When we were in high school, Chris and I were the King and Queen of breakups. We broke up several times. And it was never just a little “I need my space” thing. It was colossal fits of jealous rage that may or may not have involved theatrical lighting at certain points.
Wanna know a secret?
I sort of miss the break ups.
Last week on April 29 Chris and I celebrated our eleventh year of being together. We’re not quite sure where that date came from, but it is engraved on the promise rings we wore from April 29, 1999 until the day we got married when we switched those silver bands out for platinum wedding bands.
Eleven years together is a long time. And when you factor in that three of those years were in high school and everybody knows that high school years are like dog years, it is really more like 29 years together.
And while I think we’ve done a pretty good job of keeping things interesting, occasionally, I miss the drama of a good, dramatic break up. Not so much the pain and heartbreak that my little high school heart could barely take, but the part that comes right as you are breaking up with someone and then the three or four days afterwards.
When Chris and I would break up, it usually went like this:
1. Huge, raging fight about something stupid.
2. After a day of cooling off, the breaker upper would come back to the breaker uppie and explain calmly and rationally why they wanted to break up. And then there would be sweet tears of goodbye, long professions of our unconditional love, and the promise of bigger love ahead for both of us. (We were in high school, remember?)
3. That’s when the contemplation would begin. The breaker upper would then sit alone for three or four days, reminiscing about the breaker uppie, remembering happy times and the reasons that we were together in the first place. While this is happening in one house, the breaker uppie sat at their house – crying – and playing love songs and kissing photographs of the breaker upper. (Remember. High school.)
4. After 4 or 5 days, the breaker upper would stop by the house of the breaker uppie and profess his or her undying love and apologize for the huge mistake they made. At this point, the breaker uppie would pretend for five minutes that they had to think over whether or not to get back together.
5. We’d get back together.
That break up pattern had everything a teenager needed in life: drama, emotion, and an irrational, unexplainable connection with someone else. And, to be honest with you, sometimes I need those same things in my marriage.
The other night we were watching some show on TV that I can’t even remember now, but there was a woman who was dating this guy and some other guy kept trying to jump in and steal her and finally after a little while the boyfriend made this gallant gesture in an attempt to keep his girlfriend.
I turned to Chris and we had the following conversation:
Me: If someone tried to steal me from you, would you try and get me back?
Chris: Steal you?
Me: Yeah, you know. Like, take me from you.
Chris: Like a kidnapping?
Me: Noooo. Like, you know, they tried to get me to leave you. Would you try and get me back?
Chris (after thinking for a minute): Well, did you want to leave or were they making you? Cause if they were making you, then it’d be kidnapping and I’d call the police.
The conversation went on for 15 minutes and it ended with me storming off. And Chris calling after me, “What’d I do?!?!”
See, after a good break up, you spend days professing your love. Sometimes you get flowers. There’s lots of good kissin’. For those few days, you see your relationship with fresh, clear, wide eyes. And who doesn’t love feeling loved like that?
Don’t get me wrong. I totally wouldn’t go back to high school and I love where my relationship with Chris is today. But there are times when I wish we could just break up for a day or two so that we could get back together again.
I guess the trick to keeping that fresh, I-can’t-live-without-you feeling in my marriage is to redefine what a break up is. In high school it was a statement that said “I don’t want to be with you anymore.” Now, I think a break up should say more of “I love you so much that I sometimes I forget what it feels like to love you because I’ve gotten so used to loving you.”
Yeah. Sometimes I need one of those break ups in my marriage.