“Are you doing Buti Sculpt tonight?”
“I was thinking about walking there and joining you and then we could walk home together.”
My husband walks to yoga after work on Mondays and then – if he walked to work – I usually pick him up simply because the Monday night class is called “Buti Sculpt” and is VERY intense and walking home can be a challenge on wobbly legs. I decided to re-focus on my yoga this week as I’ve not gone in a few weeks and I wanted to join him last night.
On the VERY SLOW walk home (Me: I didn’t think this through. Now we both have to walk home on wobbly legs.) we were discussing how much “better” our relationship has been the last two years. Now, I put “better” in quotes because I don’t think that’s the right word, but he does and I don’t necessarily think it’s the WRONG word, I’m just not sure it’s the right one.
I told him part of it is that our kids are old enough to be left alone now so we can do stuff like spontaneously go to yoga together, or go grab a beer down the road without calling a sitter. I think every couple with small kids struggles the first 10 years to find good quality time together because it requires such an effort and…let’s be honest…when you put forth the effort for a date night, it’s almost like the pressure is too much and with us the energy was never as fun and casual as it is now when we just look at each other and say, “Want to go to OTBX for a beer?”
The other part is we’ve found stuff we like to do together. We’ve always enjoyed training for the same races because it gives us good conversation and good points of interest, but because our skill level is so VERY DIFFERENT we aren’t actually doing it together. Now, our skill level is different in yoga too (my husband is next level, y’all) – but at least we’re in the same class together. If our mats are close enough there’s the random should pat when we stretch out or the whisper, “Nice!” when we notice the other person attempted a difficult bind or balance. It’s better than running or triathlon training because we are actually side-by-side, not just doing the same thing – separately.
We also both have LOVED living two miles from downtown because we get so much walking in together. Donnie walks to work and sometimes I join him if the timing is right for the kids and school dropoff. We always walk to Sunday Asanas & Ales together if the weather is nice. And going on walks is great because the only option you have is to talk to pass the time.
The thing is – two miles is not “walking distance” for everyone. We are lucky we both consider it reasonable because most people assume we live a bit closer to downtown when we walk in to work or events. But both of us consider that very reasonable because it’s still only 45 minutes and in some cities that’s a driving commute to some places and – especially this time of year – it’s LOVELY.
And we just like each other’s company. It’s funny because we’re both very different people than when we first fell in love, so I’m not sure we’d believe you that we’d still like each other 20 years later if we described each other. But, we’ve changed TOGETHER and that’s kept us liking each other through all of the changes that life has dished out.
I’m just happy about this. Marriage is not easy to maintain when you’re exhausted in the trenches with babies and toddlers and then the kids get old enough to have extracurriculars and you’re trying to manage who takes whom where and when, and you’re rarely anywhere together at the same time and so talking time is non-existent, When you get home and you’re both in the same place, you are just too tired. Marriages get ignored accidentally, at least it did with us. Everyone tells you “marriage is work” but no one points out that you don’t have the energy or the time to put in the work and then the next thing you know your kids are old enough to not want/need you anymore and you forgot to prioritize your marriage and you just find yourself thinking, Thank god I still like this guy.
Sometimes we agree to do stuff we don’t love because it seems important to the other person. I went to a GoT watch party with Donnie having never seen the show before, Donnie went to an art festival with me. We both have that voice in the back of our heads that says, Eh…what harm is it to do this thing that is not 100% my thing but means I get to hang out with this person I kind like so I guess I’ll do it anyway.
(That’s going to be my title of my forthcoming marriage advice manual.)
It’s just nice to realize, Oh! I didn’t screw this thing up by accident when my kids were little and I was too tired to put the effort in to maintain it! Older and wiser friends of ours assure us this is also a good thing when you’re suffering from empty nest syndrome because you’ll already have a natural non-parenting chemistry so it won’t feel awkward when there are no kids around.
We like each other still, after 20 years. We didn’t put a lot of effort into making sure that happened, but I’m really glad it did.