Ever notice that as the minutiae of everyday married life pile up, the romance dies? In my first marriage, the family business and our children’s needs swallowed up alone time with my spouse. One reason that marriage ended was that we lost touch with each other in the stress of everyday survival. We didn’t fall out of love, but rather, we fell out of like!
Learning from experience, I decided to tackle the problem head-on when I remarried at 65. My husband, Alan, goes on the road for business on Tuesdays, and I usually go with him. We enjoy having a “standing date” and unless something vital cannot be postponed, Tuesday is our day. After making an itinerary to visit business owners who do not respond to email, snail mail or phone calls, Alan gathers his files from the office and swings by our condo. I hop in the car with snacks, my knitting and a book. We plug the first address into the GPS and go. While he is knocking on the door of one business, I am programming the GPS for the next stop. Not romantic, but practical in order to make all the stops on the list.
A Different Kind of Date
Remember the excitement before a movie date with your boyfriend? Remember how he opened the car door and paid attention to your words? Well, I get all that on Tuesdays, only we don’t go to the movies. Instead, we go to a rundown business where Alan takes photos of the store and attempts to collect the debt. (We joke and tell people he breaks knees for a living.)
Okay, okay, so this is not a real date — no calling to ask me out, no taking me to dinner and a movie and then kissing me good night at the door. But as many married couples learn after saying, “I do,” dating time seems to dissolve. Work, kids and other obligations push to take priority.
Time for Lunch and Conversation
While Alan drives, I knit. We chat or sing along with Sirius radio and catch up on the news or topics we haven’t had time to explore. About noon, we search for an Asian restaurant, since that fits my meatless diet and Alan’s carnivorous cravings. We often find a tiny place tucked away in the corner of a shopping strip and relax over miso soup, a vegetarian sushi for me and a stir-fry with meat for my husband. It’s a real lunch date! Afterwards, Alan finishes his last few stops and I often take the wheel to drive home, since we can cover more than 200 stop-and-go miles in one day.
Did you go on “study dates?” Well, times change and so do we. I never thought I would cherish these Tuesdays alone with my spouse, something like an updated study date.
I could do Pilates in my building or gentle yoga down the street. I could go to a movie matinee with my cousin. Instead, I look forward to this time alone with Alan, when only occasionally his office calls to give him an update.
The Value of Reconnecting
The song, “Love’s More Comfortable the Second Time Around,” is apt in our daily life. We are both affectionate people and enjoy each other’s company. I am never bored with Alan. He has a wry sense of humor and is very calming. I wanted a husband with a good sense of humor; it was high on my list of what I wanted in a spouse and I got it!
While this sounds mundane, the mundane is exactly what we both need to offset the hectic pace of daily life, despite our labor-saving devices. We get back in touch with each other, and while we may be tired after a 200-mile trip, it is a good tired. This single day alone together is my ticket to reconnecting with Alan. It’s a fine romance for us because it mirrors the basic premise that brought us together in the first place: being together.
And time is precious, especially as we grow older. Even if it is only riding to a tiny town in the pouring rain, for me, these weekly road trips are “priceless.”
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