When I was a freshman in high school I would sit in bed with my push button telephone and talk to my friends for hours. Hours and hours. So much so that we would sometimes fall asleep on the phone.
I'd get caught being on the phone too late and my mom would say, "What on earth were you all talking about for all that time?" And my reply was always the same, "I don't know, nothing much."
When I heard Matthew Kelly first talk about "carefree timelessness" he actually used this example, of teenagers talking on the phone. I remember thinking it must be universal if it's made it's way into his talks! It is universal. We have all experienced carefree timelessness but as we get older and busier we no longer seek it out. How great it is to lose track fo time! Those times when you are relaxed and not watching the clock. Not thinking about what's next, or how long until..., nothing except being present with the one you love. When we make those opportunities we slip through the wardrobe into a completely different world and we connect deeply. We breathe deeper. We laugh harder. We come away from those times refreshed, renewed, bonded. All of our most important relationships need carefree timelessness. All of them. But your marriage will not survive without it. I know, I know, we were told back in the 90's that ALL you really need is "quality time". That if you build in just 20 minutes where you really listen it can make all the difference and be enough. Whatever enough is. I can't disagree more. Quality time everyday is important, absolutely. It can keep the wolves at bay during difficult times. But for growth, healing, renewal - you need timelessness. You need to get lost in one another and see where the conversation goes. Sit quietly. Exhale. Have fun. My husband and I both have stressors every day. They are different of course, but we both experience stress week in and week out. I am better than my hubs at recognizing when the stress is creeping in and taking us away to recuperate. It's kind of become my thing. I remember last fall (when we were all cooped up with Covid) and his work was taking a real toll on him. I ordered a bike rack and loaded up our bikes. When he got home I took him a few miles outside of town and we hopped on the incredible bike trails we have here. We rode for awhile and as the sun slipped lower in the sky we found ourselves bathed in warm, gold light. We pulled over and sat in the grass together looking out over a corn field with stalks gently swaying in the breeze. I wrapped my arms around him and rested my head on his shoulders. He sighed so deeply I could feel the stress evaporating. We sat there feeling so blessed and contented. Present. Connected. In love. This past weekend it was a Saturday morning with fresh warm biscuits, hot coffee, a cracked window that allowed the songs of the returning spring birds to drift in and out of our conversation. As we sat and talked (without phones) morning became lunch. We laughed and held hands across the table. We caught up with current life events, discussed our vacations and reminisced about adventures we've had across our long marriage. Timelessness. You'll hear couples experiencing divorce or marital crisis say that they drifted apart, or grew apart. It's real. That's how it happens sometimes. Protecting your marriage against the drift is critical. It happens so subtly that you won't realize how far from shore you've gone until you're in dangerous waters. We need it. We need to connect. We have to unclinch and relax. When the children were small, they were often in tow for these moments. It's possible. Harder? Sure. But possible. I love watching my grown kids navigate this and I am so thankful that we have modeled it for them. My daughter, the one with 2 yr old identical twins. She and her husband have a dart board and lawn chairs in the garage. When the kids go down they hang out (with the monitor) and enjoy the night listening to music and playing darts together talking. My son and daughter in law, will bring my granddaughter by and take the motorcycle up the river road for the afternoon. Holding on tight, just the two of them. It's important, staying connected. Lose track of time with the one you love. Watch what happens.