Living

The secret to a happy life together

Connecting as a couple is always important, but with Mark having just returned from Afghanistan, we're finding it to be a necessity.

Right now, during a bit of a tumultuous time in our relationship, it is important that Mark and I reconnect as a couple and constantly explore new ways to do so. It means doing the little things like turning off the television when eating dinner together. It means sitting on the couch and talking about our days. It’s also important that we try different things. And so, the mission this weekend was snowshoeing.

I’ve mentioned that my knee gives me a lot of problems, and so I’m always looking for new ways to be active without aggravating my joints. Snowshoeing seemed like the perfect answer. And the weather even cooperated! We had just got a few centimetres of snow, the sun was shining and the trails were well-groomed at our conservation area. It was the perfect day. Once I got the hang of the awkward movement, I was clipping along at a speed that impressed me.

After about half an hour, we turned a corner to meet this lovely couple, both in their late 70s and both cross-country skiing faster than Mark or I ever could. We chatted for a few moments, discussed the weather and other pleasantries, but the husband, eager to get on the move, began skiing away from us. His wife clucked her tongue at him, then turned to me and said, “The secret to a happy life together,” without even being slightly out of breath from her trek, “is to always be active and always be active together.” With that, she reached into her pocket, pulled out some birdseed and poured it into my hands, then scooted away, faster than she had arrived.

I don’t know if the birds had been watching her the whole time, but no sooner had the sunflower seeds hit my hands before the little creatures were sitting on the edge of my fingertips, darting in and out and gorging themselves. I felt like I was in a wholesome black and white movie where this kind of thing happened all the time. And then I wondered, how had I made it to the age of 26 without ever feeding a bird?

Eventually, the seed was all gone and Mark and I began our own trek back home, traipsing around clumsily in our snowshoes. We left the conservation area hand in hand, laughing and chatting about what an interesting couple they had been. Yes, Mark and I are going to be just fine. A little birdie told me so.

Kelly