mindful romance

a photo of a dark city skyline with bright sunset colours in behind a silhouetted church spire.
Urban setting (photo by Jo)

My husband and I did not speak to each other all night. And it was heavenly. 

No Gadget Night features in our lives as a weekly evening of turning down the visual and auditory noise by keeping the lights low and turning all gadgets off. I have written about the positive mental and emotional impact this makes, particularly the good night sleep that follows! Turning off like this makes room for beautiful conversation, from inspirational to practical to down right silly. But sometimes, even verbal exchange can interfere with slowing down the mind and body.

Yesterday, after several hours of productive activity, Karl and I settled into a pre dinner meditation together. When the ending bell sounded, our eyes fully opened and met. The expression on my beloved’s face reflected the peace and connectedness I was experiencing and this inspired an impulse. I suddenly felt like spending the rest of the evening without talking and I quietly gestured this idea. We had not planned a No Gadget Night but, with a smile, he immediately agreed to this interpretation of the exercise.

Mindfulness provides the opportunity to notice what is happening around us; preparing and eating dinner in silence provoked a lot to perceive! So many times I wanted to express something, from the mundane to the existential. Why? We love sharing our thoughts with each other so perhaps this is habit. But at that moment it just seemed like noise. I was curious to discover what was available to us without speaking.

Without uttering a single word it was obvious how much we enjoyed our dinner. (Sounds of delight escaped our mouths occasionally.) As we raised our glasses in a toast, I felt such a wave of contentment from my lover’s gaze that it brought tears to my eyes. In the kitchen cleaning up afterward, we slowly danced to some internal tune as we brushed past each other. We retired to the west-facing window in the living room and marveled at the layers of periwinkle and salmon orange coloured clouds near the horizon.

My mind filled with thoughts, past and future. I admit that I get easily pulled away into other places and this permits feelings resembling anxiety to creep in. There is a tricky balance between needing to slow down, to be present, and yet do the work required in life. I am learning the art of being peaceful and productive at the same time. My husband’s hand gently touched my arm, inviting me back to that moment. The crisp fresh air pushed through an open window, enticing us to go outside. Turning to my love, I signaled my desire to walk over to a local shop for a treat. His face lit up: apparently this was a good idea!

As we walked through the neighbourhood, I was tempted to point out a majestic tree or the feline huntress underneath. But I left my partner to ponder his own observations. After a dreamy stroll, satiated with our chocolate delights, we climbed the stairs to our home. As his key turned to unlock the door, we effortlessly returned to oral dialogue. “Tea?” “Yes please.”

This morning I reflected on the experience and I wanted to ask Karl about his impressions. But I decided against it. I know he reveled in our peaceful affinity. No need to pack it up into a box and label it. He hugged and kissed me, and I paused to accept his gesture. We smiled, and returned to the pleasant task of opening up our day.