About two years ago, Ben and I hit a serious rough patch in our relationship. I lost my job in November, my last paycheck came in December, unable to make a car payment any longer we lost our only car in January and were drowning financially by March. Our only transportation for the next year for our family of four was Ben’s motorcycle. This meant that I was housebound for several months, staying home with my son who was too young to ride on the motorcycle. The tension in the house began to build, compounded by cabin fever and juggling bills. After a very heated fight one night, Ben and I stopped talking. This went on for nearly six weeks. We were like room mates who barely acknowledged the others existence. This was the first time in our relationship that I was worried we wouldn’t make it.
For years I have been fascinated with Mehndi henna designs (youtube it, it’s amazing). Even though we were barely speaking, Ben noticed I was researching it. I came into the bedroom one night and found Ben researching it and looking for kits online. We finally decided to go to Micheal’s and buy a kit to try. We barely spoke in the car there and back or in the store. That night, after mixing the henna Ben asked me to lay on the bed so he could try it out. It took about an hour for him to finish the design and another half an hour for the paste to dry. We didn’t speak the whole time, but this was different. The closeness of our bodies while he carefully created the design, requiring me not to move a muscle created an intimacy we were not expecting. For two hours we were able to be together, not speaking a word. Nothing sexual, but total intimacy.
The tension began to lift almost immediately. We repeated this for the next couple of nights until we ran out of henna. Neither of us wanted to lose this time together, so we found an Indian market near our house and bought a huge box of henna powder. I would get a lot of compliments on his designs when we went to the grocery store, which gave me an opportunity to brag on my husband. We would give each other a knowing smile while we talked about the process with total strangers or our close friends. It’s been two years since then, but henna is still one of our favorite things to do together. It’s cheap (about 4 dollars a box, plus a bottle of eucalyptus oil from the health food store) which makes it great for date nights during this struggling economy and my friends have been getting in on it, coming over to have designs done. I love to share this story with them while I apply their designs.
It doesn’t have to be henna (however we will give you the recipe and application tips if you would like to try it), but find an activity that you and your love can do together. Find one that you can do without speaking, develop your intimacy. Having a healthy sex life in your marriage is one thing, but intimacy… this is what fuels that fire and fuses the bond.