There are some of you reading this who make me nervous as I write this. I wish you would just stop reading it.
It’s you guys: married with children, young ones, but somehow never miss your Friday date night... You text all day long – silly jokes, sweet nothings, prayer requests… except when you don’t have to, when you’re on your once-a-month overnight getaways. That’s when you discuss your answers to the marriage self-help book you’ve been reading in your spare time.
Congratulations, Romeo and Juliet. I don’t know how you do it.
Don’t get me wrong. We were you. We used to be really romantic. The first night Todd and I started dating (on New Year’s Eve, 2006) we talked for three hours on the phone, then cuddled and told shared our deepest dreams as watched the sun come up over the lake.
We were such a cute little dating couple. We saw each other every night, rehashing every wonderful little detail about our days apart. (“Honey, did you have turkey or ham today? You never told me!!”)
A year after we were married, I was pregnant.
While I wouldn’t trade this stage for anything, and there is no one I would rather raise my boys with than Todd…WOW. Have things changed.
I had a scary realization the other night. The boys had gone to bed. Todd and I were sitting in a completely silent room. He was reading some NASCAR blog on his phone. I was
mindlessly checking Facebook. I think it had been an hour since we put the boys to bed, and neither of us had spoken a word.
And it hit me.
I like this.
I have not spoken to my husband all day long, and I am fine with that. I am so tired, I could go to bed right this instant and not bat an eye.
Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
I would have never, ever in a million years guessed myself susceptible to the “leave-me-alone” housewife gig. I love talking. Quality time is my love language. I’ve read all the marriage books and gone to all the seminars. I know all the quotes and must-dos.
The only explanation I can think of is something I think our pastor showed us in premarital counseling. He put his hands flat together. This is you, now. Together. Then, slowly, he drew his hands apart. Here is the natural progression from here on out, unless you work and fight it.
I think I remember casting Todd a cute little smirk. Not us, you hottie. *wink.*
Welp, if it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone.
Once it hit me I was indeed becoming a statistic, I did what I always do when I’m worried. I nag. It’s a very enduring quality, one of Todd’s favorites about me. After a few days of getting him good and nagged, I finally implemented the much-wiser “Esther” treatment of husbands. Over fast food and beer, I told him I thought we should spend more quality time together.
Turns out he’s not the devil after all and he agrees wholeheartedly.
As we’ve been working on this, a few brief things are worth nothing:
- I really actually enjoy my husband, beyond the feelings of gratitude I have when he brings me the box of baby wipes.
- After four straight years of working on allergy cooking, sleep-training, house-cleaning, potty training, child-rearing, baby nurturing, green living, and money budgeting, I am giving myself permission to spend some time working on my marriage. It feels like eating the last delicious french fry to do something so self-gratifying, but marriage is important, too.
- Make date nights important. Blah, blah, blah is what I used to think. Date night schmate nights. We are plenty in love. Well, possibly. But we have been shocked at how enjoyable it is to simply cover the floor with a blanket, sprawl out with some take-out, put on Pandora and a few candles, and have an uninterrupted conversation. It feels like heaven. No, I’m wrong. If we were at Ruth’s Chris, that would feel like heaven.
- I hate to sound like a modern-day prophet when I know I’m not one. But I think God blesses the time that exhausted, frazzled couples with snotty, needy little ones spend together. I know He has blessed ours. The time, he multiples. He gives you insights about your goals, your kids, your faith. He fills you with joy and draws you together.
Over the next few posts I’ll be sharing some of these insights we’ve had. Which makes me realize…January and February were months of dismal exhaustion, and March is the month for insights and goals. I guess all those hibernating naps in winter did something.