Thursday, January 12, 2012

I may have Accidently Gotten it Right

Have I said before that marriage is hard? I’ve heard it likened to a mirror—held up to show us what we REALLY look like. We never talk about the kind of mirror, though. Sometimes, I think it’s a funhouse mirror—making me look a lot thinner and taller or even one of those magnification mirrors that make your pores look like craters.

But I digress…

Every now and then, like with parenting, I feel like I finally “get” something. Never do I presume to know it all or be an expert—there are more things I do wrong than right on any given day.

One of them is putting my hubby first. Often, I leave work and enter the survival mode of picking up kids, reminding them to do their homework, checking over the homework, getting them to practice or Brownies (although—I must confess, I regularly get out of being the carpool mom—yay!!!!), fixing dinner, cleaning up dinner, supervising showers and refereeing fights along the way. When they finally get into bed, I collapse and any thought of conversation with my hubby—except to re-hash my day—leaves my head.

And we don’t do the date night thing. I always think I would love to—after all—I like my traditions and habits. But I don’t make the effort to be consistent. I use lots of excuses: it costs too much to hire a babysitter AND pay for dinner (and I don't have time to organize the whol co-op thing with other couples), we could just do dessert, but we are both overweight and don’t need the extra calories, it’s been a long time since we’ve had a family night, so we really need to stay home with the girls, our schedule is so crazy, we can’t consistently plan a night to do it…and the list goes on. If making excuses were a subject in college, my gpa would have been a whole lot higher than it was.

I realized last night that, while I don’t do most things the “right” way, every now and then, I catch a glimpse of things that work--in their quirky, unconventional way. For the past few months, I have been going to my bed to read, play Words with Friends, chatter on facebook and unwind before going to sleep while Brian watches TV. I’ve justified it, saying I’m tired or that I just need my down time or don’t care to watch whatever crazy show he is watching (which is valid because if I do watch it, I get sucked into things like “Gold Rush” and Pawn Stars”).

But this week, I’ve been sitting in the living room with him. By no means was it intentional, although I wish it had been. It just worked out that I was either working or interested in what he was watching or just wanted to have his company.

What I’ve realized is how much my perception has changed this week. So often, as parents, we divide and conquer the mountainous tasks that need to be done (I never thought I’d miss the days of grocery shopping together). In doing this, I often feel like I’m alone in my task. We are working as a team to accomplish things, but, because we are not doing it side-by-side, it often feels like we are on opposite ends of the spectrum and frankly, not on the same team.

It’s amazing to me at what a little physical closeness has done to change that perception in my head. We haven’t had any deep conversations (last night’s consisted of me complaining about the peanut butter stuff in my M&M Blast and listing all the reasons it was a good thinkg I didn't have a peanut allergy or I could have sued them or died). In fact, I feel like we’ve talked less (of course, that could be a good reason—I haven’t said any crazy stuff), but communicated more.

I realize this isn't the end-all-be-all. I still have a lofty goal of a weekly date night. Honestly, I would settle for monthly at this point, too. In the meantime, I’m gonna enjoy just “being” with my hubby on the couch.

What things, intentional or unintentional have you found that help your marriage? No pat answers here—just honesty.

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