Diary of a Marriage: Finding Time in My Schedule For … My Husband
A few weeks ago I found myself sitting across from J., trying to schedule a date night. He was frowning at the calendar on his phone and I was furiously rifling through my planner.
“How about the last weekend in April?” I said.
“I have a tennis tournament and then we have that party. What about the weekend of the fourth?” he said.
“Nope. We have dinner plans on Friday night. You have that match on Saturday and I’ve got that party, and then I’m in Connecticut for a baby shower on Sunday. What about the following weekend? I have an event Friday night, but I’m free Saturday.”
“Well, that’s Mother’s Day weekend, but maybe we can fit in both of our moms on Sunday and the two of us can go to dinner together on Saturday…”
Neither of us actually admitted it out loud, but we were both doing it: literally penciling each other in. Date night tonight? Check with mom re: Sunday brunch. NOTE: Shave legs; wear matching bra and underwear. We were one dangerous step away from scheduling sex.
I snapped my planner shut, but couldn’t believe that we were scheduling dates with one another the same way we schedule meetings with people who use words like ‘operationalize’ and ‘synergy.’ This seemed such a far cry from the beginning of our relationship, when we somehow managed to call each other every night at 9:00 p.m., and then hang on the phone detailing the minutiae of our days until we fell asleep. Are our lives that much busier than when we first met, or—and this is the scary part—are we just being lazy?
“What did we even talk about for two hours every night?” J. asked a few days ago. We were sitting next to each other on the couch, eating dinner and watching Dance Moms, as healthy couples do.
“No clue. We must’ve missed some nights, right? We couldn’t have talked on the phone for hours every single night. Jesus.”
We were baffled. How did we have so much time then? It was only seven years ago! Certainly not that much has changed since then.
Except it sort of has. J.’s job is more demanding, and the tennis team he coaches is pretty good, which means late matches and weekend tournaments. My job entails going to lots of events, shaking hands, making small talk and generally being on, like a light bulb. By the time I kick off my heels at home, I’ve turned off, and so has J. Our weekends have become cluttered with baby showers and birthday parties and housewarmings and double-dates with other couple friends, which leave us with exactly one free night to ourselves in the months of April and May. This night, of course, is what would immediately get scooped up if another invitation came.
Maybe this is where the problem is. When you’re married, date nights with your spouse seem to never be permanently booked—he’s always there, things can be rescheduled, we see each other every day, after all. But follow that logic and the most important thing you have ends up being the thing you spend the least amount of time working on.
J.’s tennis team made it to the district championship, which is a pretty big deal in the world of high school tennis. They play this week—Thursday—at noon in Springfield. It’s a big match, and I could tell J. wanted me there. I haven’t been to one match all year. Something—work, an event after work, a meeting—has always come up. And J.’s tennis matches are penciled in—the first to go if something more pressing comes up. There’s always another match, or tournament, or season.
“You don’t have to go, babes, seriously,” J. said on the phone last night. It was 8:30 p.m. and I was on the train home after an evening Bikram class, still an hour away. If it was seven years ago, I would have missed our nightly phone call, I realized. “I mean, I think the kids will be able to pull off the win, which would be huge for us, but I don’t want you to, you know, miss work …”
I hung up the phone, emailed work that I’d be taking a personal day, and pulled out my planner.
THURSDAY, May 9, 2013
12PM—J.’S BIG TENNIS MATCH. (NOTE: PICK UP AND CHILL CHAMPAGNE AT HOME, JUST IN CASE.)
I wrote it in pen.
How do you and your groom make sure you find time to spend together—really spend together—during your busy weeks? Do you have a standing date? Share your tips with the rest of us!
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