I am a huge fan of old clothes. Comfortable clothes. And the best example is the old pair of jeans. You know the ones. The pair that seems to remember each centimeter of the curve of your hip. Soft against the skin and faded to perfection. You can shop and shop for new jeans. I have. Designer jeans on which I have spent an arm and a leg. But they always have the stiffness, the newness, the unfamiliar quality to them. They’re perfectly fine jeans. They fit well and look nice, but when it comes to comfort, to being home, they will never hold a candle to the faded old pair.
Of course I am not talking about jeans here.
The young girls at work are on a mission from some higher power to “spice up” my marriage. Meaning that they think John and I are boring. It all started with an invitation to a Pure Romance party that another coworker is holding. Of course being the older voice in the room, I made a statement to the effect that no matter how freaky-deaky I could possibly choose to be in my private life, there is no way in hell that I would order a sex toy at a party with my coworkers. Yes, I realize the reps at these parties take each customer someplace private to complete the ordering process. But you still have to sit through the presentation. Yeah, right. Like I’m going to sit through a dildo show with my colleagues. So they think John and I have lost something. They’ve volunteered to watch the kids. One even joked that she was going to take me lingerie shopping and make us a Marvin Gaye-esque mix tape. Because we are so boring. I made the comment that we have been married 10 years, that we have two kids, for crying out loud. To which both of them exclaimed that this doesn’t mean we have to let the spark leave our marriage. I think these young whipper-snappers are confusing familiar, comfortable, stable with boring. And this is where the difference in what one values comes into play.
We have all lived for that spark. The fireworks of a first kiss at the end of a good date. The thrill of the dating game. The fun of courtship. Just like shopping for those great new designer jeans. But I think we all eventually reach that point where comfort is most important. It is in that comfort zone where we find security, peace, and in the right circumstances, empowerment. And we slip on the faded jeans.
My marriage didn’t start out this way, of course. It took years of practice, years of breaking in much like the metaphorical jeans. But because we have had those years together, he has become perfect for me. Where I am weak, he is strong, and vice versa. He always gets the perfect gift because he knows me as well as I know myself and can know in an instant what it is that I will like. He knows when it is that I need to be left alone and doesn’t follow then. But he also knows when I need him to be there with me, by my side. How I like my eggs cooked in the morning, and exactly how much creamer to put in my coffee. When we watch a sappy movie together, he will look at me and away from the screen at precisely the moment in the film where I am going to start to cry. He is the only other one to know from where we have have come and to believe in where we are going. To have been there for me in all of the moments where I thought I was losing myself, to be the one to remind me just who I am when I needed it most.
John and I don’t need lingerie or sex toys or expensive dates. We don’t need to hand our kids over to someone else. We are happy enough to just be. With Evan. With Zach. As a family. Evan’s and Zach’s presence doesn’t take away that before they came into the world, there was an us. We know that. And this doesn’t mean that we forget how to be a couple when they aren’t here with us, either.
Quite simply, we have evolved over the past decade to where we don’t need any of that any more. It isn’t that the spark is gone because in order to have what we have together, there have to be some embers glowing constantly. Sparks are just the fleeting part of it all, and that isn’t enough on which to build a life together. We have so much more than that.
So comfortable and secure does not equal boring. Taking simple pleasure in each others’ company doesn’t mean for a single second that our marriage is suffering or lacking in some manner. The opposite is true. John is my home.