Twelve years ago, I was dating this guy Phil. Man, he was hot!! He was short and stocky. Thick, thick thighs and big, beefy arms. The kind of arms you just wanted to be wrapped up in. That kind of thick, muscular chest that you knew would always make you feel safe. Phil and I were as thick as thieves. We did everything together. We rode bikes, went out to eat, went shopping, went to the movies, went dancing, visited each other at school or at work – just everything. And talk. We could talk about anything and we did. We talked about religion, money, kids, our parents, our family, and how we were raised. We would talk about potholes if it came up. We did not always agree but we enjoyed talking to each other nonetheless.
Then, we got married. And no, the story doesn’t change here. No dramatic Dun- Dun Duuuuun music here. We still did mostly all of the same things together that we did when we dated. We would even sit on the same side of a restaurant booth so that we could – guess what? Hold hands!! Yes, I know. We were in love. So in love. I could not wait to hear his car pull in the driveway, as he would return from work. We purchased a chair and a half (that’s fancy for a big chair – room for 2) so that we could sit with each other in the living room while we watched TV. I hated to be away from Phil. My heart was just so connected to that man. He was charming, tenderhearted, compassionate and so funny! Man, we really made each other laugh all the time.
Fast forward twelve years. Ok, now you can hum the dramatic music. Because now the story actually changes. Dun- Dun-Duuuuuuuuuun! Twelve years after being together, 3 step-children and 2 of our own, and I love Phil today more than I ever loved him – EVER. Yet, we don’t ride bikes together and we don’t sit on the same side of the booth at restaurants. I almost loathe going to the movies anymore and you will never catch me busting a move. Yes, things have changed. I grew. He grew. We each found different favorite activities. Of course, throwing kids in the mix surely changed things too. We have a three-month old and this past weekend we finally made the time to have our first date out without the baby. I got pretty gussied up for the big night out (that ended at 8:30PM). As we were waiting for our pager to go off for our available table, we sat outside to enjoy the cool air and do some people watching. We both had our phones out. Maybe we checked Facebook a few times, maybe we refreshed to see any new emails. Phil was walking me through Instagram for the first time so at that point we were both engrossed in our phones for sure. We had a good laugh sitting out there talking about how we were positive that there is a person or couple sitting somewhere near us, looking at us and saying, “Those poor people. They will never make it if they can’t go on a date without looking at their phones.” We laughed because we know what it may have looked like to others but we also know what it was to us. To us, it was time alone. It was the old Phil and Marci talking about anything, making each other laugh and enjoying the bond that we share that has twelve years of deep roots.
As we sat and ordered our meal, our dinner was not filled with chit chat like it may have been so long ago. There were silent moments where we just ate or looked around. At some point, we traded plates to allow the other to enjoy our meal. Maybe some idle talk here and there. But I will tell you something. I would not trade this marriage I have now for the old mushy-gushy marriage I had then for anything in the world. Nothing. I love my marriage and I love the man God provided me. I love who he has become and I love who we are together as a couple. I guess when we are just plain too old to talk I will sit on the same side of the booth with him again. We can share our early-bird special and hold each other’s wrinkly hands. But I know I won’t look back and wish we got there any other way.
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