Remember high heels and date nights?
This was the caption to a photograph I recently posted on Facebook. The picture was taken to capture a joyous event, a special occasion.
Remember when date nights were a given?
Two young children, sleep deprivation, fatigue, inertia, and Netflix put an end to the practice of dates, until one day shortly before the photograph in question was taken my husband and I took a long, hard, groggy look at the reduction that we’ve unintentionally subjected certain aspects of our relationship to and decided to reinstall date nights. As a start.
Falling into a rut and losing sight of what’s important to you after 10 years of marriage is easy, especially when you have kids. This realization made me subject our relationship to further scrutiny. Here are some of the characteristics of a marriage entering its eleventh year:
1. Instead of responding to your call by rushing down the stairs, your partner will continue shaving for the longest two to three minutes of your life while you resort to praying that the big, black, flying bug stays put.
2. Speaking of being heard, here’s an interesting biological fact: after 10 years of marriage certain parts of the ear are atrophied making the following dialogue possible.
You: I’m not feeling well. I hope I’m not getting sick again.
Him: Sounds like a plan!
The slow eye roll may have become your go to reaction.
3. You used to spend an hour getting ready for a date in attempt to impress them. Now you're each other’s designated “Have I got something stuck between my teeth?” person.
4. There was at least one time that one of you left for work before the other one and you didn’t look at each other when you said "goodbye."
5. There are many similarities between life with kids and 10 year-long marriages. For example, both assume the eradication of certain terms like "privacy," "gross," and "unacceptable." In other words somehow – and it might have something to do with the fact that underwear is no longer a "mystery" but rather "laundry," - the borders of acceptability are extended and redefined to contain a used up tissue patiently waiting to be picked up from the sofa and you know that it’s not the kids, because they use their sleeves and also because it’s yours.
6. There are No. New. Stories. You’ve read the book and can only reread it now. You remember all the chapters. You know all about his childhood – pets, best friends, shenanigans. You’ve heard about his parents (and have formed your own opinions), accomplishments, vices, and undoubtedly even his other relationships. Heck, you could probably guess his password AND security questions, if you needed to.
7. Scratch that. Some of the events you’ve experienced together are so “vintage” by now that you can recycle the stories about them. It’ll be like your partner’s heard about it for the first time. True story.
8. When you go to a new restaurant you’ve both never been to, you know by looking at the menu exactly what starter, main dish, and dessert he is going to order.
9. When it comes to big-ish investments, your house - with its endless needs - will always compete for your money with your desire to travel and will probably win too.
10. There’s some great comfort in routines and in finding the person you’re willing to entrust with the task of checking your teeth for spinach for the rest of your life. What’s important is to keep reminding yourself of the reasons you chose them for that task in the first place.