Last month, Thomas and I went into Chicago.
It was our first time going into the city together – a place that was very unfamiliar. We dared to navigate the Shedd Aquarium line, not to mention the beast that is the public transit system. I prepped and planned the day before, finding a cheap place to park and creating the most efficient routes via trains to our desired destinations.
Eating breakfast before we left, I confessed I was nervous about all the plans and attention to detail the day required. Because I know how I get when I’m nervous; I’m grumpy and impatient. And this day date I was anticipating, it felt weighty and pressured, like I really wanted it to be worth it.
Long story short, we had a fine day. We saw sea creatures and people-watched and ate delicious (I mean delicious) pizza. But it wasn’t without its moments of tension, like when I wanted to wring the neck of the guy who didn’t plan for restrooms at train stations. We had a fine day. But we were tired, minds aloof, just trying to get where we needed to go all afternoon.
Fast forward a few weeks, and Thomas asks me this question:
“What would be your ideal day that we’d spend together?”
The question caught me off-guard, and I fumbled over my thoughts for an answer. At a loss for a response, I told him to go first.
He said he would spend most of the day at home. And I agreed.
This felt significant. I’ve always considered myself a homebody, content folding laundry, pleased to take my time with dinner and read on the couch afterwards. But I’ve never really considered that home could be his most sacred place, too. This revelation did a couple things.
It affirmed my desire to be at home and invest in home. To eat in and decorate (even simply) and wipe the counters down because we both thrive in comforting, peaceful environments. These things are not menial to two people who feel most full at home with each other and are their best selves when they don’t have to navigate new highways. Dinners out can be fun, and getaways have their purpose, but we’re also fine to stay in. Creating a home together has been one of my favorite parts of marriage.
It gave us a hint of vision for the future. We both grew up in families that valued vacation and travel, so we already knew that a healthy combination of rest and exploration will be important when we have a family of our own. But contentment in being home, carving out time amidst the busyness to stay in, we value that, too.
I was so thankful he asked me that question.
No offense to you, Chicago. You’re a nice city, but the best gift we can give each other is ourselves. And our best selves are right at home.