I went on a date with my husband last week. A friend kept the children and we had about 6 hours to ourselves, to do anything we wanted to do. I had high hopes for our first date in over two years, but as the day progressed I found myself a little disappointed. I’d thought this would be a time for us to “reconnect,” that we would end our day feeling “closer” than we had before. That somehow we would love each other more after our date, we’d hold hands and cuddle and kiss and come home feeling like newlyweds. That didn’t happen. Instead, we had a nice cozy afternoon together, went out to lunch and then went to play golf.
I’ve been thinking a lot about it since then, wondering exactly what it was I was expecting, and why I was expecting it. What does it mean to “reconnect” or feel “closer,” anyway? What does it mean to feel “connected” and “close” in the first place? I’m not sure it gets much more connected than raising six children together, or closer than having lived with this man for longer than I lived with either my parents. I think when it comes down to it, I was expecting to have that “first date” experience all over again. You know, the stuff that movies are made of. I was expecting for him to be “lost in my eyes,” and for me to hold his hand and feel sparks.
After our date I spoke with my friend about the way I felt, and we were throwing around some ideas of things we could do next time to “connect,” when she said something that really made me think. She told me that she also has a difficult time getting into “date mode,” and switching from the normal relationship she has with her husband. Switching to what, exactly? That conversation really got me thinking. What is it that I was trying to switch to? Why was I chasing the “first date” experience? What is it inside of me that has made the comfortableness of marriage somehow less desirable than the excitement of a new relationship? The “spark” we felt the first time we kissed has become replaced by the familiarity and comfort of an intimacy developed over ten years time, yet sometimes I find myself desiring the glitter rather than the gold.
Is it wrong if my husband and I “ don’t have anything to talk about?” Or is that simply the wonderful byproduct of having lived with a man for over a decade? Is it wrong if I don’t get chills every time he kisses me, or is that the beautiful side of having developed a mature intimacy over ten years time?
I heard it said once that when a couple goes to a marriage retreat to “reconnect,” they’re almost always divorced six months later. Why? Maybe it has something to do with chasing a relationship that doesn’t – and shouldn’t – exist between a husband and a wife. Maybe we’re selling ourselves far short when we look to “rekindle” a romance, instead of celebrating a connection born through fire, a union birthed in trial, adversity, laughter, joy and everything in between.
The truth is, I connect with my husband in deep and meaningful ways at the strangest of times. Our marriage is full of amazing, wonderful, beautiful moments… and lots of comfortable, ordinary, boring moments, too. And that, I think, is the way it should be.
So the next time my husband and I go out on a date, I’m going to celebrate the comfortable mundaneness of it all. We’ll do the most boring thing we can think of, and enjoy the unremarkableness of our time together. I think we’ll go play golf. :)