My marriage is better, when my wife and I spend lots of time together.
That’s shocking, right? Who knew that being connected, connected you? Who knew that hanging out, talking and making time for each other were critical parts of growing a healthy marriage? I am dropping some bombs today!
Great marriages don’t just happen. And neither do great families.
Days gets busy. Schedules pull at the seams of the fabric of family life. Soccer practice, business trips, after work meetings, the list of things that compete for our time is extensive. That’s why a few weeks ago on my blog, Stuff Christians Like, I decided I wanted to bring dinner back. More than just wish and hope my family had time for each other, I decided we would make time for each other. Starting with dinner.
For the next 90 days, every Friday I’ll post an update on this blog. I’ll tell you how many days the Acuff family had dinner together that week. I’ll tell you about an E-Mealz meal we loved and I’ll tell you one thing I learned.
I’d love for you to join in this simple challenge. Just keep track of how many family dinners you had together from Saturday to Friday and then post a comment on my weekly blog post. I’d love to hear what E-Mealz meal plan you’re family is doing and what your favorite meal was that week. And I should warn you, I’m probably going to talk trash about my dinner record each week. You up for it? You want to bring dinner back with me?
Here’s what happened with the Acuff family during week 1.
What we learned: Family meals need to be unplugged.
I check my iPhone approximately 764 times a day. I’m emailing, tweeting and text messaging friends non-stop with the frequency of a teenage girl who has just seen Justin Bieber at the mall. And until last week, that included sometimes during dinner. My wife usually asks me to put up my iPhone, but I realized I was doing something pretty sneaky to get around her wish. Whenever someone at the table would ask a question like, “What was the name of that ride I loved at Disney?” I would grab my iPhone. Under the guise of being helpful, I would say, “Let me look that up for you.” And then, once the phone was out, I would check Twitter, send an email and eventually make my way to looking up the answer to the question they had asked. Ugh. Dad of the year.
To combat that, that digital distraction that seems to dominate dinner, I used a trick my counseling friend Rhett taught me. All it took was a basket.
Now when dinner is about to begin, my wife and I both put our iPhones in a basket on the counter. We turn them off and agree that once something is in the basket, it can’t come out until dinner is over. Since neither one of us are heart surgeons or currently negotiating world peace, chances are reading a text message we get during dinner can wait 30 minutes. I know that sounds silly, but I promise you it’s reassuring to my kids to see me physically saying, “The phone is off during dinner. Dinner with y’all matters more to me than this phone.”
When dinner is over, we can decide to grab our phones again, but some nights we forget. It’s weird, but it’s almost as if having broken the spell our iPhones have over us, we’re able to enjoy the rest of the night without worrying about them.
Give a basket or a box or a bucket a shot some night at dinner. You might just be surprised how quickly it works.
Our favorite E-Mealz meal of the week.
We’re doing the Publix Meal Plan right now. This week, the meals offered ranged from Low Country Boil to Thai Thighs. (You know, your basic Louisiana to Thailand menu.) Our favorite of the week was the Bacon-Corn Chowder. Even though the weather started to warm up a little this week in Tennessee, it was a perfect complement to winter. And it was incredibly easy to make. We went from store to supper in about 30 minutes.
Our dinner record for the week.
We went 6 for 7 this week. I had a dry run for a speaking engagement one night and didn’t make it home in time for dinner with the kids. I did get to have dinner with my wife though so maybe I was 6.5 for 7.
How about you?
How many nights this week did you eat dinner with your family? Did you beat me?
What was your favorite E-Mealz meal?
Jon Acuff is the author of the book and the blog, Stuff Christians Like. He is on a new adventure with his family, and will be blogging about it here every Friday! He told us about his personal challenge to bring dinner back in his blog last week. “Think of it kind of like a dinner fantasy football league.”