I was reading a blog of another chef's wife recently, and she said something about her husband that I thought was funny and true: "I love him. Where is he?"
This rang especially true for me last week, when in the course of five days, I had four hours of face time with Chef Matt. We crossed paths briefly in the morning before I left for work, and for a few hours on the weekend as we dodged work meetings and kids' gymnastics. This sort of "ships passing in the night" is nothing new, but for some reason last week was particularly crunched for husband-wife time. And suddenly my mother's pre-marital advice glowed before me like a neon sign: Do not forget to go on dates with your husband.
At the time, before we got married, that advice seemed unbelievable. Why in the world would I need to schedule dates with someone I live with? But I think any married person would tell you that work and kids and life grow into thorny brambles, leaving you on one side and your spouse on the other. I first knew that my mother was right in the year after our daughter was born and we had gone on a total of two dates the entire year, and one of those was someone else's wedding.
We vowed to try harder. We called upon grandmas and snuck out to dinner every couple of months, and on one very memorable occasion, actually went to a movie together. Even when we just cannot find the time to leave home, we try to watch movies together on the couch or I kick his butt in Scrabble.
Something that is much more difficult to do, but is equally important, is to get away together. This weekend, we spent the night downtown Minneapolis, and it was just what the marriage-doctor ordered. We watched businessmen try to pick up businesswomen in a steakhouse bar, had another drink down the street at an Irish pub (our version of "bar-hopping"), slept in (which means 8:30), and breakfasted on eggs and a caramel roll at a funky live-music restaurant.
Our not-quite-24-hours away will hold us for a while. In a perfect world, I would "date" my husband every week, but something Kitchen Widowhood has taught me is how to be grateful for every minute I have with him. If our "time together" consists of brushing our teeth at the same sink in the morning, I will take it and look forward to the next outing where I get to wear something other than pajama pants.