As a family of two, my husband and I have had a spotty track record of regular Family Home Evenings. Excluding the few evenings we’ve gotten together with another childless couple, I can’t remember the last time I had an FHE with just my husband. I recall early conversations during our first month of marriage where we discussed what our Monday nights would look like. In my typical fashion, I had a clearly organized plan with alternating lessons, songs, prayers, games, and refreshments between the two of us. I imagined cozy nights in with us enjoying each other’s company through a carefully crafted routine. Chad’s plan was somewhat lower key, shedding pretty much everything except an activity. I tried to muscle my plans into our newlywed schedule for a few weeks, but with one-sided effort, I eventually gave into the a compromise of sorts: no FHE. It wasn’t malicious–negligent, really, if anything.
The laziness still irks me, though. With every General Conference talk and Relief Society lesson reminding about the blessings to be reaped from a weekly Family gathering, I get hit with equal waves of guilt and longing for something more than my current situation. I know that we’re not necessarily at the stage where FHE is in its prime, but I have a testimony of how those evenings knit my family together growing up. Shining memories of my kid sister quizzing us on how much is appropriate to give to charity (“40 dollars. 50 dollars is too much.”) or rapid fire rock paper scissors tournaments when we were too time-strapped to get out a board game–it’s all dear to me. I wonder if we’re setting the wrong precedent. Three years into our marriage, we’re no longer newlyweds and our tendencies are taking the shape of habits on their way to becoming traditions. How easily will that change when we look to expand our family?
The answer is somewhere in between, I’m sure. Something less structured than the FHE of a more robust family I was so accustomed to with two parents and four siblings, yet more than absolute absence of planning I currently experience. But the laxness of the past few years has worn down my rationale. With just two people, what makes FHE any different from any other conversation? Any other time we read scriptures together or talk about something spiritual within the walls of our home?
So tell me, when did you start your FHE tradition? Is it a tradition, or do you struggle just as much as I do pushing a practice that seems like an awkward fit for your current household? In a way, I’m using this post as resolve to be more diligent in my planning, and I appreciate any advice or stories to help nudge me along.