Jim and I have a very special little box called our “Togetherness Box.” We call it a Togetherness Box because when we’re trying to figure out what to do for a fun date, one of us will invariably turn to the other and ask, “What do you want to do?”
Then the other person ALWAYS says, “I don’t know. What do you want to do?”
This is when the pressure builds for someone to come up with something both want to do. Let’s admit it ladies, at times like this we’re secretly thinking, “If he really cared about me, he’d be more creative and intentional about our dates—like he used to be.”
But you see, your man doesn’t have an “I don’t care about you problem.” He has an “I’m out of ideas problem.” I know this because when you’ve been married for over three decades like us, the idea well just gets a little dry. Dates that once brought you great pleasure eventually begin to lose their luster and become the same old thing.
So when these idea shortages happen in the Osborn house, which is often, instead of wallowing in disappointment, we reach for our “Togetherness Box.”
Inside the box are several scraps of paper (I just cut off the sticky part of colorful sticky notes). On each scrap I’ve written catchy little phrases, such as “Get Lost” or “Dream a Little Dream” or “Game On.” Once you pull out a phrase, you have a jumping off point for your date. Suddenly, your mind goes wild with ideas surrounding the selected theme. There are no rules so you can creatively interpret how you will apply this theme any way you like.
For example, if the paper from the Togetherness Box says, “Get Lost” it could mean – let’s spend time getting lost in each other’s arms, or getting lost in a shopping mall, a bookstore, a museum, the local library, etc. You’re limited only by your imagination.
For us, the “get lost” theme usually means we jump in the car and just start driving. When we come across a road we’ve never traveled before, we give each other a knowing smile, make the turn, and get lost—together.
Another scrap of paper in our Togetherness Box says, “That’s the Ticket.” Think of all the fun ideas you could do with that one! Tickets to a play, concert or sporting event. Airplane tickets or cruise tickets to an exciting getaway. Tickets to your local museum, botanical gardens or the zoo. Or simply movie tickets. You get the idea—anything where a ticket is involved. Make it as simple or as elaborate as you choose.
Recently, we had a three day weekend and after a grueling week for both of us, Jim and I were ready for a little “you and me baby time.” But we were also short on ideas. No problem. I reached into our Togetherness Box and pulled out a scrap of paper. It said, “Take the Shot.”
I knew instantly Jim was going to love this one.
Now before I tell you what we did—don’t forget, there are no rules. So we might have interpreted “Take the shot” as going to a gun range together, a golf course, or some random basketball court clear across town.
But, when you’re married to a photographer, “take the shot” means grabbing an armload of cameras and lenses, hopping into the car and zooming away for the day or weekend. Only now we have a theme.
With no rules either of us can take a picture of what we want, when we want—even if it means scurrying through traffic at a red light to “take the shot” (which may or may not have happened).
Well, this particular weekend we decided to head up to the scenic red rocks of Sedona, AZ for our “take the shot” theme date.
First, we stopped at the adorable Tlaquepaque shopping area so Jim could teach the rookie (that’s me) a bit more about photography and composition.
Compared to someone like Jim who has studied photography since college and takes stunning pictures wherever he goes, I’m a complete novice—but a willing student.
I’ve learned when I enjoy and engage in the things Jim loves; I find my joy in his.
But I think what Jim likes best is not teaching me what all those complicated dials and menus mean. He likes it when I have to practically put my cheek on his to see what he’s teaching me on the back of the camera. I like it too. Feeling the warmth of his presence and his masculine strength…
Then hand in hand, we toted our cameras up and down Oak Creek Canyon for some stunning views of God’s creation.
At one point we could hear the water but couldn’t see past the foliage. So we hiked down to the creek. Unfortunately, what started out as a well-worn path eventually became faint and quite steep. We knew we were in for a workout climbing back out of the canyon.
Oh, but what we found was worth every effort.
Togetherness with no distractions.
A rare and beautiful find.
It’s what the Togetherness Box is all about—taking your love off the beaten path. Refusing to allow a creeping dullness to extinguish something that started out so fresh and alive between you. This is abundant life. When two ordinary people use something like a common box with scraps of paper to build an extraordinary love.
Why not start your own little Togetherness Box today? Who knows what creative adventures lay ahead?
Stay lovely my friend,