Remember way back to when you were single? How you always put your best foot forward on a date, worked on being witty, charming, and thoughtful? Now that you’re married, did those tender moments of romance get exchanged for discussions about poopy diapers and whose turn it is to change them?
We've been counseled to keep the romance alive by continuing to date after we're married. As we get away from the house and remind ourselves of all the reasons why we fell in love in the first place, we can give our marriages the spark they need to keep going. We all agree that continuing to date is a good idea, and some of us even do it. But I don't think husbands and wives see it quite the same way.
Getting ready, from the Wife's Perspective . . .
She wakes up in the morning. Tonight is the night! They'll go out to dinner, linger over a delicious meal, maybe touch fingers across the creme brulee, and feel the zing of romance reignited. She gets out of bed, looking forward to the night out with her wonderful sweetheart, and as soon as she comes out of the bedroom, her eyes fall on a mess. And another mess. And another. She can't possibly have a babysitter over to see all this.
She makes breakfast (which no one will eat) and she starts to clean. And clean. And clean. The children aren't really helping -- rather, they're running around behind her, gleefully chuckling while throwing everything on the floor, again. She cleans the children's rooms, you know, the rooms the children were supposed to clean, but they didn't, because they're ungrateful little creatures who don't understand how good they've got it. She cleans the bathroom, washes the dishes, sweeps the floor, vacuums the carpet, and dusts. At some point in there, the children get lunch, but she doesn't. She's got too much to do.
She makes dinner so the sitter doesn't have to, and she has a talk with the children. She tells them everything she expects of them, promises a reward if they're good and punishment if they're bad, she reminds them of the movies she let them pick out at Blockbuster to watch while the sitter is there, and then, only then, does she get in the shower. She has roughly five minutes to replicate four hours at a spa.
Then she has to decide what to wear. What does she have that's a) clean b) flattering enough to make him fall in love with her all over again c) still fits? She tries on outfits, realizes she's too fat to really look good in any of them, and goes with the last thing she put on, even though she's not completely happy with it.
She's dressed and ready to go, but she can't wear eye make-up because the toddler got into her mascara and rubbed it all over the wall, and you can't wear eye shadow without mascara. The sitter has arrived. She tells the sitter all the personality quirks of the children, she tells her they've been fed, what they're allowed to do, what they're not allowed to do, puts a limit on the number of cookies they may be given throughout the night, explains the bedtime routine (including the necessity of giving little Roddy his blue blanket) gives emergency telephone numbers, negotiates a pay rate and a time to be home, and tells all the children goodbye roughly thirty-seven times, during which little Roddy wipes his sticky fingers across Mommy’s pants, leaving a long, trailing smear.
Getting ready, from the Husband's Perspective . . .
He gets home from work a little late, goes into the bedroom and changes his shirt, puts his wallet in his pocket, and he's ready to go.
Is it just me, or is date night just a little more complicated for the wife than it is for the husband? And why, ladies, do we get so excited when he asks us out, knowing we'll have to go through that whole rigmarole? Because we love the big lugs, that's why. And even though we’ve got peanut butter on our pants and we’re worried the whole time that Tracy will cut off Billy’s hair and that George will set fire to the house, we’ll look in our husband’s eyes and remember the first time we ever saw him. What we were wearing, what he was wearing, everything we said . . . those are the moments that make it all worthwhile.
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