Category: marriage

I told Jonas yesterday that, ever since my 19th birthday, I’ve celebrated every single one of my birthdays with his Daddy. He grinned. He flashed me a thumbs-up. Then he solemnly observed, “That’s a LOT of birthdays.”

Yeah, little guy, it totally is. I’m okay with that. This is 33, and it’s a blessing.

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We had been dating for sixteen months when Groundhog Day 2001 rolled around. That night, we went to the movies to see “The Wedding Planner,” and when we got back to the Hill there were still a few hours until curfew. We were hanging out in my room, watching CSI: SVU (of all things! ack!) when suddenly Chris hopped up. “Hey, I think my mom left that magazine in my car for you. Do you want me to go get it?” [Trish had seen a copy of Southern Living Weddings with a beautiful cake on the cover, and picked it up for me. She was in Rome that evening while we were at the movies, so she had left it in Chris’ car in the dorm parking lot.] “No, that’s fine, I’ll grab it when I walk you out at curfew,” I told him. But he was already standing… and then he was on his way out the door. “No, I’ll just go get it for you!”

Weird.

A few minutes later, he was back in my room. He handed me the magazine, and I flipped it to the page his mom had marked with a Post-It note. It really was a pretty cake. I think I turned a couple of pages… and then Chris, who was still just standing there, leaned close. “Wouldn’t you rather look at this?”

I glanced up at him, absolutely clueless as to what was about to happen. He was holding a dark blue, velvet box – the top was open – and nestled against the white silk lining was the adorable perfection of the ring we had seen at Ford, Gittings, & Kane downtown a few weeks before.

(We’d gone to the jewelers “just to look,” Chris had said, so he could see what style of rings I liked. Unbeknownst to me, when Chris got his refund from Shorter for the semester, he had trekked back over to FG&K and bought the ring. It had been hiding out in his sock drawer ever since.)

I gasped. I grinned. I waited.

“Will you… marry me?”

I meant to say ‘yes.’ But what came out of my mouth was, “Just try and stop me!”

So he put the ring on my finger and we kissed and giggled and took pictures of ourselves and kissed a little more. Then we called my parents, and my mom said, “Ohmygosh, you’ll always remember Groundhog Day now!” We stared at each other, dumbfounded. Neither of us had realized it was a ‘holiday,’ much less a silly holiday revolving around a rodent in Pennsylvania… but she was right, we have had a fondness for Groundhog Day ever since.

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For the last ever-so-many months, we’ve been saying we should take advantage of our newfound surplus of time and money by getting a babysitter and heading out for some time alone.

We moved here in July. We got a recommendation for a sitter and went out in August on a Saturday afternoon. (It seemed like a good idea not to expect a teenage sitter to wrangle the kids for bedtime since they are not at all used to sitters and would probably flip out!) We went downtown, ate at a cute ’50s-themed diner, and browsed all the adorable shops that would NOT be possible to navigate with two kids.
Then in September, a baby came along. 🙂 We kind of hibernated for awhile; you know how that goes.
About a week ago, I asked Chris if he’d like to go Christmas shopping one day. We could have the babysitter back over (wonder if she remembers us!?) and head out to pick up the last few things for our little darlings and enjoy the time together. He said sure!
Then this past Thursday, when I was visiting our friends in N. Ky, he got paid and got excited about Christmas shopping. Apparently he shopped for me, which is fine 😉 but he also shopped for the rest of our list.
Last night, Chris asked me if I was going to call Beth on Monday. “I can,” I said, “but do we still need her for Saturday? You did all the shopping.” He looked a little bit stunned and maybe crestfallen. First of all, I guess he didn’t realize that that was IT for the lists. And secondly, without needing to go Christmas shopping, he didn’t know WHAT we could do.
I thought that was the end of the conversation, but half an hour later, he came over to me and asked if he was a bad husband.
WHA—-????
Where did that come from?
“I always hear that you should do things together, as a couple. Isn’t it bad, that I can’t think of anything to do together without the kids? One day the kids won’t be here, they’ll grow up and move out…”
Ay yi yi.
Okay, yes, it’s true that we need to do things together and keep our sense of fun as a couple. And yes, we’re probably out of practice of thinking of “date” activities. But we’ve been in such a wierd place during med school and residency where there’s no time and even less cash – so we’ve gotten into the habit of just hanging out at home, watching TV and movies on Netflix. 😉 I think it’s GOOD that he even wants to go out on dates, even if he can’t think of “what to do” at least it feels like a good first step that he wants to. Right?
So I mentioned that a friend of ours reads a blog with suggestions for date nights. He got a little upset by that and said he shouldn’t have to check the Internet for ideas. My response was that, hey, maybe it would just be a way to get started. After we get in the habit of “dating” each other again, we’ll probably come up with lots of our own ideas.
This morning, I hunted a bit to find that blog my friend likes. (It’s The Dating Divas, by the way.) So, it’s a cute blog –if a bit visually overwhelming IMO– and it does have a bucketload of date ideas. But it bothers me, and I’ll tell you why.
ALL OF THE DATES ARE PLANNED BY THE WIVES.
There is nothing intrinsically wrong with a gal planning a date for her best guy. I get that. But you know what?
I plan our menus.
I plan the kids’ school lessons.
I plan our road trips and do all the packing.
I plan for the kids’ clothing each season.
I plan for decorating the house.
I would really rather not have to plan all our dates, as well.
And — here’s the big one, and I don’t think I’m the only female on the planet who feels this way — the WHOLE POINT of dating is to feel, well, woo’ed.
If I have to make all the plans and you just show up, I don’t feel cherished and desired. I feel like a cruise director.
Where’s the website for men who want to plan dates and need a few ideas to get them started?

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Meet the author

MICHELLE NEBEL

I write uplifting women’s fiction woven with threads of faith, grace, and Southern hospitality. My blog is where I share a glimpse of my life, and I hope you’ll find the thoughts here encouraging!

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