Over the weekend I spent time reading The Pioneer Woman's love story, which chronicles her courtship with Marlboro Man. It is beautifully written. She is a wonderful, engaging writer. A book deal already signed, she is in the process of writing part ll (post wedding years) right now.
A. very. romantic. tale.
I started on Saturday night after I put the kids to bed (husband at work). Folks, I could not peel myself away until 3:30 in the morning! This is why I can't read novels much in this season of life. If they're good, I neglect my family and just read and read and read. Somehow, I don't have the willpower to compartmentalize my passions. I love a good story! Unfortunately, I was extremely tired and cranky the next day, after sleeping only two hours.
Blogs are inspiring, yet short and sweet and I can go right back to my family. But, oh! How I miss novels!
As I read I felt sad that as a couple, we haven't had opportunity to touch base with one another often enough to keep our love and passion fresh. The Pioneer Woman's mother-in-law is close by, so they've had opportunities to get out of town, and take shorter breathers fairly often. Since Beth was born seventeen months ago, we've been on one date, which was about 90 minutes long. I think the previous one was a year earlier, and equally short. Since we had our first child in 2002, we've been on about ten dates total, and none more than a couple hours long.
Moreover, since my husband works nights, there is precious little time available to us that doesn't involve the children's presence. The two nights he is home (Tues and Thurs), he often falls asleep out of sheer exhaustion, or he has studying to do, since there is little time for that as well.
It took reading Ree's love story to help me realize how far we've drifted from one another. There is still a sacred covenant, and mutual love, but our limited time means we're barely friends. Both of us realize this is a temporary season, but that doesn't make it easier right now.
I've grieved since finishing her story. So much. They had four children in 8 years, and we had four children in 7 years. And yet their romance is still very much alive. Or so it seems. I know blogs can be deceptive.
Our romance? Not vibrant, to say the least.
I had about fifteen minutes to tell my husband about the story, while the kids were briefly in the playroom. I told him how sorry I was for not hugging and kissing him daily, for more than brief seconds at his departure. Touch and talk bring cravings for more. Okay...for a man, maybe not the talk part. But when opportunity is absent for too long, there is a slow drifting away, and then the cravings drift also.
The only thing I can do differently, is to spend more time giving him affection while the kids are around. The remaining variables are out of my control.
When there were fewer broken families in our culture, people wanted to be around extended family more often--even live down the street from one another. But with all the divorces now, many want to move away from their folks to minimize exposure to various problems.
The result? Married couples have no familial support. No one invests in the marriage enough to lend a hand on a regular basis.
In the average 2.2 kid household, this can be remedied by hiring babysitters, if they're available. But the more kids you add, the fewer offers you get. And, the fewer people you run across who can actually handle your brood. My dad, at seventy, couldn't handle all of them when he was here. My aunt and uncle can't handle all of them right now either. As Beth gets older, that may change.
Don't let this happen to you! If you're in the throes of multiple diapers and spills and potty training right now, brainstorm ways to keep your passion alive.
And read Ree's love story as a reminder of what passion really is. Not as a comparison. Just as a reminder of what you first saw in your husband, and how you first felt when he embraced you.
It's not R rated, by the way.
P. S. Whatever you do, don't write me to say I have to get creative and do the deed in the bathroom. Yikes. My Houdini toddler can not be contained! Such suggestions, which you often hear about, must be for couples with older children. Or for younger couples with raging libidos. Whatever.
Just don't write that. Okay? I'll have to throw cyber shoes at you, channeling poor George Bush's ordeal.