T and I actively participate in a marriage ministry through our church, which offers retreats and fun events without the kids. On Saturday we went to one such event, and part of it involved a version of the Marriage Game from the 1970s. There were three rounds of couples, four per round, and T and I won our first round and then, wouldn't you know it, we won first place overall, the prize being a bottle of wine and $50 for Olive Garden. Apparently we know each other pretty well. So looks like we'll have another date night coming up pretty soon!
Anyway, the couple who set the whole event up gave a little talk before the game about their marriage journey and part of it was that once they were married and life happened they stopped having fun in their relationship. Things got routine and they were tied to schedules, work, and keeping up with the children. Eventually they came around to realizing that they needed to date each other again and bring fun back into their relationship. And it was like a light bulb went off in both of our heads.
It is so true. Over the course of three years so much has happened - marriage, built and moved into our home, had a baby, number of health scares, job problems, etc. We barely have time to come up for air. That is a ton if you really think about it. This year has particularly been trying in that respect. First it was T's job, now my own. Not to mention the whole Mary Kay debt thing, me getting back into writing and well...we have a 20 month old that commands all of our attention while she is awake. Sometimes we don't even refer to each other by our real names. It's always "Mommy" or "Daddy" when we are around Aubrey, and it's sometimes embarrassing when we find ourselves calling each other that when she's not around. Life has gotten the better of us.
We are not always able to go out on date nights like this, considering paying a sitter and what not, but we have to take more time for each other. We've forgotten how to have fun. It's sad really, as we sat down Saturday night to make a list of fun things to do with each other (things that don't cost too much, of course). It was truly sad. What has happened to us?
We both admitted that this in and of itself is probably the root of any problems we have and why we argue. Everything is so serious, always business. We are focused on daily life, finances, work that we forget that life is too short to be so serious all the time.
We recognize the issues so I suppose that is the first step. Getting off of our computers, turning off the TV and tuning into each other is something we need to do more of. That and stop taking everything so seriously. Laugh every once in awhile. And don't take each other for granted. I've seen so many couples go down this route only to lead to heartbreak. And I don't want us to be one of those statistics.
I realize the way we may "date" now will be far from what dating was when we were first together, but I look forward to getting back to that. Because life is just to short.