While Scott and I laughed at ourselves in yesterday’s post, it is also one of the reasons I’m cutting back on work. When my spouse arrives home at 9:30 p.m., I would like to ask him how his day is. I may be good at fake listening, arguing and multitasking, but doing many things at once means nothing gets my full attention. Multitaskers fail to do anything very well, and I want to do my marriage well.
Last week, we canceled everything that we had scheduled after the kids’ bedtime and spent those hours together. Monday through Sunday, we dated. We talked, watched movies, debated about world events, watched TV shows, got into a fight, made up, put away laundry and did it all with each other. Before that, Scott and I hadn’t spent more than two nights together in six weeks and not because of travel or unexpected events. Our lives were revolving around everything except our marriage, which is not something a week of dates fixes, but it was a good place to start.
The most important talk we had during our week was about our schedules (and this is where the fight happened because change is hard, yo!). We can’t have a marriage based on no time together — ships passing in the night. And the morning. And the afternoon. Our conversations consisting of: I’ll take the kids here and you take them there and I got bedtime and you got bath time and I’ll write and you go to work. And when we were together, all four of us were there, which is like being a part if it’s our only together time.
We have never been a couple who needs time away from each other. We are naturally independent and will continue on our merry way doing a Scott or Alex thing for weeks while slowly forgetting why we like each other. I wasn’t a MARRIAGE IS EVERYTHING person. I was a Scott is why I wanted to get married person. I’m fine on my own. Scott married into three cats, and I still like how I put away dishes, manage the kids’ bedtime, and train the dog better than how Scott does it, and Scott feels the same way about me.
I can appreciate the quote: “Compromise is when no one is happy.” I don’t like choosing to be happy over winning an argument, and I certainly do not like admitting I am wrong. I’m not so foolish as to pretend I am not who I am and how easily a great relationship could slip through my fingers. I like being lazy, dirty and mean. Scott does as well (although he showers more often). That’s why we have marriage rules, but spend enough time away from being a couple and no one gives a crap about the rules of engagement.
But I love my marriage, and I adore Scott. My relationship with him is worth more to me than anything in this world except for my relationship with God so my tendency to put so much above it makes me wonder why my brain hates me. How can I think one more scroll through Facebook or one last text message or one more work email or, even with my better self, one more commitment to help someone or one more volunteer project or one more rally to save the world is more important than the man with whom I have spent the last ten years and plan to spent the rest of life?
Well, because those commitments are easier. I get pats on the back. Immediate gratification. A laugh. A cry. I save the world. I am noticed. Thanked. Impressive. Funny. Scott loves me, but love is at home and quiet and full of crumbs on the floor, dirty socks and farts. It is the best part of our lives, but it is the hardest to stay present for.
We trudge along anyway. We are hand-in-hand with a new schedule and a new plan to spend a little more time staring at each other and a little less time staring at the rest of the world. I don’t think the world will notice, but we already do.