Still Balls Deep In Love
The gift that reminded me how strong our relationship still is.
Sometimes I worry that over the last 12 years, mine and my husband’s relationship has shifted in some detrimental way. Ten years ago, when we were twenty-somethings, with two young babes, we had so much hope pushing us forward.
We still have hope, don’t get me wrong, but nowadays, after everything that’s happened, the hope feels jaded at times.
After losing our small business in 2019, that’s when the real-life changes began happening to our little family. My husband took a job at the railroad. I decided it was finally time to pursue my writing career.
Staying home while figuring out how to set my own office hours along with raising kids through a global pandemic was not in my wheelhouse, to say the least. I was used to working a full-time job (as is the territory when owning and operating a small business).
As a train conductor, Jamie’s new career had its own worries and concerns to deal with. One being, will he make it home in one piece from his shift today? Railroading isn’t the safest job on the planet—especially compared to the relative safety of cooking on a line.
So much has changed since the days of us working and running a business together. We've become different people in these past few years, and sometimes it isn't easy to find that common ground in which we used to live comfortably with one another.
It’s not that we don’t talk. It’s that the conversations we’ve been having as of late feel void of the passionate emotion we once shared. We bring up politics only to half-heartedly agree with one another because we don't want to get into another pointless fight.
He is exhausted after working on rail lines in minus 30-degree weather, and I am always glued to my computer screen, working out the next story to tell.
I have to say, all of those people who scream from the rooftops, “Make time for your relationship!” are coming from a bit of a privileged place. After two layoffs this past year and a mounting pile of debt, focusing on anything but work and our children is frankly a challenging and exhausting endeavour.
So yes, I worry about our marriage. No longer do I find happy love notes taped to the refrigerator saying, “I love you beautiful, hope you have a great morning!”
Once upon a time, we were so spontaneous in our marriage that we decided to get frisky on the ballpark bleachers under a midnight sky while strolling back from the bar one date night. The thought of doing the dirty with my husband anywhere other than our bedroom nowadays sends anxiety racing through me.
Where did the humour go? Where has the impulse and adventure run off to in our marriage? I wonder these things while I lay in bed staring at the ceiling, listening to my husband snore softly beside me.
Is this what happens when a marriage grows old and comfortable? We stop trying and simply hold those beautiful memories in our minds as fodder from better days?
But then, the other day, something incredible happened. Something that rekindled my faith in the union I signed up for all those years ago.
As I mentioned, sitting behind my computer screen is my second home these days. I’m doing my damndest to build a brand for myself, but as we know, that isn’t always the easiest task. On any given day, I can be found sobbing into my keyboard from another rejection letter or jumping for joy because a humour piece I recently published is starting to go viral. This writing, it’s a fickle biz, to be sure.
On the days when my office door is shut, my family knows to fend for themselves (if it’s not an emergency like the popcorn popper is on fire or something). They know not to bug me because I’m working up against a deadline.
So on one of these do-not-disturb days, I heard the distinct sound of something sliding under the crack of my office door.
On the floor was this (not quite) love note, but never the less it filled my heart with more joy than I could possibly explain.
Maybe relationships do shift and evolve over time. Perhaps we can’t all remain those beautiful twenty-year-olds having quick and dirty romps on ballpark bleachers. But what we can do is make sure that our partners know that we support them in their endeavours, and in turn, we can show our support to them.
Whether it’s a whispered love proclamation at bedtime or an artfully drawn cartoon penis with a positive go-getter message: make sure to continue to show your spouse how proud of them you are because your efforts won’t go unnoticed.