My wife and I fell in love with each other through conversation. It was apparent on our first date, when we talked for more than three hours getting to know each other. And it was apparent in our constant letter writing and emailing while I was in Iraq on my second deployment. When I returned home, we began dating long distance, and that meant daily phone calls and conversations that could last hours on end.
And then seven years ago we got married, and we started having kids, and our conversations shrunk to a few minutes at a time, usually revolving around whose turn it was to change the monster diaper just discovered. When we did have a chance to talk we were too exhausted to say much more than, “I miss you.”
Kara and I both longed to reconnect, but the demands of work and family made it feel almost impossible to do so. And then I remembered something a friend had shared with me called “blood and fire time.” I wanted to try it out, if only for its name!
Tom and his wife had been married for more than 20 years, and they had the kind of marriage I hope to have one day. They were totally in love with each other, their marriage was at the center of everything they did. While I knew they were both ridiculously busy, they still seemed to navigate life with a sense of grace and peace. And Tom had told me that “blood and fire time” was a major reason for their success.
Every day when Tom got home from work he and his wife would take fifteen minutes to themselves, apart from their kids, who were told that they could interrupt only if very specific conditions were met: The kids could interrupt only if they needed to pass on word about blood or fire. In all other circumstances, Tom and his wife expected and got fifteen minutes of total privacy.
A few months back, Kara and I began to implement this practice when I get home from work. As soon as I get home, I kiss Kara and the kids, ask a few questions about their day, and then Kara and I barricade ourselves in the nursery for our fifteen minutes of peace.
“Blood and fire time” has given us a chance to be playful again, to flirt, to waste time together, to talk without an agenda to go through, and to dream. While I am grateful for every moment in my marriage, I can honestly say that those fifteen minutes are one of the things I look forward to the most each day.
We haven’t been perfect about “blood and fire time.” We’ve missed days, we’ve allowed the kids to interrupt at times, and logistics have a nasty way of sneaking in.
But I can say that our efforts have been a gift to our marriage.
It might seem artificial to schedule time to be with the one I love, but by doing so, we’ve been able to go back to the things that drew us together in the beginning. Our time together gives me a chance to look beyond the daily grind and to focus on the one I fell in love with. It reminds me why I fell in love with her in the first place.