“All real living is meeting.”
― Martin Buber,
In providing marriage and family therapy, we almost always come to an issue of trust. How do we restore broken trust, how do we maintain healthy trust, and what do we do when we fear our trust will be misplaced? Many people struggle to even know how to create trust.
Trust has most often been born out of shared experience. When people spend time together, and there are multiple exposures to positive interactions, trust is created. To quote Buber again, “Man wishes to be confirmed in his being by man, and wishes to have a presence in the being of the other…Secretly and bashfully he watches for a YES which allows him to be and which can come to him only from one human person to another.” In other words, when we receive permission from someone to be ourselves, in a shared experience, trust grows.
These days, finding time to intentionally create shared experiences is very difficult. Most families work two jobs, have children, and still need to find time to sleep! Having "date night" is a luxury many people cannot afford. For my wife and I, this became the case. To resolve this, we created something called a microdate. Microdates are just like regular dates, but they last less than 30 minutes. They require some planning, but they're a fantastic way to ensure we set aside time to be with one another.
For us, our microdates happen before we have to pick the kids up from daycare, and after work. We will meet for happy hour, and just talk. Sometimes we talk/vent about the day, tell jokes, talk politics, or just hang out. These shared experiences are crucial to maintaining healthy relationships and trust. Try them out!
Guidelines for Microdates
- Happy hour specials for appetizers, meeting in a park, or light exercise together
- Less than 30 minutes
- This encourages being attentive with our attention
- Outside the home
- Reduces distraction or temptation to clean/prep/nap!
- This decreases anxiety in those who MUST have things planned out and don't want to feel rushed
- No more than once a week
- Too many microdates and they will become another chore!
(C) Nathan D. Croy, 2017