Several years ago, when I was pregnant and already had a toddler and a preschooler, a friend shared with me some sage advice she’d once received. It went something like this, “There will be times in your marriage where you’re just rubbing elbows and that’s okay.” I thought those times were then. Turns out, rubbing elbows happens more often than I thought.
Life with little kiddos is stressful and exhausting. Kids have trouble falling asleep or wake from bad dreams or need nursing in early hours before the sun rises. During those times, couples might spend most of their time in bed together sleeping since parenting has them tuckered out. It might seem like family dinners are spent encouraging kids to try something new, finish their veggies, and maybe share a weak smile with your spouse. It’s those times that we might wonder if we’ll ever find that loving feeling again or just how long we’ll just be pecking each other on the cheek as we pass each other, day in and day out.
And then…for a few short years, maybe…a reprieve. The kids become more independent. You stop caring if they eat balanced meals. You find a rhythm and reconnect with your spouse. Life is good.
But…kids don’t stop growing. So, next thing you know you’re running in several directions each night of the week. You’re packing PB&J for dinner or hitting the drive-thrus or eating at 9:00. Sports, clubs, friends…everybody wanting to be everywhere. And it’s good. It’s healthy for them and they’re learning and growing. But…you’re back to rubbing elbows with your spouse again.
This is where I’m at in life. That’s how I recently figured out that that period of rubbing elbows is a recurring thing, not a one-time phase.
My husband’s schedule has him leaving the house before the sun comes up. My schedule has me getting home long after it’s gone down. We usually try to share a little conversation before dozing off, but time is limited and it seems like there isn’t room for much more than, “How was your day? Fine. Yours? Good. Do you need lunch tomorrow? Yes. Will you be home for dinner? Nope, leftovers.” That’s about it.
But ya know what? This too shall pass. We’ll have time together again in the blink of an eye. There are days when I find it hard to believe. It seems more like I’m lost in this tunnel and tired of being in it too. But after a quick, little pity party for one, I look up and see the big picture. I understand that “the days may be long, but the years are short” thing I hear people saying all the time. And it’s all good again. That knowledge helps give me the energy to keep going forward.
In the meantime, though, I’m comforted in knowing that I’m rubbing elbows with my husband, and that’s okay. (Occasionally, we slow down enough for a real kiss too, so don’t you fret over that.)