Starting the New Year With Healthy Eating

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It’s embarrassing to admit, but my husband and I were stuck in a loop. Our daily excitement revolved around the banal intricacies of parenting, working, household tasks, and looking up the meanings of lesser-used words like banal to keep life interesting. Our relationship wasn’t a sinking ship, but we only met on our kitchen island for quick chats during our microwavable meals. Was there a way to get through this uninspired and jejune phase of our marriage?

After 15 years, it had been a slow descent to the disconnect I was feeling. My husband and I had somehow lost our sizzle, and I watched it happen. Of course, there’d been the occasional warning that this was imminent: “One day you’ll forget to kiss your husband good morning,” the older man in the elevator said while his wife nodded in agreement. I was surprised to be given unsolicited elevator advice. I dismissed his eerie warning because there was no way I’d forget to remind my partner I loved him with kisses. But lately … I couldn’t remember if my husband had lips.

I suppose my partner and I were bound to slip into easy relationship habits at some point in our marriage. We stopped the goodbye kisses and morning hugs around the time we became parents. Since our newborn didn’t sleep, I was never even sure when morning time arrived. We left goodbye kisses behind in favor of rushing around looking for baby bottles, diaper bags, and each other before we left the house.

At first, these little changes didn’t seem to create a divide. But then, I noticed our relationship becoming automatic — like a Mad Lib where we inserted all the right words into the story but the feels behind the phrases were lacking. I assumed this was a stage and we’d grow out of it … but we didn’t.

“Hey, honey can we talk?” I asked my husband one evening.

Fighting the butterflies in my stomach, I admitted that I felt like we weren’t connecting. He said he’d noticed that, too, and we decided our best solution was to be more aware of one another. We made a point of bringing back goodbye kisses and made room for connective moments. This worked for a bit, but our habits kicked back in. Whole days raced by, and I realized I’d forgotten something — I’d forgotten to speak to my husband. So, next, I tried adding in date nights, but our phones came, too. We had an instant third-wheel scenario. The habit of disengaging was strong for us.

The space between us continued to grow, and it left me feeling lonely. I wondered how long it would take before we turned into that scary couple warning youngsters in the elevator. I wasn’t sure how to nourish our relationship, but it felt stale — kind of like our eating habits. When we did connect, it was over a quick premade dinner or takeout. As a family, we’d sunk into an unhealthy eating rut. As a couple, we’d gotten into the unhealthy habit of disconnecting. Were these somehow connected? I wanted to find out.

“Hey, honey, want to try some healthy cooking with me?”

Throughout our marriage, I’d tried to get us to prepare meals together, but neither of us enjoys cooking. We opted for quick and easy eats. When I suggested a healthier meal plan, my husband would shrug his shoulders and reach for the nearest doughnut — I took that as a no. He responded the same way here. I left the conversation feeling slightly dejected, but then I came up with an option I knew he couldn’t refuse.

“Hey honey, what if we try eating totally healthy for just 30 days — as a new start to the new year?”

My husband paused. He was intrigued. He agreed that 30 days seemed manageable and liked the idea of setting a healthy tone for the new year. So, with that, we started looking for wholesome recipes we liked.

Watching my husband bake chicken and boil cauliflower while I stood close by melted my heart. I was surprised to learn it didn’t take a lot to find that spice we’d been missing; we just needed the right ingredients. Planning our meals and preparing them together cooked us a little connection — and that was three years ago. Now, we ring in each new year the same way, and it always reestablishes our closeness. When we focused on what was healthy in our food, we remembered what was healthy in our marriage.

Tags: Family Connection, Love Life, Marriage, Healthy Eating, Self Care

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Tonilyn Hornung

Tonilyn is an author and freelance writer who lives with her husband, young son, many furry friends, and never enough closet space. See Full Bio

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