I discovered something about the nature of a long-term relationship last week when my husband and I decided to go away overnight. It was an impromptu trip, as we had come into a little extra cash and we hadn’t been away as a couple in four years. So I rushed to make hotel reservations as well as booking a spot on the Cape May-Lewes Ferry (that’s Cape May receding from aboard the Cape Henlopen). We were to take the ferry over in the morning, then spend the afternoon and night in the charming coastal town of Lewes, Delaware. Which is exactly what we did.
No sense giving you our travelogue–which was, briefly, the Delaware Bay crossing, a stay at a lovely downtown hotel, the Hotel Rodney, a visit to the state park, dinner on the canal at sunset, etc–but that’s not the point I’m wanting to make. The point is how a couple can change when they’re out of their milieu, how that change is a barometer of the true state of their relationship, as well as a portend of what they can expect when they come home and return to their reality. Let me explain.
I read somewhere over the summer, not sure where, that in order to keep a long-term relationship fresh a couple needs to experience new things together. It’s not enough to do them separately, as they need to bind over a shared event. We found this on the ferry and in visiting Lewes. Away from home and doing something together in a new environment, we were able to step outside our everyday lives and become almost different people. When we walked into our hotel room, drank beer at our canal-side table, ate ice cream on the sidewalk as we watched passers-by, we found a joy in our commonality of stepping outside the ordinary. Free of the static of everyday life, we were able to just live in the moment, getting into the thrill of the open sea, yellow beets and pistachios on our salads, mints atop our turned-down sheets. And about those sheets…
Yes, it was better. He was better–I was better. There’s something thrilling about a mussed-up bed in the afternoon (especially when you return from dinner and find it made up with those mints atop it). Being silenced with a kiss. Trotting downstairs to a hotel alcove past midnight for a can a Coke and Chex Mix–you’re starving, after all–wearing just a cardigan and the jeans you snatched from the floor. Finally falling asleep who-knows-when. Strange. We’ve been married well over twenty years, but the man I spent the night with surprised the hell out of me. His reactions to the newness all around us made him as fresh to me as if I just met him, giving me a new, exciting perspective on him. In those thirty-six-odd hours we spent together, I fell in love all over again.
Why am I mentioning this? Well, my goodness, remember what I write? How can I impart those first rushes of romance if I can’t feel it from the inside? How convincing would I be then? It’s a wonderful feeling, living the romantic life. Recharge often.