My husband and I have been married for 29 years. Our last two years have been spent in a non-traditional living arrangement, with him commuting from a work place to our home for long weekends. Currently we’re in the process of making changes. We’ve determined that we don’t like living like this, but are unsure of exactly what the future holds.
Over the past two years, I have had a lot of evenings to myself, and I have had occasion, for the first time since I was 21, to speak more of “I” and “me” than “we” and “us.” I choose what I want for dinner, I choose what I want to do with my evenings. Not that I never had this opportunity, and as the chief cook in our relationship, many times, dinner has been about what I felt in the mood to cook or eat rather than a collaborative choice.
But after so many years of taking togetherness for granted, I am again aware of the deliciousness of being “us.” I love to grocery shop with my husband and to plan our weekend dinners. I watch tv shows with him that I never see when I’m alone. We walk around the lake path together; we watch the sunset together; we have our morning coffee together. These are all simple pleasures, but they all hinge on being “us.” It is difficult to generate a sense of companionship when you’re drinking coffee alone.
With any lengthy relationship, there is a certain point when you will take it for granted. When does that happen? What causes a wake up? We entered the empty nest phase four years ago, and it took awhile to feel that the two of us were the right number in the house. At first, it seemed like it was all wrong to be two instead of four. But with time and recognition of the pleasures of being a couple again, the joy of being “us” has returned. I feel a bit selfish now with our time, and have a need to protect “us” from the intrusion of the outside world. It is good to be friends, lovers, companions, after 29 years, and to once again celebrate “us.”