Last Wednesday, Joe posted a top ten list on being a bachelor and today I am following it up with a list about being married. My list is more about observations than about likes and dislikes. In no particular order, here is my list.
#10. Sharing responsibilities. My husband and I split up some chores and alternate doing others. Darren takes care of anything to do with the car, which he drives more than I do, so I don’t even think about checking the fluids or the tire pressure. I take care of getting cards and/or gifts for holidays and birthdays and he just has to sign them. Other chores, like taking out the garbage and recycling, we either do together or alternate; Darren did the vacuuming the other day when I was at work. Sometimes neither of us will be in the mood to do the dishes, so they will pile up until one of us looks at the sink and thinks, holy cow that can’t wait another minute, and then does them.
#9. Companionship. We both have someone to talk to when we get home. Darren and I share how our days went, and we have someone who cares to listen when things go wrong. There is someone to celebrate good news with.
#8. Sometimes I don’t have enough time alone in the apartment. When no one else is there, I can control everything in the environment, including the television channel, light level, if a fan is on or off, and I can follow a thought all the way to the end without being interrupted. It is nice. I do get a few hours of time alone in the living room at night since Darren goes to bed before I do and that helps a lot.
#7. Expanding horizons. I have experienced television shows, films, and books that Darren introduced me to that I would never have chosen on my own. Some are too violent for my taste and I am getting really tired of shows with dark lighting, government conspiracies, and/or dystopian world views. Some I do enjoy, like The Walking Dead and Constantine. Darren also introduced me to role-playing games, like Dungeons and Dragons, that I love playing. My life is richer because I am sharing it with someone with different tastes.
#6. Tendency to cocoon. It happens that both of us like to be home and settled in for the day by 6:00 in the evening and we are rarely out past then. This means that we don’t see a lot of other people or events that might broaden our life activities. I see almost every member of my immediate family on Sundays, and I love having that time with them, as I also enjoy my time with my mother-in-law every Tuesday. But I don’t seem to have much time to give my family outside of those days, partially because I am so content to be home half-way through my waking hours.
#5. Sharing the bed. My husband and I are pretty smug about something we started doing soon after we started living together. We each have our own blankets, so if I am cooler and want a second blanket while he is warmer and need to just have on a sheet, then we don’t have to bother the other one with our choice. I get another blanket and he takes one off. So that is good. We highly recommend it to anyone. We do have to stick to our side of the bed and that is where it gets tricky sometimes. I come to bed later than Darren and he gets up earlier than I do, and sometimes he is a little bit on my side of the bed when I come in. I just scootch in and he wakes up enough to shift over. In the mornings, I will wake up just enough to see if he is still in the bed, and then stretch out if he is out. The other morning, I rolled over half asleep thinking he was out of bed and bonked his hip with my knee. Oops. He didn’t wake up right away, but he got up shortly after that – and then I fell asleep again because that is how much I care when I am still sleepy.
#4. Keeping on schedule. Joe said today that living with someone (married) would help him stay on a schedule. I don’t usually think about that aspect, but he is right. Darren and I have our routines when we first get up, when we are ready to leave to go somewhere, when we eat, and when we go to bed; I just realized that over the years we have arranged things so that we match schedules to accommodate each other.
#3. Having a sounding board. This ties in a little with companionship. Being married means having someone listen when we are upset, ranting, or telling a story. Sometimes this means listening to the same rant about the same issue more than once over the years, and still encouraging the spouse to get it off his/her chest. There is a cartoon that one of us saw one time – I don’t know the artist or the source and I will have to paraphrase the captions- where an old couple is talking and the captions are, “We’ve had this conversation before.” “We have been married for 50 years, we’ve had every conversation before.” Darren and I quote this all the time, because even after just 10 years of marriage it is already so true.
#2. Grocery shopping together. It has worked out for the last few years that we can go to the grocery store together once a week and that is good. We usually get the same stuff week to week, but a few items are different. Darren writes up the list for us. We don’t eat every meal together and most of the time we don’t cook for each other. Darren does cook one meal a week for both of us, and every once in a while I try my hand at something. By the end of the grocery shopping, we know what the main meals are going to be for the next week.
#1. Physical closeness. This includes sex, but also casual touching outside the bedroom. When we are sitting next to each other, like when we are watching television, it won’t be long before our arms touch, or one of us puts a hand on a knee. Often when I am standing next to him, even in public, I will kiss his shoulder or we will hold hands. It is so natural for us. Contact in the bedroom is important too. Our spouse is the only one we can do sexual things with, and by now we know each other very well. We are struggling with how to keep it fresh and exciting, but it is nice to know that we are with someone we know and trust so well.
I feel very lucky to have found my partner for life. We are well matched, and that is the key to everything.