My relationship is one year old now – or will be a week from tomorrow – and although I would never claim any kind of serious ability to give epic “dating advice,” I did want to share something special that Christopher and I do that others might enjoy as well.
We read together. Every night.
I don’t mean that we both read while we’re in the same room (well, occasionally we do, but that’s not what I’m talking about), I mean we read together. Sometimes out loud, sometimes the “over the shoulder” method, but always the same material at the same time.
This all started when Christopher started reading the Bible with me each day. This was lovely from the start, since it meant that he was supportive of my spirituality (which can sometimes feel like a tricky thing to navigate when you first start dating someone) and I also just enjoyed the company.
Later, though, this simple practice began having other positive affects on our relationship – most notably it was an instant way for us to connect, regardless of anything else that was going on in our lives. There have been times when we have literally read silently together in the middle of a crowded bar, had one of us read aloud while the other drove or got their things packed, and even taken a few minutes in the middle of an argument to calm down and take a deep breath in order read together.
There is something so wonderful about sharing a book. Since we finished the Bible for the year and before we start reading it over again (Cute tangent story: When we’d read our final chapters of the last Bible reading for 2012, the first words out of Chris’ mouth were “So, do you want to read it Chronologically this time?!” Love it.) we have just begun reading Blue Like Jazz, a spiritual memoir by Donald Miller. So far, so good I’d say.
We read a chapter each night, alternating the reading between us and making sure we get the same number of pages each.
The best part, though, isn’t the “how” or even the “what” of our reading – it’s just the fact that we’re doing it at all. The fact that we are intentional about taking just a few minutes out of our day (even a “long reading night” is usually only about 20 minutes) to share something.
For me, this time is extremely precious. I’m so grateful that we do this.
We snuggle up and listen to each other’s voices read the words on the page.
We talk about our thoughts on the book or the random things it reminds us of.
But most importantly: we spend intentional, consistent time together – which in this life can sometimes be the easiest and the hardest thing of all.