At some point towards the end of the Summer myself and G. decided that we needed to instigate a “Date Night” – one evening a week where we would eat some dinner together without children and spend some time in each other’s company, chatting, plotting, cuddling or whatever. It had felt like it was ages since we’d acted like very much more than efficient co-workers – and maybe even a bit less than that given that I tend to have time for a cup of tea and a laugh with some of my coworkers at some point throughout the day.

And it was working well, but then with the return to school and the building pressures of the working week – for both of us – meant that “Date Night” sometimes slipped into being “an excuse to eat takeaway and veg and then fall asleep” and we still weren’t really spending time together in the spirit of the original intention.

So we moved Date Night to Friday rather than Thursday and then I wasn’t stressing about the next day of work, but instead I was so exhausted after the working week that I was half-way to sleep myself by the time the children were in bed.

I’m carrying a huge whack of sleep debt this week and I couldn’t even get to the “Children in Bed” point before I visited Neptune*. G. had work to get on top of too, and so I very crankily read stories before clambering back into my own bed for the thing that seems to be my unintentional priority in life: Internet.

It seems that attention to the relationship of my marriage is the lowest priority in our (my?) life. And, please believe me, that is not the way I want things to be. I don’t want to be living parallel lives, managing the duties of a home in a cordial but disconnected fashion. I don’t value my husband less than my children, let alone less than my job and hell no to valuing him and me and us less than the goddamned Internet!

So why?

The old excuse I guess. Tired. Lazy. Inattentive.

It’s not good enough. I can accept that we might make exceptions during a particularly busy week, but it’s happening every week recently. The reaction to Date Night should be one of joy and excitement, not duty and the feeling that there’s “yet another” thing on my to-do list.

That sounds pretty passionless, doesn’t it? You might conclude that my marriage is in trouble and that the spark has gone. But honestly, honestly honestly I don’t feel that way at all. I know we are suffering (and would suffer more in the future if this were to continue) but I feel a surety in the depth of our existing connection. And when we actually do manage to overcome the inertia accompanying each week’s exhaustion, well then there’s no one I’d rather spend time with and talk to and lean against and smell. G. is more than my partner. He is my home.

I’m just not really acting like it at the moment.

But okay, it’s the midterm now, and while it’s “just a week” it’s also an excuse to take stock and reevaluate, reprioritise and find time. Except – and I’ve said this before – time is not the issue. Energy is. And how do I find energy?

I have found that I’ve got a fair chunk more energy than when I was a drinking person, but it’s been eaten up by actually doing my job properly and looking after my children a little better. And so I feel a good bit less stressed at work this year, but I’m doing more productive work which is taking up a lot of the energy I’ve regained. And I feel more connected to my children too; I am having way fewer evenings where I feel like I can’t deal with them at all.

But our obligations and commitments seems to expand to fill any extra space I develop. When I get more social and spend more time with friends, people respond by inviting me to more things. It’s nice to be invited; it feels less isolating, but … it can’t be a higher priority for my limited energy spend than my marriage, can it? But then again a marriage with two isolated moons orbiting each other only is romantic in storybooks only. In reality it would get pretty unhealthy pretty quickly.

Let’s see how midterm goes. I have hopes!

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(*) This is a bit of an “in” joke in my family; Twin1 has gotten into the planets in a big way recently but his pronunciation isn’t always the best so: Venus = Penis, Mars = Maurice and Neptune = Naptown.

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