My wife and I have been together for eight years this July, married for three of them as of this September. It’s not the point where I thought I’d be asking myself where the love went. I love my wife with every ounce of my being. She loves me. We get along great, most days. But I’ve noticed that we don’t do things together. Not a major emergency for most people. Sometimes life gets in the way. She works nights. Money is tight. I maybe go a little longer in between showers than I used to. We have a plethora of reasons why we don’t do things. But the problem is, we don’t do the things that defined our relationship in the early years. The little things.
Before I go any further, I will freely admit that I am the girl in our relationship. I’m the one who wants to cuddle at night. I’m the one who wants to sit and hold hands. I’m weird, I know. But these are the things that we don’t do anymore. It’s not her fault. It’s not my fault. To tell you the truth, I can’t remember when we stopped.
But I do know when I noticed. She bought a toothbrush. Just one. Here’s where the girl in me comes out. “Why didn’t you buy me a toothbrush, too?” I’m not really upset about it, but it does make me wonder. Why would she not? I mean, there are the two-pack toothbrushes hanging right there beside the single toothbrushes! A nice, new toothbrush would be a pleasant surprise, right?
This led me to reflect on some of the “together” things that we just don’t do anymore. We used to have to sit together. All the time. Now, not so much. I have gotten to where I rarely open the car door for her anymore. We used to text each other throughout the night while she was at work. Now, I often go to sleep without so much as the “good night” text. The worst part about that is that she doesn’t really complain about not getting them anymore. This has become our norm.
I remember a specific instance early in our relationship when a friend saw me open the door for my future wife. The friend exclaimed, “Awww, young love!” I remember thinking to myself, “No, this is how it’s going to be! I’m gonna be the kind of guy who does all the things we’re supposed to do.” Boy was I wrong! I can almost hear that Price Is Right loser horn playing in my head. FAIL.
These aren’t things that we stopped doing because we love each other less. I think we’ve just become complacent. Our schedules conflict. Like I said, she works third shift. I’m usually busy on the weekends DJing a wedding. When we are home together, there’s three little terrors that need constant attention. Date nights are virtually impossible, since finding someone willing to babysit is pretty much hopeless. Side note for future parents: All the people that see you pregnant and say, “Oh, anytime you want me to babysit, just let me know! I love babies!” They are lying.
Some people may be reading in horror: “You don’t open doors anymore?? You don’t skip and hold hands in the mall? You don’t argue over who is hanging up first anymore??!” No, we don’t. If you do, then that is wonderful! Great for you and keep up the love! But some people my be nodding as they read, thinking, “Us too!”
The good news is that we can change it instantly. And what better time, right? Valentine’s weekend? C’mon!
But the key is to keep it going past Valentine’s Day. It’s tough sometimes, but completely worth it. And all it takes is some thought. Minimal thought, at that. We know what our significant others like. Ladies, you’re not off the hook here. Regardless of what he says or how macho he may act, guys like to feel special too. So ask not what your spouse can do for you. Ask what you can do for your spouse. That answer will come to you easier than you may realize because it’s the stuff you used to do before the “new relationship smell” wore off. Holding hands from the car to the grocery store entrance, cooking a favorite meal without being asked, buying a flower or two on the way home.
For me, I know what works with my wife and I plan on doing those little things that have escaped us. Make her a special dinner to take to work. Maybe put a little note in that dinner. Or, perhaps a little text here or there with those three magic words: “I bought wine.”