Nourishing my relationships

Post written by Orsolya Hernold

I am grateful to be living in a loving relationship with Zoli, my partner, for more than 9 years now. I also have good relationships with my children – and I even counted those times when they use all their creative energies to annoy us until it is unbearable and those times as well when I am tired to be a patient parent. I was asked several times what my “secret” is and my usual answer was work. Now a friend changed my perspective and I rather answer: it is investment of energy. Nourishing relationships needs energy, and most of it is time – our scarcest resource.

There is nothing more to give to the other than undivided attention – without having the TV on, playing or talking on the phone or preparing dinner meanwhile. People respond immediately when they feel they are paid attention to: they open up, share with you things otherwise left unspoken and feel loved. It happens so rarely nowadays that everyone is very thirsty and very grateful for someone who listens.

Look at your schedule, your daily routine! Write down when you have time for each other (your partner, child, parents, anyone else)? Observe and note how much time you spend together weekly without anything happening around you? Is that satisfactory for you? If not, what can you change?

If you are not satisfied with your findings, be ruthless and carve out those moments of undivided attention. This sometimes requires saying no to social events, to sleeping in, to bringing home work, etc. Be conscious about what you would like to happen in your life and be certain that you can change. Paying attention to your relationships needs your attention, your investment, your energy. I regard my time with Zoli and my children as blocks in my schedule as my work hours – there needs to be a serious reasons to move them and I only allow a certain amount of change weekly. I am quite strict about that because I immediately feel the consequences – conflicts not talked over, kids missing me, my need to talk about events during the week is not fulfilled.

My time with my children is after school / kindergarten, most of the time I am picking them up. I enjoy hearing about their day, I prepare a little snack for them and have time to play or do something together before dinner. That is our sacred time together and it is well protected. Work and after school activities can intervene, but every week there are at least three afternoons that are ours. I am grateful for being able to do this, at the same time I make the most of my possibilities.

As a family of small children (and lacking handy grandparents) we needed to be creative to have time for ourselves with Zoli, here are some of our examples.


These might not work for you, but pay a little attention in your coming week of time spent together with your loved ones. Be strict and only count those times when no one else is around and it is not some sort of entertainment (movie, concert, theater or dance hall). Having fun together is very important as well, but I do not count them as paying undivided attention to each other. How much time did you get? Is it enough for nourishing your relationship in the long run? What can you change?


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