Exhaling loudly, I let myself fall onto our couch. I scan the room for the monitor to check if Mike is still praying with our toddler upstairs. I glance in the kitchen and see the dishes that have yet piled high again. The dogs are whining, needing to be let outside. I roll my eyes, annoyed that no one thought to let them out before dinner. It’s the end of the day and my patience has practically vanished. My energy left somewhere around the time I had to start prepping for dinner.
It’s days like these that I seriously don’t have the mental or physical energy to bother even connecting with my husband.
I hear him coming down the stairs as I start to unload the dishwasher. He slowly steps into the kitchen, looks around, and decides to feed the dogs. After unloading the dishwasher, I float to the laundry room to start working on that load that’s been sitting in there for a couple of days. Mike rhythmically moves to load the empty dishwasher. Even though we’re both exhausted, our absent-minded bodies move robotically to do our chores.
No eye contact is needed. No connection is needed. We move, doing what needs to be done, not realizing the slow beat of our tiredness is slowly eating away our heart-to-heart connection.
I used to think it was nice being able to do these things without having to talk about it much. I used to think it was the result of a strong marriage being able to ebb and flow around the home without communicating much. A little lie I tell myself.
A lie that builds a foundation on shifting sand.
It’s that deafening, quiet sound of methodical chores, questionless requests and rhythmical bedtime routines that I let turn my husband into a roommate.
It starts when we each settle into our routines in the evening, after a long day of working and parenting, that we slowly start the change. I grab my phone. He grabs his. We think we’re watching TV together as the sound of the commercials fall on deaf ears.
It’s when Mike comes through the door and I practically throw my son at him without so much of a greeting, while I rush back to the stove as the timer blares at me so my meatloaf doesn’t burn.
I see it as we start to go to bed at different times on a what seems to have become a regular basis. I see it as I start my morning chores while he eats his breakfast before heading off to work.
I then have to ask myself, how did we get here? How did we become the model marriage of robotic intimacy?
Flashes of a dinner spent asking about each other’s day gets replaced with managing kids at the dinner table. I see a fog around our evenings of actually watching our favorite show together and engaging about the plot and characters. Quiet time together in the dark mornings over a cup of coffee seem like forever ago. Intimacy that spread from the kitchen to the bedroom seems like a distant memory.