I’m embarrassed to say, it’s a pretty typical nighttime situation. My husband and I finally get the boys to bed. It could be anywhere between 8:30pm-10pm, when we trudge downstairs. He goes to the couch where he sets himself up with the iPad and the sport game du jour, while I either sit in front of my laptop to write an essay or read an essay. If it’s closer to the 10pm mark, I sit for a little, maybe flip the laundry and then head back upstairs. Usually, I give him a little wave before I go.
This is our quality alone time; him on the couch with the ball players, me, in bed with the Real Housewives. We could do worse, but we could certainly do better. I hear that in this young children stage, our behavior is pretty typical. We are tired. Honestly, I’m usually too tired to even mind the lack of time together. I need time to myself just as much as I need time with my husband.
For the record – yes, I have to say it – I think we have a pretty solid marriage. We like each other. We support each other. We met at 15, started dating seriously at 19, got married at 27, and have been married for over 15 years. We know each other. Well. Still, I don’t know if I’m okay that the majority of our time together is spent alone, or that I’m just in it deep, and numb to what’s happening.
Either way, it’s only at certain moments, when I realize we’re missing something. Like the other night.
My husband was down in the basement putting together a ping-pong table that we got as a surprise for the boys. He made his way down there around 9:30pm or so, while I finished up around the house and then immediately went to lie down. Around 11:15pm, he comes into our room where I’m dozing, and says, “Hey, why haven’t you come down the basement?”
Huh? I’m half-asleep. “Sorry. I just thought you were busy putting together the table, and I was tired.”
“Why don’t you come down now? I’m almost done.”
I looked at him, bleary-eyed, and to be honest, slightly annoyed. The last thing I wanted to do was move from my comfy bed and wake myself from my happy haze.
“I really don’t want to.” I pouted.
He looked at me with disappointment. “I thought you’d be interested and keep me company.” He paused. “And I could use your help.”
I jumped on that. I knew it. He needed my help. He wasn’t interested in my company. My expression must have betrayed my thoughts, because he backed out of the room before I even answered. “Forget it. Whatever.”
Well, I got what I wanted. I was alone again, but now I was torn. I really, really wanted to be sleeping, but a part of my brain was flicking little red flags at me. Why didn’t I originally go down to keep him company? Why wasn’t I interested? Why didn’t I even think about going down? Shit.
I pushed the covers aside, got out of bed and trudged downstairs to the basement. He was sitting on the floor, studying the instructions sheet; tools and a half put together table next to him.
I studied his bowed, wavy head of hair and concentrated expression. He hadn’t yet realized I was there; still so cute, yet obviously going a little deaf.
“Hi,” I said.
He looked up and immediately smiled. It was the crinkly-eyed smile, the one I fell in love with.
“I’m glad you came.”
“Me too.” I said and meant it, and sat down on the floor next to him.
Sometimes, you just need a moment to get your head back in the game.
This brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for the reminder.
thank you. it’s easy to lose your way…
Excellent post. I often worry about the state of my marriage b/c our alone time is so infrequent and I feel all this pressure to be datey and get the sitter. But I am tired and sitters aint cheap. I love this post for the comfort it offers. BLess you.
thank goodness i’m not alone. sometimes, i’m just so freaking tired. the effort is such an effort. i’m sure it has a lot to do with these ‘raising kids’ years. hopefully… 😉
Funny how you think you’re the only one until someone tells their story. Thanks for sharing.
thanks for reading! we so live lives in our own bubbles.
Wise girl,you did the right thing.
But I know what being tired means!
sometimes making an effort is such an effort! 😉
That’s so true!
Oh you’re so not alone in this. We’ve been married 13 years and we do the same thing…he’s playing video games, I’m blogging or playing facebook games. It’s sad really. But I love your cute happy ending to this story and hey you guys got a cool ping pong table that you could use to play and bet and enjoy each other’s company too! 🙂
thank you!! i think it’s the same all over… or, at least, makes me feel more normal. and the ping pong table is fun, but tonight we’re bonding over watching modern family on tv. 🙂
Its so hard to balance the need for alone time with “us time.” I think its something that everyone struggles with. Thanks for writing about it.
it ain’t easy. 😉
This couldn’t be more timely. I find myself in the same situation/pattern regularly. I love that your husband came to you for “help” and that you changed your pattern. So hard to do and so worth it! You rock!
thank you. wish my husband felt the same. he’s a little pissed. and i thought it was nice. go figure.
I thought it was nice too! Maybe he can rewrite the post from his point of view? I’m working on a post right now that I may have Mike rewrite to tell his side. Could be fun. He’d likely prefer sex. Go figure! 😉
that’s a great idea. he’ll never do it!
We’re coming over… we can kick your asses in ping-pong. Doubles. We’re champions. Seriously. 😉
oh – you are so on!
Sometimes I have to let my hubby know I need some time alone…that I’m sleeping and I need my sleep believe me! But I try to give him as much quality time with me as I can, even if it is just the two of us sitting on the couch watching TV. Have fun playing ping pong! 🙂
thanks. you’re right.. and ping pong is so much fun!! especially when i’m winning. 😉
I love this story because it is something I think we can all relate to. You did the right thing, by the way. Sometimes we just have to remember to put our spouse first, even though it can be so hard when you’d rather be doing something else (like sleeping:)
thank you! and it’s so true… sometimes you just want to curl up and not be bothered, but being bothered is part of being married! haha. 🙂
We totally do that nightly routine – bath time for the kids and then laptop for me and tv for him. We have been making more of an effort to actually watch more tv together and date night at least once a month. Thanks for this post!
thank you. it’s so easy to get complacent. parenting is exhausting!
hi, i’m following the “i don’t like mondays” blog hop. i would love for you to visit my blog and follow if you like it.
new follower bev
of course! 🙂
Oh, this is so sweet. I’ve noticed my husband and I have gotten into the same rut. He goes upstairs to his office to work and I sit in bed watching tv and writing/reading. I remembered when we used to watch movies on Saturday nights, eating dinner in front of the tv. So when he started for the stairs, I coerced him with a Paul Rudd/Steve Correll movie marathon. (Something for everybody, right?) and he made us a nice cheese and fruit platter. We had an excellent Saturday night.
love that!! it’s so hard to make that effort sometimes, but worth it.
My husband and I became friends 13 years before we started dating. We’ve been married almost 23 years. We’re so comfortable we forget we’re human sometimes I think. The crinkly eyes got me — my hubby’s eyes do the same for me. ❤
wow, you beat me. i dated my husband for 8 years before we married and have been married 16. i was friends with him for 4 before that… nope. you still win. 🙂 love those crinkly eye smiles.