1/28/08

After Dinner Walks

My husband and I find “after dinner-walks” essential.

After stimulating family time around the dinner table, Paul and I extend that time by the two of us getting away and taking a walk together. Rain, sleet, snow, or even under the beautiful moonlit night, we take the chance to connect. Walking can help mellow out tensions created by the hectic pace of the day. It also helps us to become better lovers and parents, as we sort through whatever is weighing us down!

Yesterday was one of the biggest snowstorms we’ve had in years in our valley! Once again we had a dinner table full of extra kids – and lively conversation. Our question for the night was, “What is your favorite memory in the snow?” And then everyone around the Coughlin table got a chance to share their story!

Children thrive on stability and family togetherness. And it’s important that Paul and I model the importance of family dinners. Studies show that families that have regular meals together are less likely to adopt negative habits, such as smoking, alcohol and drugs.

Another interesting statistic we heard from our pastor today, as he was sharing important aspects of a healthy marriage, was that only 1/3 of American families eat at least one meal together per day. But of those families, 1/2 eat their meals with the TV on! I was shocked, as television can be so mind-numbing!

What has happened to the importance of mealtime conversation – or family time?

My husband and I get away for after-dinner walks quite regularly. Occasionally we’ll take one of our kids with us, so the conversations and communications during the meal can continue for a longer time. (Of course our beloved Cairn Terrier, Haggis McStitch, is always with us.)

We’ve even included our dinner guests on our walks, after a night of entertaining! It’s another way of bonding with family and friends.

Our magical walk continued last night in the snow – just the two of us. It really was breathe-taking – the beauty surrounding us. The neighbors were out and we even met some new ones (after living in this neighborhood for almost 3 years!)

It was pleasant and we came back feeling “refreshed.”

Does anyone else out there enjoy a good walk? Grab your spouse, one of your kids, even a neighbor or a friend, and see what it does for you!

(Photos: My sweetie and me in the snow; An after-dinner walk with friends back in November. We do not consider this exercise (he is a cyclist, I am a runner) - but essential "together" time!)

27 comments:

Lovella said...

Such excellent advice. We love to walk together too. Once a week we do our best to get out for a extended walk .. .it often is our date day activity.
cute photo.

Dawn said...

We need to walk together more. My husband likes to jog, but I'd rather walk. We need to do it for the together time instead of exercise. :-)

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

Hi, Sandy, we absolutely do a lot of walking too, every chance we get when the weather permits. we both go to the gym regularly, but there's nothing like getting out in the fresh air & sunshine. We try to get out on Sunday afternoon for a walk & at least a couple of times during the week. It's easier when the weather is warmer.

Your crockpot mango chicken sounds great! I made some mango salsa last year & it was so good.

xo,
Rhoda

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

Oh, and yes, I sure am enjoying not working again. Lots more time to get cooking & everything else done. I don't miss the traffic! I'm working on my plan for a business from home, so that's what I'm concentrating on now.

Rhoda

Org Junkie said...

That's awesome! I love to walk but unfortunately almost never with hubby, he'd rather not :(

linda t said...

I was leaving you a comment when I got yours.

I don't know how to say this without sounding all gushy... but I am your biggest fan Sandy! You blow me away with your posts! Ok, so you ARE working on a book, aren't you! Cuz you should! You inspire me all to heck! I am blessed to have you in my life Sandy, even if it is through our blogs.

Stephanie said...

We too walk alot - in fact we are going soon ! We actually consider our nightly 3 miles "our time" of un-interrupted talk . We look forward to it all day .
Glad to see others enjoy it too !

Rhonda said...

Sandy - I just love your blog. And the pictures are always great.

One-on-one time is sooooo important in marriage. I'm glad that you and your husband make a point of connecting EVERYDAY. Good for you!

I love connecting with my husband. It's the best!

Barb said...

I'm with you Linda T--we need a Reluctant Entertainer book! Great point on the exercise vs "together time" walk. When my husband and I first started walking together, he had to keep telling me to slow down! Once we found our pace (or once I slowed down...), it proved to be a great time to talk about stuff I don't necessarily enjoy discussing when having a sit-down-type encounter. Anyway, great post!

Gena said...

Hi Sandy,
I am convicted after reading your post that my husband and I need to start walking after dinner to be sure we have time to connect. Thanks for sharing what works for you to encourage others!
May God continue to bless you as you live out His purposes for you!
Gena

Julie said...

Wow, I would LOVE to come to your house for dinner. It looks so beautiful. I love hospitality too, but my table NEVER looks as pretty as yours.

I loved reading your post and then I realized who you were. I kept thinking that name looks really familiar, but I don't know anyone in Oregon, after all I live in Georgia. Someone mentioned your reading your husband's book and how much they liked it. Now I know why I recognize the name.

I am so impressed with your beautiful blog. Mine is so bland...I just dont' know how to do anything. I was so proud of myself that I learned how to post a picture of my kids/husband/myself AND I figured out how to link. That's pretty good for a 50 year old woman who is just learning computers, don't ya think?

I am new to blogging and have enjoyed meeting new people.

It is a blessing to meet you.
Julie

Julie said...

PS. Is it OK to P.S. on a blog comment post?
I can't figure out how to edit my comments...

I just wanted to PS you and tell you that I used to be married to a man that was "checked out". We were the typical... aggressive woman/passive/aggressive man.

God has been rocking our world. We will never be the same.

I could write a story here, but I won't...to save your blog. Let's just say, God can transform and restore anything! I stand amazed!

Blessings,
Julie

Nunnie's Attic said...

Sandy,
Your advice is always spot-on. I love coming over here and getting rejuvenated. Definitely food for thought.

Love,
Julie

Sgt and Mrs Hub said...

Ever since Daniel and I started a relationship - even before it was a "love" relationship - we have walked together. It is the time when can deeply connect. It loosens our mouths for some reason. Walking is one of our favorite things to do together.

My favorite walk of late was when I was in labor with Eliza. We walked our normal route, just the two of us, and dreamed together about what this new precious baby was going to be like.

I cherish walking with my husband. We have so many wonderful memories from our walks.

Great post!

-Andrea

Myrna said...

Great and simple habit Sandy! Doug and I had a lovely walk yesterday in the snow--and it afforded the privacy needed to finish a discussion about our teenager and his present challenges and what "united front" we will adapt. All the while he had the luxury of a "playday" with his best friends---a real gift and blessing for a 17 year old (his birthday was Sunday--so the snow is considered his best present)
See ya
Myrna

Lynn@ The Vintage Nest said...

Our favorite is a walk in the woods and around the lake after a fresh snow looking for different animal tracks. Unfortunately so far this winter we have only had one light snow and it all melted before our walk. But I am still hoping. ~ Lynn

Julie said...

Nothing on earth is as wonderful as a good walk after dinner! I've walked virtually every evening after dinner for 25 years, and heartily agree with all the good benefits you mentioned.

I've brough many a guest on a walk with me, and our dog, Sophie, (an Australian Shepherd) is always at my side.

Walking has proved to be a a great way for me to meet and stay in touch with lots of neighbors I might not have met.

Besides keeping extra weight at bay, I've found that our 18-year old son really opens up when we take a walk in the dark.

So many benefits...it's a wonder the whole world doesn't step outside every evening and join us!

P.S. If you ever make it to Florida, look me up and we'll walk together!

ValleyGirl said...

You KNOW I love a good walk!! I prefer to do it alone though, as I don't get a lot of quiet time during the day. First thing in the morning, it's the perfect way to center myself, focus, whatever, and start my day. I started doing it as exercise, but have come to realize it has nothing to do with exercise anymore -- I just really enjoy it. Even when it's dark, bitterly cold, and windy.

Jill@Who Could Ask for Anything More said...

Hi Sandy - I just love that photo at the top. We don't get out as much as we'd like with little kids' schedules, etc. after dinner, but I am looking forward to the warmer weather and longer days for walks with the entire family!

Tammy said...

I absolutely loved this post. And I needed to read it!

We try to get family dinners in a lot, but as far as "couple time", that's more of a challenge since our children are still young. We can't feel comfortable leaving them in the house alone for a walk yet (our oldest is 8, so maybe in a couple years!) but nevertheless, when you have young ones, you still have to try and "steal" those moments...make time for each other when you can.
And at least strive for a monthly date night...we're working on that!

As for walking in general, his side of the family are big walkers at get-together and usually most of us go for a walk after a holiday gathering. (And with his 11 siblings and spouses and kids, we make for quite a sight!)

And what a sweet photo at the top of the post! :)

melissa @ the inspired room said...

Love that sweet photo of you and hubby! I just realized that somehow I had NOT put you on my google reader so I was getting behind here!

We love our family dinners, but it does get hard to do with sports and things. We definitely do them several times a week. It just love sitting across from my kids and letting the talk!

And I LOVE walking. My husband and I walked together every morning for a long time, until he injured himself running and couldn't walk with me. He is better now so I'd love to start back up again. It was great to start the day together and catch up before things got busy. As you know, in a busy household with children, mom and dad time is hard to come by.

Blessings,
Melissa

Julie said...

Thank you for stopping by my blog. It blesses me that you would take the time.

I have to ask you, what is that dessert your daughter (I'm guessing it is your daughter) is holding in the picture on the right???

It looks delicious!

Julie

tearjerker said...

Sandy,

I would LOVE to take you up on your challenge...unfortunately dd's 4, 2 and 1 just aren't up to staying home by themselves yet! LOL that's okay, they can still come with us.

Currently our weather has not been good for walking...bitter cold, and I can't stand the cold. HOWEVER, yesterday was dh's birthday and thanks to my connections got us a free hotel room. We took the older girls swimming and then dropped them off at grandma's to spend the night. The alone time was so awesome. We just need to find more ways to connect other than special occasions. : )

Kerry said...

I look forward to starting this up in the summer when the weather is warmer. Our kids are too young to leave alone so we have to bring them w/.

Praise and Coffee said...

You two are adorable!!!
Hubby and I love walks togther too.
Sue

Jen said...

We enjoy summer evening walks....us and the kids really enjoy that bonding time.

NYC said...

I love walking. I need to get back into talking a nice walk. +