By: Alexia Jolie Villa
My husband and I have been married for almost 14 years, 10 of which we’ve spent as parents. We are deeply, deeply grateful for our three healthy young children, who have brought so much meaning to our lives, both in terms of challenges and joy.
However, no matter how much we love our kids and love spending time with them, I’ve instinctively felt for a very long time that it is important – actually, necessary – that we regularly spend some time alone as a couple. The passing of time has turned this feeling into a certainty.
The first time we went out on a date after becoming parents was a year after my eldest child was born. Looking back, frankly, we waited too long, but, as a first-time mother, I just didn’t realize the importance of such moments. We didn’t do anything particular: just went out for a quick pizza and a movie at the theater. But I remember very clearly what a revelation it was to me to be able to focus exclusively on my husband again, basking in feeling attractive for him and in the feeling that I was having FUN with him again, especially after spending a very hard few months as first-time parents.
Ever since then, I’ve tried to spend at least two hours every week alone with my husband, leaving someone else – either a grandmother or a babysitter – to look after the children. We don’t have to do anything fancy, though it is very enjoyable to have dinner at a nice restaurant. A simple walk to fetch the newspaper or some fresh fish will do. We rarely go to the theater because that means we can’t talk to each other, and there is so much we need to talk about – our plans for the future, musings about the present, our hopes, dreams, fears, doubts – and so little time to do it during the week, between my husband’s work and everything I need to do to take care of our home and children.
Of course, there are stretches of time when we can’t have our date because life gets in the way: the kids get sick, there is something else going on during the weekend, or it’s one of “those days” for me.
But it is so fundamental to have that bit of time alone with each other.
Whenever my husband and I have the opportunity to focus solely on each other, without anyone or anything else demanding our immediate attention, we have the opportunity to focus on the magic, both physical and spiritual, that brought us together and still holds us together. We talk about those things which represent the origin and foundation of everything we hold most dear in our lives: our children, our home, our dreams, and the good we bring out in each other that adds to the good in the world. To me, imagining my marriage without romance feels like imagining life without poetry, without the search for what is divine in the human experience.
This is Jordan Peterson’s definition of sexual romance: “The adventure, pleasure, intimacy, and excitement people fantasize about experiencing when they are feeling in need of a touch of the divine.”
There are many ways to capture the divine in our everyday lives – with our children, with nature, with family, books, music – but there is something special about sitting with your husband and being overwhelmed by the awareness of the power that lies in your love for each other. Despite the inevitable flaws we will both always have, we have the power to create and nurture new life and to transcend everything, including those personal flaws. We just have to believe in our bond strongly enough, and be willing to offer in exchange the necessary amount of blood, sweat, and tears.
There is a deep sense of awe and gratitude that the simple touch of my husband’s hand is capable of inspiring in me. When you’ve been married for a while and have had to get through many difficult moments or weeks or months with your spouse, and you know how to get on each other’s nerves, it is a miracle that we are both strong enough for those moments of connection.
To love someone deeply gives you strength. Being loved by someone deeply gives you courageLao-Tzu
The resilience of intimate connection means that you’re both still alive. So much of our daily lives are spent on the brink of tragedy: one second too late and your car crashes, or your child chokes, or you hurt seriously injure yourself. I don’t know how long I will be alive. I don’t know how long my husband will be alive. I don’t know which challenges life will throw at us in the future, and neither does he, but I do know that we’re capable of savoring the moments we have with each other. We can use the passion and gratitude we have for life to help us to survive any tragedy that may occur in the future.
My beloved is mine, and I am hisThe Song of Solomon 2:1-17
My husband is my knight in shining armor: isn’t that how we all need and want to see our husbands? And don’t they need to see us as their ideal woman, whom they cherish and will do anything to protect? Men and women alike, we need to be reminded as often as possible by our spouses how important we are to them. There is no a better way to do that than with some dedicated attention, especially in view of the long term. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to someday be one of those elderly couples who’ve been through the whole life spectrum – work, raising children, all manner of psychological and physical challenges – and still look at each other with stars twinkling in their eyes?