by Melodie Davis
for release May 26, 2000
Getting to Know Your Spouse Again
Hubby and I took a trip for his birthday. It was just the two of us, and we only went overnight to a city two hours away. It had been too long since we had managed a getaway by ourselves.
Not only did we have a wonderful time, after some 24 years together, I found out things I had never known, or (more likely) had just plain forgotten in 24 years. I had forgotten that he used to have a job washing pots and pans in the kitchen of the local college (no wonder he thinks he washed enough pans for a lifetime). I had forgotten that he actually got along without a car (something kids seem to think is impossible these days) his first year out of high school, riding a bike to work until he earned enough money to pay cash for a car. His father also sometimes took him to work. I had forgotten that his father had worked at the same place for awhile.
Little things, but they were reminders of how our conversation these days more often revolves around cars, colleges and jobs for the kids, rather than about our own experiences, thoughts and dreams.
It is not that either of us are opposed to these little getaways. And although even a night away gets expensive, the biggest bugaboo is TIME. Between demands on time from job, church, and the kids' schools, there are relatives and friends we want to keep up with. Who has time for marriage? I tend to regard my husband as just part of the furniture: a heater on cold nights.
At least, that is my confession. No wonder so many kids these days see no future in getting married. Even in a marriage where there really aren't any knock down drag out arguments or hostilities, maybe those of us who have been married awhile have allowed our relationships to get lost in the seven to three routine of punching the clock, shuttling the kids, going to parent's weekend at college.
Time to revive a couples' weekend, once or twice a year-a time you block out on the calendar six months ahead of time and say, we are going to get away, no matter what job, church or child conflicts come up. Maybe fewer of us would want to get away from marriage if we carved out time to get away from "life."
One woman told me that she thought it was very important for children to see their parents having fun, lest they think, "What a drag it is to grow up and be married."
Yet sometimes when we do go out, we sit there staring at each other or the table or the walls, not having a thing on earth to talk about. Corey Donaldson wrote a book called Don't You Dare Get Married Until You Read This! (Sentinel Publishing). He compiled 400 questions to help couples better understand the potential minefields in a relationship, but I think they also might be fun conversation starters for those of us who need help from time to time. His questions are directed to couples deciding whether to get married, so I have adapted them for my purposes here:
1. What do you like most about our marriage?
2. Did you ever share a bed with a sibling and on which side of the bed did you sleep?
3. Do I talk about myself too much?
4. What is your favorite memory from childhood?
5. Do you ever feel you're doing me a favor? When?
6. What is your favorite part of your body? What is my favorite part of your body?
7. What has been your greatest disappointment in life?
8. What age do you wish you were?
While some of these questions might bring up potential conflicts, if you are in a good mood and you have good communication patterns, they can help you learn more about each other, and lead to more understanding and love. You don't want to ask these if either of you are feeling down, argumentative, or negative.
And remember, you don't have to wait for a chance to go out to eat to take time to get reacquainted. If these seem corny or like you would be opening a can of surefire marriage disaster, come up with your own questions/conversation ideas.
For a free booklet, "Creating a More Loving Marriage," write to: Melodie Davis, Another Way c/o Name\Address of YOUR newspaper; or e-mail: Melodie@mennomedia.org.
You can also visit Another Way on the Web at www.thirdway.com.
Melodie Davis is the author of seven books and has written her column since 1987. She taught feature writing and has won awards from a number of organizations including the National Federation of Press Women, Virginia Press Women and the American Advertising Association. She and her husband have three growing daughters.
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