The Dating my Husband Experiment
As I was looking through old photos in preparation for My Man’s most recent milestone birthday, I stumbled upon a stack of pics from our dating days. We looked so young and so smitten. Man it took me back…
We started off dating long distance, swapping weekends between Atlanta and DC. I recall many tearful Monday mornings after parting ways at the airport, tears running down my cheeks that were sore from smiling so much. Our weekends together were a blast. We played tennis, took long walks, went to concerts, and danced at weddings. We talked for hours over dinner, drank wine on back porches, took road trips, and got to know each other’s friends and families. He taught me how to play guitar and talk intelligently about Braves baseball, and I taught him how to lose graciously at Gin Rummy and appreciate The Bachelor (Brad Womack round two). We publically displayed boatloads of affection, wrote love letters and mailed each other mix CDs.
Dating the person you are going to marry is the very very best.
Then we got married. And that sentence should definitely end with an exclamation point because our marriage has been pretty dreamy. I have to say that I absolutely picked the right one. We just fit. Of course we are two imperfect humans, sharing a life with bills and babies and a mortgage and car maintenance–and one of us can never find her credit cards and the other of us gets irrationally aggravated with a losing baseball team and being on hold with the cable provider—so naturally we have occasional squabbles and attitudes, but things on the marriage front are good. Like really really good. Lo these many years later, I still have a huge crush on him. Our marriage is not full of tension or endless compromises and negotiations. We are great friends who love spending time together, more alike than different, and so secure in each other’s love.
But because things in our marriage are “easy,” it makes it easy to get a little lazy. Many days I go straight from workout clothes to frumpy PJs with white dabs of zit cream dotted on my face. I confess that I sometimes save my most charming and engaging side for other people, my most serving and selfless side for my children, and he ends up getting whatever is left.
When I reflect back on our dating life, which seems like ages ago, I think what I miss most is the dating version of me. It was me who was different—well not different, but definitely letting my sparkliest sides shine. And falling in love brings those sparkles out, doesn’t it? I recall one specific instance that pretty much encapsulates the whole thing. It was the time I woke up at 5am on Thanksgiving morning to join him for the last few miles of a half marathon he was running. Together we ran 5 miles uphill in the dark cold pouring rain. Everything in that last sentence is just plain wrong. But this was love and we were dating and that is the kind of thing you do without even a complaint or second thought when you are dating. It wasn’t that I was selling him a bill of goods or baiting the hook—I was just all in. I had that insatiable desire to be with him and make him happy and if that meant being cold and physically exerting myself before sunrise on a holiday intended for sloth and gluttony, then damnit, let’s do it.
So today, on the eight-year anniversary of when we got engaged, I want to commit to dating my husband. Not necessarily planning romantic rendezvous and epic dates per se, though that would be nice too, but more so being the version of myself that I was when we were dating.
Sure, I got this thing on lock, but I want to try harder…
I want to put a little more effort into my after-hours appearance. I want to try to sparkle a little more. More talking, more togetherness, a touch of flirting, occasional eyeliner. I want to continue to get to know him—to ask him questions and to understand him and care more about the things he cares about. I want to compliment him and cuddle with him and go out of my way to do kind things for him. I want to (metaphorically) say yes to running together, uphill in the rain.
Let’s see if he notices.
Off to make My Man a mix CD.