So this past week my husband has been out of town on business. When he is gone (regardless of the time zone of his travels) we really struggle to catch one another. I swear I receive more emails from him than phone calls because, to no fault of his or mine, we just can’t seem to have the same spare two minutes to talk. Sometimes I think even when we do find that our separate schedules eclipsed into a “win-the-lottery” moment of shared time, we are too exhausted to have anything good to say. After quickly saying the “I have to tell yous,” there is little steam left for the “I want to tell yous.”
Tonight, we went out on a date–like, a real one! I say “real” with some emphasis because we also go (or shall I say, don’t go) on our fair share of “at-home” dates. I am going to digress for a few moments to list off for you some of the main reasons “stay-home” dates completely suck.
– It is hard to feel relaxed when the dryer buzzer is about to go off.
– I rarely sit down at home and when I do, I feel guilty about it. Guilt isn’t an inspiring feeling on a date.
– For some reason, at-home date nights must always fall on a full moon or something, because on these nights, my children are usually howling about something and won’t go to bed.
– Dog barking … another mood kill.
– I don’t find: A) cooking my own dinner, B) making my own popcorn, or C) refilling my own drink very amusing.
– Comfy, cozy couch clothes are not the most attractive.
– If we own the movie and have seen it before, one or both of us will inevitably fall asleep by the third scene.
– We never agree on a movie genre, which aggravates us both to the point of picking a dumb TV show instead that neither of us particularly enjoy.
– We watch the clock without meaning to, knowing how soon we’ll have to get up, and how much more comfortable sleeping in our bed would be as opposed to hanging out in the living room together.
– Whenever we try to play a game like Scrabble, we fizzle out and blame our lack of competition on a “bad board.”
There are about a hundred other reasons that “stay-home” dates are completely lame, but those are the biggest factors for me. Because of this, I always try to take date night very seriously when we’re out and about, and appreciate it more than I can say. When we take time for ourselves, I realize how much I not only love, but really like my husband. Not “like” in an obligatory-marital, “I’m stuck with you so I have to like you,” kind of way, but a true, “Wow I enjoy your company and I’d pick you all over again!” kind.
What’s sad is, I find that when my husband is on a trip for any length of time, my children and I get into our own little patterned world of “going it alone.” We adapt and metamorphize (yup … made that word up) into our own little unit. We are efficient and structured in our own way, but somehow … we are also less. There is an African proverb that says, “If you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far, go together.” Well, I think it is time to admit that without him, I am lost. I may get a lot accomplished, but it is nothing of worth when he isn’t there to share it with. My husband isn’t my “better half,” he is what makes me whole.
When he is gone I don’t sleep as well. I am not as kind. I don’t have as much patience (for others or myself.) I try too hard at things that don’t really matter in an effort to cope, and lose sight of precious moments he would help me slow down for. Tonight, I didn’t have to feel that way. Sitting on a park bench in the middle of the city, I felt tucked in and safe in the crook of his arm. I breathed deeper, relaxed in the company of “us” and was able to laugh at all the things I’d worried over all week. In the words of author Michelle Dalton, “I loved the just-us-ness of it.” He makes me better. He makes me like me so much more, and I am thankful for the simple fact that he introduced me to a version of myself that wouldn’t exist without him. I don’t deserve to be loved so well, but God am I ever thankful I am.
I hope you know love like this … if you haven’t found it, keep looking, and accept no substitutes.