Time Out for a Healthy Marriage.
by Meredith O'Brien
I almost canceled. Several times in fact. The swirling chaos of my three children’s oppressive schedules nearly made me throw in the towel because it just seemed too difficult to get away with my husband to celebrate our 18th anniversary. And damn, would canceling have been a huge mistake.
Let me backtrack a bit: When I was looking for a gift to get for my husband Scott for our anniversary in October, I decided what he needed was time . . . with me. Alone. I’m not talkin’ a stolen 20 minutes here or there, or a disjointed conversation in the dark at midnight when we’re both cranky and tired. We needed time away from everything, including our house so I spontaneously booked a night – only one night, mind you – at a swanky Boston hotel in the Beacon Hill area. My sister-in-law, who lives about an hour away from us, agreed to take my kids on that Saturday night in December -- we’d drive them up to their house -- and my husband and I would pick them up by mid-afternoon the following day.
When Scott opened the anniversary card which explained that his gift was a night in a nice hotel together -- plus a nice dinner out, time to walk around the city and enjoy the Christmas lights, and window shopping the next day -- he thanked me and then asked, “But what if the kids have things on those days?”
“I don’t care!” I said, getting irritated. “This is OUR time. There’s nothing scheduled for those days. We’re going! We get to have time alone.”
Flash-forward to a few weeks ago when those two previously “free” days became jam-packed with three kids’ basketball games, two youth hockey games and a Nativity play at our church for which my daughter had been chosen as the narrator, the largest speaking part. Now I was the one getting cold feet about whether this whole night away business could work. “Forget it,” I told my husband. “We can’t do this.” I was heartsick at the thought that my 12-year-old daughter would miss two basketball games and the play. I didn’t want to disappoint my 12-year-old son by having him miss his game, nor did I want our 9-year-old to be saddened about skipping two hockey games. I felt too guilty about going away for an evening if it was going to cost them so much.
Then my husband and I had a bit of role reversal. He was the one who insisted that he’d work it out, make it happen, though we’d have less time in Boston together than we originally planned: We left for Boston after attending a hockey game and two hoop games (my husband coaches both basketball teams), getting to our hotel room after 6:30. My sister-in-law’s husband agreed to drive our kids to church the following morning so my daughter could appear in the play. My husband and I met them at our house at noon so we could drive the children to their games (so much for spending a leisurely afternoon walking around Boston looking at the Yuletide decorations and possibly shopping).