Friday, July 31, 2009
True Love is... Freezing Your Butt Off
New cute shirt. Check
More than five minutes spent on hair. Check.
Make-up actually applied. Check.
Kids dropped off for the night. Check.
Hotel reservation. Check.
Outrageous expectations. Checked at the door.
This time of year, time alone with my husband outside of our condo is rare and precious, so an arranged date night is exciting. I get pumped up about the night out, but I am not fanatical about it anymore. I used to build up these rare dates to such a level that I was often disappointed and then frustrated about things that were out of my control. Last night’s date could have been a night out with friends for drinks ending in hot romance at our hotel. (fill in your own fantasy here) Instead, we spent our night out with friends for dinner and then we were pulled away by a work emergency for my husband. We spent the rest of the night rambling around in a run-down ’82 pick-up truck, tossing full boxes of food in and out as we transported food from one broken freezer to a sub-zero warehouse.
Granted, we live in Minnesota in the winters, so it is somewhat expected that some of our dedication to one another would include exposing ourselves to freezing temps. When the driveway is covered in snow or the windshield caked in ice, it is loving and kind to be the warm-hearted soul who chips away at the ice or shovels the snow for the spouse who stands huddled in the doorway. It happens in our house, and more now than a few years ago. I must note that the spouse who is huddled inside is not always me.
For a while, at the beginning of our marriage, I had this inaccurate impression that it was the husband’s job to take care of the wife. Every girl wants to be taken care of and to feel loved by a doting husband, but what I have found, is that every guy, and most definitely my guy, feels that way too. Most men, in fact, need women to dote and care for them much more than we women need them. Men suffer most when they are not in a marital relationship and women suffer most when they are in an unhappy relationship. Studies have concluded that men have a longer and healthier lifespan when married, and I am starting to understand what that means for me as a wife to that needy man. Don’t get me wrong, my husband is an incredibly efficient man who can do practically anything, but I have spent some time the last few years accepting my role as a helper, and our overall relationship has improved. Luckily, with the sacrifices I started to make, my husband began to sacrifice willingly too.
This week it was me throwing boxes onto palates and helping to get things stacked inside the walk-in freezer, but he too has frozen. Last year when I was coaching a soccer game in pouring rain, he suffered through the game, huddling the kids under a large trash bag and all out of support for me.
I was, and still am, a little disappointed that our date was changed, but I’m glad that I have gotten better about accepting each shift in expectation as a new experience, and that those shifts are not necessarily bad. We had fun laughing about the twist our “date night” had taken. We acknowledged how great it was to be out and about late at night without the kids, and we both chose to simply make the most of it.
I am finding happiness in the little things, letting go of unrealistic and fanatical expectations. Each moment is a gift, each conversation worth relishing and... freezing can be good for a marriage too.
If you want to be happy…
For an hour, take a nap
For a day, go fishing
For a month, get married
For a year, get an inheritance
For a lifetime, help someone.