On keep­ing the mar­riage alive

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Life - - NEWS - So­phie White

One of the Bitch Herd re­ally likes her fella, and this is quite per­plex­ing to me. This isn’t some ‘first flush of at­trac­tion’ thing, ei­ther; they’ve been go­ing out for years. Some­times, when she’s cry­ing off a pro­posed night out, the rea­son given is her de­sire to spend time with her other half.

Now, I’m not one to be­grudge some­one time with their fi­ance; for me, the sig­nif­i­cance of this comes more from the fact that I feel no such urges to spend time with my other half. Am I the weird one? I de­cided to run it past Him­self to get another per­spec­tive on the sit­u­a­tion.

“Spend time to­gether? But they live to­gether.” was Him­self ’s baf­fled re­sponse. “I know,” I af­firmed en­er­get­i­cally. We then re­tired to sep­a­rate parts of the house for sev­eral hours, re­unit­ing only at bed­time, in the loo. “Hey,” I mut­tered, ex­fo­li­at­ing. “Hey,” he replied, show­er­ing me with tooth­paste.

Is there some­thing wrong with this pic­ture? It’s not the only time I’ve con­sid­ered the pos­si­bil­ity that we’ve hit peak mar­ried. Around Christ­mas, be­tween jug­gling fam­ily obli­ga­tions, an in­creas­ingly de­mand­ing tod­dler and sea­sonal mer­ri­ment, one night the idea of hav­ing sex at the same time as watch­ing Mak­ing a Mur­derer was ac­tu­ally mooted as a time-sav­ing mea­sure. That, my friends, is peak mar­ried. In­ci­den­tally, we did not go through with the plan, as we de­cided the con­tent of Mak­ing a Mur­derer would be off-putting. I sup­pose I hardly need to add that we opted for Mak­ing a Mur­derer and not the sex.

So there’s Him­self and my­self, like ships pass­ing in the fam­ily bath­room, while my friend not only lives with her boyfriend, but al­lo­cates spe­cial time to see him as well. I look upon nights when Him­self is out as lit­tle mini hol­i­days. I treat my­self by go­ing to bed when the child goes, crack­ing open a nice bot­tle of Fleurie and go­ing on a cheese ben­der. Heaven.

The other great up­side to Him­self ’s nights out is banked par­ent­ing points. I’ ll get a brunch or a night out with the Bitch Herd in re­turn for hav­ing, as I see it, a pleas­ant, Him­self-free evening. I try to an­a­lyse if this is what par­ent­hood has done to us, or mar­riage in gen­eral.

Of course, I used to an­tic­i­pate time with Him­self with the same giddy thrill that I now equate with a se­cret cheese ben­der, but, at some point, this changed. We still get on great and all that, but he’s be­come more like a re­li­able old hand-medown foot­stool rather than a sexy new Ikea pur­chase.

Reading my friend’s text ex­plain­ing that she can’t meet be­cause they’re go­ing for dinner and a walk around town to­gether makes me think that I should, per­haps, make more of an ef­fort with Him­self. “Let’s have dinner at the table tonight,” I an­nounce, in­ter­rupt­ing him as he is bring­ing the plates to­wards the couch. “Oooooh, fancy,” he says. And so we sit up on real chairs with nap­kins and every­thing, and tuck into this hearty chicken dish.

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