Went to see “Hope Springs” with the hubs this weekend. It wasn’t exactly what I had expected but it was close. I expected to laugh and to love seeing Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones on the screen together. Check. I expected to love Steve Carell because I love everything he does. Check. What I didn’t expect was to cry the entire way through the movie or to shift uncomfortably watching people my age try to “get their groove back”. Some things are better left to the imagination. Check, check and re-check.
What I also didn’t expect was for it to stir up all of these emotions and feelings that I have about aging and my relationship with my own spouse. When the hubs and I were young, we used to sit in restaurants and look at the couples sitting across from one another and not saying a damn thing. Hell, half the time they weren’t even looking at each other. They’d order, they’d sit, they’d eat, they’d leave. I made him promise that we would never get to be those people. That we would work really, really hard to keep our relationship about us and not devote every fiber of our being to raising our children. That way, when the kids left, we would still have each other.
For the most part, we’ve been very successful. But what I realized while watching that movie is that couples don’t sit across from each other not speaking because they’re angry or bored necessarily, they sit across from each other not speaking because they’ve said all there is to say! After you’ve been together 30 years you can almost read each other’s minds. You can finish each other’s sentences. You can infer meaning.
You know what that means?
It’s means we’ve become those people. Shit.
Okay, maybe not totally. We still touch and laugh and giggle together. We’re very affectionate. We embarrass our children on a regular basis. Once, my oldest at home came down the stairs and, seeing us kissing said, “Get a room.” I pulled away quickly, a little embarrassed and then said, “Wait…this IS my room!” and promptly locked lips with his father once again.
But I remember when a date meant a four hour dinner when we (okay…I) didn’t stop talking the entire time. We talked about everything and then we talked about it some more. But there was alcohol, and we were new to each other, and there was the drama my family always provided, or work related issues that needed sorting out. Hell, if all else failed I used to pick out a couple and we’d make up a scenario about them and use them as conversation.
Now if we get the chance or the money for a date night out it’s more like…well…crickets…
Okay, it’s probably not that bad but things have CHANGED. I’m sober, I’m through menopause and my libido has…um…well it ain’t what it used to be. I feel ugly because of the extra weight and just carrying around the extra pounds makes me tired a lot. Did I mention I’m sober? The hubs’ hearing ain’t what it used to be and he’s too vain to have it checked out so I speak louder than I should. His energy is better than mine (and he’s 13 years my senior) but he’s tired also by the end of a busy day, often falling asleep in front of the TV. Oh, did I mention I’m sober?
And to top it all off, the kids will be leaving soon. The last two are seniors this year and although they are all living at home while attending college, it won’t be long before they’re on their way to their own lives. And they are such good kids we don’t even have to talk about them much either.
Me: “The boys need shorts for school. I’m thinking American Eagle for a couple of pair and the rest from Old Navy.”
Him: “Yeah…sounds good.”
Him: “I need you to sign this authorization for our (insert account name, billing address, tax information here).”
Me: “Okay. Just put it on the counter and I’ll do it.”
I’m not saying any of this is bad necessarily. I’m just saying it’s different. I have a wonderful husband who, after all of the shit I’ve put him through, still loves me…a lot. I am on the other side of sober and I am still hopelessly in love with him (he can still look at me and make my knees turn to jelly) which I know doesn’t always happen. In fact, more often than not, it goes the other way.
It’s just…different…and a little scary. But not all bad. I’m also very content. I used to think that being content was a very, very bad thing. That it meant you were boring and had no fun in your life. That was the alcoholic thinking/talking/being. Always looking for the next thing on the outside to make me happy because what was going on inside wasn’t cutting it. I know now that being content just means that what’s happening on the outside really doesn’t matter. If I can find peace and serenity and contentment on the inside and with my spouse, then it’s all good.
And have you ever noticed how quiet peace and contentment is? Hmmm…I may be onto to something here.