“I forgot how much I like you,” I said to him riding home in the car after a long-overdue evening out together.
Seano quickly turned to me with a confused and startled look that said, “Seriously? You’re kidding.”
I answered him without being further prompted, “I mean, I obviously love you and I love the life we are building together. I’m committed to you forever. But I forgot how much fun it is be with you and what it felt like to REALLY talk to you.”
Just four short years into our marriage, I had seriously forgotten that my husband is genuinely my favorite person. I’m embarrassed to be writing this post, but I am also proud that we are at least over the hump of recognizing it.
In the middle of starting a family, building careers, and establishing roots, Seano and I stopped making each other a priority in many ways. We quit making time for just each other. We avoided digging deeper into conversation than, “how are you?” “Fine. How are you?” “Fine.” We chose moments where we could check out, like looking at Facebook or You Tube, over moments of connection with each other.
Our attention was spread and focused on many others things. Sadly, when tested, the first thing we let go of us was our quality time together. When time and pressure came between us, we surrendered to our daily routine and solely focused on doing whatever needed to get done. It seemed like there were times we simply passed each other and if conversation did take place it was about our schedules, N’s needs, our homes needs, or what someone else was asking of us. We ignored what the other really needed and felt.
The truth is, when I said this to him, I had also forgotten what it was like to NOT be tending to someone’s needs every minute. When I’m at home or work, I’m constantly leading, supporting, managing, facilitating or (insert another adjective here) for the people in my life. While these are pieces that make up the life I love, it is, at times, exhausting. This particular evening, I let go of everything, other than my husband, that needed my attention and I remembered what it felt like to just be myself for a few hours. It was refreshing and eye opening. It has taken me too long to recognize and to be okay with needing a break for myself or my husband. Frankly, at times it still sounds and feels selfish to me.
Looking back, I can almost pinpoint the first mistake we made. While this is just a component of the overall problem, I believe it was one of the initial instigators. During N’s first year, I can count on two hands the hours Seano and I spent away from him together. Yes, that’s HOURS not dates. I remember telling people that as a working parent I already spent so much time away from N, that I didn’t really want to be away from him anymore. I consciously and proactively made a choice to let go of time with my husband.
Two years later, I see how this has affected our relationship. Thankfully, I also see how addressing it positively affects our family. After time together, Seano and I are more connected, better communicators, and, I like to think, just more considerate and kind to each other. In turn, we are happier, more loving and patient, less quick to anger, and therefore better parents and examples for N. I want to be a beautiful example of love for N. I anticipate he will largely base what he deserves and looks for in a partner on what he has seen in his parents. I want him know we value our time with each other as much as we value our time with him. That our love is not a result of him; but that he’s a product of our love.
What scares me most is how easily this happened. With a son that we both adore and is clearly our priority, we quickly let go of something else that is also critically important: each other. At times I remember thinking to myself, this baby is so dependent on me and Seano is an adult. He can surely meet his own needs for a while. By doing this, I also let go of my own needs for my husband and forgot that I was his wife before I was a mother.
Were there wonderful and beautiful moments in the middle of all of this? Of course. Did we ever stop loving each other? Absolutely not. Is the problem fixed by recognizing it and having a few date nights? Nope. With our busy lives and competing priorities, I’m sure we will still fail at this sometimes. But, I’ve started to see the importance of why we need this time together. And from here out, I’m making a commitment to it. I’m not saying that weekly, fancy dinners out or monthly getaways are the answer. These things are not regular realities in our world. But, creating time for each other, outside of and in our home and with and without N, has to be our new reality. Five, ten, twenty, or forty years into marriage, I’m in! Seano and I will keep dating each other. Because I really, really like my husband!
P.S. Finding any photos of Seano and I alone was nearly impossible. There is the cutest little boy in each of them!
*Stock photos from Pixabay.