Back in December, I wrote about Keystone Habits, one of which was to Eat Dinner As A Family. It was a habit that I wanted to start because I found that my family and I were not having dinner as a family, and if we did, it was rarely at the kitchen table. Most of our dinners were late night, and rarely together unless we went out to eat. It wasn’t because we didn’t want to eat together, it was just because of work and work out schedules. My wife and I decided to make a change and try to have more dinners together.
I am pleased to say that since we decided to make a change, we are having many more dinners together. No, it is not every night, but most nights. Some times we eat at the dinner table together, some nights we eat and watch a show together. The important part is that it is together. Since we’ve started this habit, three positive things have come about…
1. We Have Learned More About Each Other
By having dinner together, it gives us more time to talk about each other’s days. The ups and downs, the wins and losses, the good and the bad. Before, if someone was not in a good mood, we had a tendency to just see that someone was in a mood and give them space. Now, we take the time to ask what is bothering them, instead of assuming it is something small. By talking to each other more, we can understand each other better and empathize with each other. Sometimes, we just have bad days, and they suck. We take the time to listen to each other more now and that can go a long way in building relationships.
2. We Laugh More Together
If we don’t have dinner at the table, we tend to watch a TV show together. Lately, we have been watching a lot of 20-40 minutes shows like Young Sheldon and or Gordon Ramsay’s 24 Hours To Hell And Back. Both of these shows give us a chance to laugh together. And a family that laughs together is a closer family. My son and I love to watch my wife get grossed out by the rotten food Gordon Ramsay finds on his show. It is hilarious. These are the kinds of experiences that are making us closer.
3. Our First Instinct Is Dinner Together
Since we have made it a point to have dinner together each night, it is now our first instinct to have dinner together. It is our default mode. Though it is true we can’t have dinner together every night, we do have dinner together more now than we have had over the last two years. Since my older boys are off to college, they are typically not home during school, but everyone else who is home knows we have dinner together now. We discuss what we are going to have, what time, and if at the dinner table or watching a show. Before, it was understood that we were busy and we tended to eat at separate times. Now, it is mostly together, which allows us to enjoy to two previously mentioned benefits.
I am very happy that my wife and I decided to make this change and have more dinners together as a family. It has surely brought us closer together and given us more time to spend together. It is understood that dinner is together now, and it is the odd thing for it not to be. I feel like my family is a bit closer than before and I am more aware of how their day was and can share mine with them. It’s really just a simple change, but one that, over time, will bring our family even closer together.
If you don’t make it a point to have dinner together, I strongly suggest you make the change today. Try to have dinner together at least 3-4x a week. Make it a point to change your schedule around so that this happens. It will make all the difference in your life and bring your family closer together. It will help you each share in the rewards and struggles of each day. And families that experience things together, stay together.