My husband and I watched a great movie on Saturday, called Date Night. I found it hilarious and touching, in the all the right spots. The movie is based on a typical suburbia couple (the Fosters), with kids, jobs, house, etc. Same old same old, day in and day out. One night, they learn that a couple who seemed ‘great’ together are splitting up. As they tell the Fosters “we became great roommates”. This gets the Fosters thinking that they might also be headed in that direction. They decide to spice things up – they dress up for their regularly scheduled date night (which they never do), go to the city for dinner (which they never do), and things snowball from there. In case you haven’t seen the movie and are likely to do so, I’ll stop there.
But here’s what got me thinking. Making the effort is the most important part of a relationship. Because it does get easy. It’s easy to get up, put on the same clothes, go to the same job, and come home on the same roads. It does get comfortable. It’s comfortable to go to the same restaurants, have the same conversations, and do the same things. But that doesn’t mean it stops being special or unique. Each relationship is special because it is between two people who have found each other and have pledged to share their lives together. It is unique – whenever two people with individual personalities blend, a unique type of camaraderie is formed. But when the special and unique get lost and forgotten, what you have is two pretty great roommates. Even good friends. That is not enough.
Here are a few suggestions to keep on keepin’ on:
- Have a ‘real’ date night. My husband and I have a date night every Friday (barring life getting in the way, which happens, believe you me) but we often do the same thing. So once a month, we do something that we would NOT normally do. It doesn’t need to be expensive or exotic – have a picnic on your living room floor, but send each other sticky note invites. Or wear your fanciest clothes. Make it special.
- Pick a random speaking point. When a couple is married, it’s normal to talk about your day, the kids, the need for groceries, or upcoming dental appointments. Once or twice a week, pick a superbly random topic (google CNN if you have to) and have a discussion. A real fist-banging, tear-jerking, riotous laughing conversation.
- Watch out for the ‘roommate’. Be aware of being in a relationship; be aware of when the sparkle level gets a bit low. Find a way to jazz it back up. Keep your eye on the roommate vibe; if you don’t, and it sneaks up too far and too fast, it is harder to get rid of.
Next time you look over and think ‘hmmm…’ Recall all the things that give you butterflies in your stomach. Remember why he or she makes you smile even on the most terrible of days. Relive the reasons why, if you could, you’d pick this life and this partnership all over again.
Make the effort.