Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Meaningful what?

Is the passion dead?

This is the question I was asking myself after a conversation I had with my husband the other night. I’d been trimming my toenails before I slid into bed and switched off the light.
Him: “You cut your toenails?”
(Very long pause)
Him: “Wow, you fell asleep fast.”
Me: “I’m not asleep. I just didn’t really think you were expecting an answer.”
Him: “Yeah, I guess there’s not much else you could say about it.”
Me: “Not really, no.”

That night I began to wonder if we were in trouble. Sometimes we still talk about interesting things like politics, current events, or the meaning of life. But after more than ten years of marriage, most of our conversations revolve around topics such as:
1. The kids.
2. His job.
3. Personal finances.
4. Household duties.
5. Humorous television commercials currently airing on ESPN.

The next day I decided to pay close attention to our conversations and try to steer them toward meaningful topics. My first opportunity came that evening after work. We were standing in the kitchen discussing the day’s events, and I mentioned my blog. “You’ve really been on a writing kick,” he said.
“Well, I’m hoping it’s more than just a ‘kick,’” I said. “I’m planning to keep this up.”
From there I began elaborating on how fulfilling it has been for me to start writing again. This lasted maybe three minutes before I noticed his eyes beginning to dart away from me and toward the TV screen. Finally I stopped talking and just stared at him. He looked at me, then the screen. “This is a funny commercial,” he said. “Have you seen this one?”

Well, no reason for me to dominate the meaningful conversation. Maybe it was his turn to share. So, later that night, after the kids were in bed, I asked him, “So, what’s been on your mind lately?”
He looked up from his laptop. “Business has been pretty bad,” he said. “And I’m about two weeks behind on my expense reports.”
I asked him how his marathon training was going. “Not great,” he said. “I pulled a muscle yesterday.”
Other items running through my husband’s head: He needed to start working on the taxes. There was more paperwork to fill out for the home refinancing. He was trying to decide what to get for his brother’s birthday, which was two months ago. We should probably get more life insurance. His car needed new tires. And brakes.
“This is a funny commercial,” I said, pointing at the TV. “Have you seen this one?”

My husband and I met in college and got married while he was still in school. Somehow it never occurred to us that we were just a couple of kids.
In premarital counseling we scored high on compatibility tests. It seemed we had almost everything in common. Looking back, however, the tests had no questions about movie preferences or the optimal number of hours per day to spend watching televised sports.

We’ve lucked out, though. Even as our differences have became obvious, even as we have both changed and continue to change, even through the moves and career changes and new babies, we continue to like each other quite a lot. In fact, maybe the passion isn’t dead at all. Maybe it’s just that the nature of our passion has changed.
Twelve years ago, I longed for someone to make me feel complete, to be my best friend, to join me for an exciting journey through life. Those things still sound nice, but at this stage in life I mostly long for eight uninterrupted hours in a comfortable bed.
That doesn’t happen very often, which is why it means so much on a Friday night when my husband turns to me and says, “Why don’t you sleep in tomorrow?”
Sleeping in. Now that’s something I feel passionately about.


Torrie said...

oh, can i relate to this. This sounds just like our life. I refer to my husband as my roommate. That is more what we are like these days. and oh... we don't watch ESPN, but many conversations revolve around LOST.

kersten campbell said...

Love it! So true

Anonymous said...

I can't remember the exact conversation, but the commercial was the one where the ESPN analysts take Peyton and Eli Manning around the ESPN studios and they beat up on each other.