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- Hillary Harvey
Wait. We can go out without kids?
Suzanne Timbrouck smiles sideways at her husband, Brian. "There was a moment in our marriage when we were going to get a divorce," she explains. With six kids at home and two careers, plus grad school, the Timbroucks had stopped spending time together. "She was doing her thing, and I was doing mine," Brian says. "We were ships passing." Like a lot of couples, they thought they were just putting the kids first. Then they realized, once everyone had left the nest, what would they do?
The Timbroucks decided to get away to a Best Western, spending so much time checking in that the babysitter threatened to unplug the phone. That's when they realized they were alone and started reconnecting. When they got home on the third day, the kids barely looked up. It was a turning point, and they decided to make it a regular date.
Recently, they went to the Rhinecliff for Date Night, their year-round, unadvertised, Wednesday-night special (ask for it by name). The Timbroucks dropped the kids off at school (with plans for their sleepovers), then walked around town, had dinner at Terrapin in Rhinebeck, and enjoyed their roomy suite and Jacuzzi. "It seemed like a high-end getaway, but not for a high-end price," Suzanne says. It was May, so, wrapped in blankets, they sat late into the night on the suite's balcony overlooking the river. "If you don't know what else to talk about," Suzanne says, "one of the most important things is to talk about your future together. What's your bucket list?" The next day, they enjoyed a full breakfast with French-press coffee and returned to their kids recharged. "You come back like superheroes, ready to do this really good job again."
In fact, the Timbroucks were so transformed by this recommitment to their marriage that they designed a twice-yearly seminar. It's called 3 to 1 Ministries, and they help six-couple groups learn how to turn it around, over coffee and dessert every Saturday night for nine weeks. "At one point, you were head over heels," Suzanne smiles. "That person is still in there."
The Sure Thing
"People think sex is supposed to be spontaneous and romantic," Cunningham says, "and, if I don't feel the urge, there's something wrong. But that's not true." For tired parents, it can take energy to even think about having sex, but Cunningham believes that sex also generates energy. And sometimes you have to make a plan to enjoy alone time in bed.
You could do it at Omega, when they offer a Tantric workshop June 6-8 taught by veteran faculty members Steve and Lokita Carter. Tantric Intimacy is new this year and tailored for couples wishing to delve into a spiritual, sensual connection. For those with little time, Lokita promises, "The tantric treasure chest has a great abundance of jewels for all time budgets!" While couples work together exclusively in a theory-oriented format, and there is no explicit sexual activity in the workshop room, there is some Saturday-night homework. That's when, in the privacy of their own rooms on the lush Omega campus, couples can practice some of the concepts learned that day, hands-on.
Seizing the Day
The crab cakes were from Adam's Fairacre Farms, and Lena grilled them off the stern and served them to us on bamboo plates with wasabi and BBQ sauce. We sat in the leather-cushioned cockpit, sipping Prosecco from Partition Street Wine Shop and chatting with Captain Jerome about Caribbean winter sails and the ages of the children Owen and I were eluding that night. The sun was glowing as it set behind the mountains, and it gleamed off the river. Dark storm clouds were rolling in from the other direction, but Captain Jerome, with over 30,000 hours of sailing under his belt, wasn't concerned. "We've got the sailing down in our sleep. So we can focus on the food, ambiance, and connecting with our guests." He calls himself a hydrotherapist because, by the end of the sail, people always chill out. He nodded for Lena to pull out the surprise—a mattress that she positioned on the bow and tucked us into with a blanket. We were sailing down to the Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge now, spying banks and beaches of the Hudson River we had never seen before. As the midsummer wind cooled, Owen and I nestled on the bow couch in the setting sun, our cheeks aching with smiles. And I thought, we can't choose who we fall in love with, but we can choose whether it grows deeper with time.
Tivoli Sailing Tivolisailing.com
Elizabeth Cunningham Elizabethcunninghamwrites.com
Mohonk Mountain House Mohonk.com
Omega Institute Eomega.org
Rhinecliff Hotel Rhinecliffhotel.com
3 to 1 Ministries 3to1ministries.com