Now that I got your attention, all I’m gonna say on that subject is, “Yes!”
Sex is important in a relationship, sure, but affection is key. That’s what I miss most if Charlie’s away ski-dooin’, or huntin’, or ice fishin’ up north, like he was this past week. (They had to cross the border into Quebec to find ice thick enough! That’s the kind of winter we’ve had.) Charlie was gone five days, and boy, did I miss him.
Well, the first couple of days were kind of fun, havin’ the house to myself. Cooking what I want to eat. Watching movies he’d never want to see. By about the third day, though, I found myself standing in front of his side of the closet, smelling his shirts. Really! This is gonna sound kind of silly, but know what I miss most, when Charlie’s away? Holding hands and kissing. You can lose track of things like that when you’ve been married awhile, but they’re so important.
I learned about marriage from my parents. They were married just shy of fifty years, and they had the kind of good, strong marriage that comes with that kind of time and commitment. As Dad likes to say, “A good marriage is like a good fire; you got to tend it if you want it to burn bright.”
Growing up, our parents used to tell Irene and me, “Our Number One priority is to each other. You girls second. ’Cause if we don’t take care of us, we can’t be strong for you.”
That may sound a little shocking nowadays, where all the focus seems to be on putting children first. But as a kid, I found this notion comforting. First off, our parents told us outright what they were doin’. Kids love to know what’s going on. Second, our parents never felt guilty for spending time together without us girls. They didn’t believe they were doing anything wrong, so Irene and me didn’t either. And third, they were always so happy when they got back from wherever they went. Plus, we still did a lot of stuff together as a family. Spending time with Irene and me never seemed like an obligation to our parents. They were energized in their relationship, and they shared that energy and enthusiasm for life with us.
Looking back, I realize my parents didn’t have a lot of money, but they always managed to scrape together enough for a date. Sometimes I think they just bought a couple of beers down to Blue’s general store, then drove to the Moose Megantic Lake overlook, parked and talked (or whatever). Making their marriage a priority wasn’t about spending money, it was about spending time together, just the two of ‘em.
And my parents always kissed each other hello and goodbye. Charlie and me do that, too. If I’m still getting dressed in the morning and Charlie’s ready to leave for work, he’ll come into the bedroom and kiss me goodbye. And when he gets home from work, I stop what I’m doing (usually fixing supper) and kiss him hello.
Think about it. Which is more appealing: yelling “Goodbye,” to each other as you’re runnin’ out the door, or having this tiny moment of connection when you’re coming and going. It says, “ Honey, you’re important to me.” Just a quick kiss. Seems like such a little thing, but it’s not!
So when Charlie come home on Saturday, smelling of sweat and wood smoke and the great outdoors, I give him a big welcome home kiss, stubbly face and all. And he kisses me back, and makes a big deal of Scamp, who’s happy to see Charlie, too. And that, that gets me through his stinky pile of laundry and all that fish on the counter and hearing about some of the stupid stuff the guys did. Nice to know after forty years of marriage, I can still miss the ol’ duffer.
That’s it for now. Catch you on the flip side!
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