Low-mance

Like it or loathe it, unless you’ve been living under a rock this week, everybody’s talking about love. And not the redemptive, sacrificial, world-changing type of love that Bishop Curry spoke about at the big event, either. Nope. I mean the hand-holding, long-looking, heart-pounding, “when will they kiss?!” kind of love. And… no surprises here… I love it!

So.

Yesterday morning, we baked scones and cakes and coloured in little flags, (just for us, in the end- we really are that sad!) Then we put out a rug in front of the TV, and “oohed” and “aaahed” at the costumes and pageantry. Two little mouths full of cucumber sandwiches, and two cups of lukewarm, decaf tea. Ten minutes in, of course, when the kids got bored, we distracted them with anything we could; before admitting defeat, tidying it all up and heading back into the garden just like we should.

(By which, of course, I mean that Husband went out and bounced with the kids on the trampoline; whilst I force-fed poor Tiny, so that I could watch the rest in peace!)

“Ah, yeah … Not right now… Breastfeeding… Sorry!”

Later on, after playing in the garden, taking them out on their bikes, changing nappies, refilling drinks and chasing everyone around with sun cream; I observed that each one was busy, distracted and happy… So seized the rare opportunity to nip off for a quickie!

Oh yes.

Out came the champagne bucket.

The bubbles.

The kinky rubber gloves….

The sponge!

Remnants of our own big day, shoved under the sink with some toilet cleaner and a plunge!

Quick… yeah… Scrub that bog; it hasn’t had this much attention in months! A perfect metaphor, really, for the current state of us.

Oh dear.

I started reflecting on this last weekend, when a young couple announced their engagement at church. They told their story- young love in all its glory- the surprises, the attention to detail, the works! And the thing is, I wasn’t jealous. It brought up a few cute memories that made me laugh! But my first thought, actually, regardless of P.C, was ‘God… I hope my daughters find husbands like that!’

Which, on the one hand makes me feel very old, and on the other, very blessed. But on the third hand, guilty- for I have a husband like that too– but the romance is taking a rest!

“Hey… When did we stop having date night?” I asked Husband just before bed. And when neither of us could actually remember, we conceded; our eight-year habit was experiencing neglect.

But then… hey.

I’ll bet we’re not the first, and we certainly won’t be the last. When you’re juggling two toddlers, life in ministry and a newborn, it’s hard to get together and relax.

I mean, it’s hard, you know, to get some space, when a sitter is out of the question. Or when waiting up for him to return from work finds me asleep- on the living room floor- with sheer exhaustion!

It’s hard to wait to eat together; to cook- even order in- ’til after bedtime. To hang on ’til the kids are finally asleep, knowing we could be too, if we’d eaten with them at teatime!

And it’s hard to be loving and amorous, when one of you has hormones like Medusa. When she might just kill you if you look at her, never mind if you try to seduce her!

Yes it’s hard to go to bed with someone who gets out of one side, as Jekyll; and the other, as Hyde. Especially when, unfortunately, it’s now pushed against the wall for the cot… leaving only the monstrous side!

And it’s hard to be romantic with someone who’s been coughing and blowing his nose since 2017! Whose attempts at whispering sweet nothings fall short, when he keeps stopping to just try and breathe!

I see couples in the street and I wonder how long ago that was us, on a tactile date? Because it’s hard to hold hands when you’ve got a double pram; sling, bike, scooter, and changing-bag-for-three to negotiate!

But that’s the catch, isn’t it?

When you’re busy, or poorly, or hormonal, or bogged down; the enemy can tell you that you’re in trouble. That its been like that for too long, that the romance is gone, that there’s no point once you’re out of the bubble. But as I sat last night, flicking through my phone, when I should have been going to bed; I found a picture that made me smile, remember fairly recent times, and acknowledge that there are more ahead.

See… a friend recently sent a care package to Husband, after his.. err… ‘little op’! One was a novelty- with a quote from the blog!- a throwback to our little shock…

I remembered right there, that it’s not even a year, since we were so enthused, we took to spontaneous baking! That indeed, whilst the newborn phase requires a great deal of grace… the future is ours for the taking.

So maybe right now, the bar is set low; we shouldn’t really expect too much. But we should be intentional about our marriage- find new ways to stay in touch.

Yes, I guess that right now is really about resetting our expectations; to be creative with our time and space, within our new limitations. To find new ways to value each other, as well as our precious three. Fully aware that romance isn’t dead… it’s just catching up on some sleep!

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