The past few weeks at our house have been a little crazy. We haven’t been on a schedule or in any kind of routine with the kids. I’m trying to get ready to go back to teaching soon and planning for our move. The kids and I just finished a full week of Vacation Bible School. Chris’s job is at it’s busiest point of the year. We’ve had various visitors and company stopping by for a night or two at a time. It’s been a lot of fun, but it’s been exhausting.
Times like these past few weeks weigh on my marriage, too. My marriage feels tired. Do you ever feel like that, or is it just me? It’s different than being in a rut. In a rut, we’re almost bored with the blase routine. But when we’re going in a thousand different directions during the day, my relationship with Chris becomes just plain tired. At the end of the day when the babies are sleeping and the house is finally quiet, neither of us feels like connecting…on any level (wink, wink). We barely feel like having a conversation. The other night, I think the most we said after putting the kids to bed was, “Did you set the alarm for in the morning?”
If you’re anything like me, after a while, you start to take this kind of interaction (or lack of interaction) very personally. If we’re not talking, then I must have done something wrong. So, I quickly go through my head all of our interactions (or lack of interactions) that day and realize that I haven’t done anything wrong after all. Unless…maybe he’s mad that I ate the last taco at dinner. That’s just ridiculous! Who gets mad over tacos?!?! And since when is he monitoring what I eat? DOES HE THINK I’M FAT???? Is he trying to tell me to watch what I eat so I don’t become a whale?!?! I CANNOT believe what a shallow jerk I married!
(I get all of this from Chris sitting on the couch next to me, quietly watching Deadliest Catch.)
So, then I start to get pissy back at him. If he’s mad about something so stupid, then I’ll just be mad, too. And for the rest of the night, I have this whole, silent, made up fight in my head between me and Chris. All because we were too tired to talk to each other at the end of the day.
Please tell me I am not the only one who does this.
I guess the reality is that I want Chris and I to talk, even when we’re too tired to think of anything to say. I feel like the talking is connecting. Like, if we don’t talk, we’re going to end up like one of those old couples in restaurants who go through entire meals without speaking. I used to see those couples and wonder how they ever got to that sorry state. But the longer I’m married and the older I get, the more I realize that those couples aren’t ignoring each other. They’ve probably just bought a home, volunteered at their church for a straight week, managed a very busy work schedule, and fed, bathed, and put two kids to bed. They aren’t sitting there avoiding or plotting against each other. They’re probably thankful that they are married to someone who just lets them be for a while.
And maybe there’s a lesson in that for me. Maybe after a long day or week, it really is a blessing to be sitting next to someone on the couch who still holds my hand after twelve years. Maybe it’s a blessing to pass the remote and know that he’s either going to turn it to the Discovery Channel or the History Channel or any channel with a re-run of Everybody Loves Raymond. Maybe it’s a blessing to know that he’ll stretch and sigh about 5 minutes before he’s ready to head to bed and that he’ll bring a glass of water with no ice when he goes.
Maybe we’re so well connected already that it’s okay to take a few nights off and just be still.
In the early years of my marriage, I might have thought something was seriously wrong since we weren’t communicating. But with a few years of marriage under my belt, I’ve learned that communication is more than just words. Sometimes, in fact, it’s the lack of words that have the most meaning.