Over Christmas, I have found myself thinking about the quality of my relationships. Particularly those it’s easy to take for granted. The relationship with my father has suffered over the last few years. Not in an obvious way. Not in an argument and falling out kind of way. But through not spending enough quality time together.
He lives abroad, has a new partner who doesn’t particularly like visiting England, and splits his time between four countries. No smartphone and not being very “chatty” on the phone accentuate the problem. He’s busy. I’m busy. Life was getting in the way.
He visits for a few hours every three or four months, but somehow it felt like something was missing. The spark of a meaningful connection was not there.
Do you recognise this situation in your own life? Have you got friends or relatives where the relationship is suffering through a lack of contact? Are you both too busy to connect in a meaningful way?
I tried talking about it with him. But that didn’t work. It was impossible to do so without it is sounding like an accusation or a criticism. The fault was with me too, not just on his side. I was equally busy and distracted by my own life.
Us, men are not great at talking about these kinds of situations. So, in the end, I arranged a walking trip for the two of us in the Peak District. What a success. We spent two days in my caravan, cooking and eating together, walking ten or twelve miles each day. Chatting, laughing, exploring and most importantly, re-connecting. Just like old times. We parted with the commitment of doing it again, next time he was in the UK.
Reconnecting with your loved ones through a shared interest is a powerful way to rebuild your relationship. Can you reach out and suggest a trip, a journey or an activity that you can do together. It’s especially good if it’s one that you used to do together and both love? The activity you are engaged in occupies your attention and so takes the pressure off and reminds you both why your relationship is so special.
Have fun together. Connecting through a shared passion is a powerful way to bond. Remember, we climb the mountain, not in giant leaps but one small step at a time.