couple chatting puzzle
Illustration by Marta Pucci

Marco (39) & Alex (33)

Marco: We’ve been married for five years now, and both live pretty full-on lives. We have two under two and Alexa is full time at home with them at the moment.

Alexa: FULL time being the optimal word here.

Marco: Exactly. So she’s super busy with the kids, and so am I when I’m home from work. I work as a chef and it’s high energy, and high stress, have you seen the film Boiling Point? 

Alexa: He works chef hours too which sometimes works out well for the kids and sometimes means he won’t see them for days. So anyway we both have our own stresses and when it’s time to come together when he’s home and the kids are in bed, we’re both knackered! There didn’t seem to be any quality time really, we love laying on the couch watching Netflix together, and for us that is the dream. But it meant we didn’t really get the chance to talk a lot, like you don’t sit facing each other when you watch TV so there’s not even any eye contact.

Marco: I was bringing work stress home too, it takes me time to come down from the adrenaline buzz of the kitchen so it’s hard to flip into Dad mode and then Husband mode right after, you know? 

Alexa: Or just straight to nap on the couch mode (she laughs) but I’m the same. I'm in Mom mode all day then it’s like hey time to be a wife now when I’ve had people clambering over me all day and Marco’s just on his phone.

Marco: That’s how I relax!

Alexa: No I get that but you know what I mean.

Marco: Yeah of course, it’s our only time together and we realized we weren’t ‘feeling together’ in it. 

Alexa: It’s funny people always say ‘wow being with a chef you must get so many delicious meals’ but I actually do most of the cooking at home, because it’s what he does all day, it’s just the last thing you want to do. And something I realized, when we learned more about ourselves, was that it was very similar to how I felt about intimacy, I have two kids (who I love!) but they’re stuck to me all day, Marco would get home and the last thing I want is another person needing physical affection. I was tapped out! 

We were either just stressed, or trying to charge up for the next day of stress. 

Marco: Yeah, finding Blueheart was so so good for us. The Destress Your Relationship course and the Toolkit that comes with it was on the nose for us. 

It was amazing to see how easy it was, a little breathing together in a mindful way and it really regulates your body. And doing it together made it so much nicer. 

We didn’t have to give up our Netflix zombie time, 

It's just something we added into that routine to help speed up the de-stress time, and it makes the rest of the evening more enjoyable, more like quality time. 

Alexa: I’ve always felt a bit silly doing it on my own with things like that, like when would I even do it? 

But having that time to sit and hold hands or just touch a part of the body and feel the warmth of my husband while we slow our breathing for a couple of minutes, the results have just been amazing. 

We even use it when we’ve argued and need to bring it down a notch, or if the kids have stressed us out (she laughs). 

We’re, for sure, not perfect as a couple and there are a lot of other courses I want to try with him, communication’s a big one for us so I’m excited to look into that next. That’s the thing about a marriage or any relationship. I guess there’s always room for improvement! 

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