the NUMBER ONE question I get asked, about how to navigate through our restaurant relationships is…
“HOW do I find time to connect when we’re on opposite schedules, live in different cities, etc…?”
Back when my chef husband was my chef fiance, I discovered the answer to this important question, almost by accident.
My then chef fiancee was just promoted from Exec Sous to Exec Chef. After YEARS of putting his time in, he finally hit the jackpot.
Which came with one HUGE perk… regular days off. Sunday/Monday were his regular days off. Which mean that I knew we could plan more things on his day off, even that quick 3.5 hour (one way) trip to and from his family on a Sunday (Gotta love a less than 24 hour trip because you have to work on Monday as a 9-5′r) Regardless, I LOVED knowing that I could count on this time.
Within a few short months, I discovered a pattern. Sunday and Monday evenings, I found us doing the same things, Sundays around 9pm, we’d meet on the couch for our favorite cable network TV shows (Homeland, True Blood, I honestly can’t remember what we were watching back in 2008/09) On Monday evenings, we’d continually find ourselves discussing what we were having for dinner, him making a delicious meal (of course that I’d then be cleaning up the entire contents of our kitchen) and we’d rent a movie On Demand (this was before redbox)
Sunday and Monday evenings. Became like clockwork. When he was asked to do something that would keep him out at these times, he would naturally decline. So would I. These short periods of time became VITAL to our connecting, when I work Monday and he’s usually out with his chef friends (or riding his Harley) on Sunday afternoons. Sunday and Monday evenings became OUR time.
I quickly discovered that these time slots in our busy, passing through the night schedules… allowed us to connect, to catch up, to be next to each other… and because we valued our INDEPENDENCE, it was just enough time to look forward to, that didn’t have us feeling like it was too much. *Ha… we’ve been together a LONG time, we both understand that it’s about quality, not quantity, at this point of our lives*
It was this time that really helped me NOT feel AS resentful about our limited amount of time together, for the rest of the week. I really was surprised how much it helped.
I surmised that it was this time that helped us moving forward. It felt SACRED. Sorta like when I was little, and I went to church every Sunday. It was something I could count on (even if I didn’t want to go, but that’s a different story) I know my Sunday mornings were church and breakfast with my family. I knew I couldn’t DO anything until mid-Sunday afternoon. It gave me a routine I could count on.
For most of us, significant others, we THRIVE on having something to count on, routine. (It’s because we’re the planners in our restaurant relationship, am I right?) *Again, calling EXCEPTION here.
So… what does this mean for you, my dear other half?
So my answer will ALWAYS be… to the question of how to find time to connect is to FIND SACRED TIME.
It does NOT have to be an all day affair. My own guess is that a minimum of ONE HOUR of sacred time a week… WILL help you feel grounded and rooted in your restaurant relationship. Whether it is sitting and having coffee at the table, going grocery shopping together (don’t laugh, I know some of you shop with your restaurant man/woman) or making a meal together (or going out to eat even) Something that is REGULAR, REPEATABLE, and is done with the energy of being VALUABLE.
I am not one to guarantee anything – Life is full of exceptions, and uncertainty…. but I will continue to answer that finding SACRED TIME in your restaurant relationship IS the one thing that will help connect you (and I’ll go so far as to help you THRIVE) in your restaurant relationship.
OOH… and for those of you not in the same city/country - I have one word for you…. SKYPE. (or FaceTime) How about making your sacred time a regular Skype date? I can imagine how SEEING each other, your facial expressions, the way you blush when he tells you he can’t wait to see you next time.. WILL help you both feel connected. I challenge you, in todays technology age, on not finding some sacred time on the regular. Even if it’s just 30 minutes. (shoot, even 15!)
I have a feeling a question some of you might be asking is… “HOW do I get my restaurant man/woman to commit to SACRED TIME?”
Honestly.. I don’t have an answer for you on that. What works for one restaurant relationship will NOT work for another. For us, it just naturally happened, we didn’t say “Hey, how about Sunday and Monday evenings we get together and connect?” I think we both would agree that since our son, we are both DESPERATE for a date night (we’re working on it!), even though we still meet together on Sunday evenings for our regular TV shows. It just became that we both like doing this one thing, and doing it together feels better than doing it apart.
It just happened.
That’s what sort of makes it feel SACRED. It has become something we don’t even have to talk about, or bring to our awareness. It’s burned into our routine, that not doing it.. isn’t an option.
I just looked up SACRED in the dictionary – the definition that stands out, among the few that are there, are
“… reverently dedicated to some person, purpose, or object.”
Dedication is I think the word that stands out. It’s about DEDICATION. And even though I don’t KNOW you, or know your restaurant man/woman specifically… I know that DEDICATION is just another word for PASSION. You wouldn’t be in this kind of relationship if you didn’t have the passion and dedication… and your man/woman wouldn’t be in the restaurant industry if he/she too… didn’t have the same.
The trick, as I would believe it to be, is to find the mutual dedication to devote to this small amount of time, each week. Whenever it is toward your relationship.
MAYBE that is the topic of conversation that leads you to this conclusion. Your relationship… your love… your… DEDICATION to each other.
I am convinced that you start using the words SACRED TIME in your conversations with your other half, and the space for just that will make itself known. Maybe it’ll take a few adjustments, but like church, you don’t go if you don’t WANT TO (okay, so many of us were forced to, including myself, but you get my drift) but the hope is that it’ll help bring your commitment to what you believe in, even closer than where it is now.
Maybe for you, you will need to “schedule” this time with him/her. Maybe because he/she is spontaneous, you can steer your schedule so that it appears to happen, to him/her, to just pop up every week… who knows. If finding a regular time in your week to connect, SACRED TIME, sounds like a viable option (honestly, I say it’s THE KEY to thriving in this difficult relationship) – then TRUST YOURSELF and your man/woman that you will find a way to make it work.