A fulfilling marriage is more about sext than text
Text to my husband: “Have sorted meatballs and worm tablets.” Except I inadvertently send it to my friend, who wryly messages back: “Glad to see it’s all romance in your house.”
Once upon a time, I’d text this man about what I’d like to do to him when next we met. Now it’s reduced to bald instructions to ensure a child isn’t left at school or requests for forgotten dinner items (you’d think I’d remember that pasta goes with bolognaise).
Scrolling through our texts reveals a similar theme. Me: “Can you get $105 for drum teacher?” Him: “Just going for a couple of beers with James.” Me: “Pls buy sunscreen.” Him (in shouty capitals because he was cross): “There’s no sour cream. Pls buy some.”
I won’t entertain you with my reply (nasty, out of character, hormonal rant), but should I ever get run over and the paramedic searches my contact list to figure out which one is my husband, he wouldn’t pick him from that message. Or perhaps he would.
This short-cut communication is symptomatic of family life. While I’d like us to be a couple who greets each other of an evening with a G&T, a delicious anecdote and a mini-break booked, we’re not. One of us is usually grumbling at the kids to feed the cat; the other is suffocating under school notes.
It’s rubbish, really. A few months ago, we realised that in constantly enriching our children’s lives, we were depleting our own. Weekends went like this: drama lesson, T-ball, buying party gifts, soccer, two kid’s parties. When one child’s team decided to hold prize-giving on a Saturday night, I had a dummy spit.
It’s not that I don’t enjoy their world, but I also rather like my own. My parents were always involved, but their grown-up time was strictly demarcated. We were welcome to help stick tooth-picked cheese cubes into grapefruit but, come 7pm, we’d disappear as the guests floated in, a riot of backcombed hair and orange paisley. As the Bee Gees hit the record player, they’d seamlessly slip from being parents to being a couple.
These days, finding ‘the couple’ within a family is like foraging for a fondue pot: You know it’s there somewhere, but you can’t put your hand on it. As children become the centre of our universe – and, bizarrely, their talents become the measure of our own self-worth – we wouldn’t dare deny them a soccer match or a party. Never mind that we might rather lie on the couch or, heaven forbid, steal a quickie. What about their fitness, their social skills, their self-esteem?
Ironically, this over-attentiveness diminishes what creates families in the first place. It also does kids no favours. Far healthier than ‘enriching’ them with a Mini Monet class is seeing the people who made them having a laugh together.
Recently, in the interest of parental enrichment (ie, an uninterrupted conversation and sex), we went away for a week without the kids. After long walks and bike rides, we despatched with the monotony of set meal times, dining randomly on tapas and pinot. In one bar, we lounged around an open fire and got drunk watching an old James Bond film. We may have even kissed. Properly. Walking back under the stars, I looked at this man and thought, I remember why I like you.
Back home, there are still times tables to learn and cow costumes to construct. But these days, the texts are suffixed with an X.
Catch Angela Mollard every Monday at 9.30am on Mornings, on the Nine Network. Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her at www.twitter.com/angelamollard.
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