This post brought to you by WE tv. The content and opinions expressed below are that of Happy Hour Projects.
So let’s get serious for a minute today. I have really been struggling lately, and a comment I received a few days ago has really been on my mind. I shared a photo a while back on Instagram, of my husband and I out for a much-needed date night. And a friend of mine replied to me, “You guys are so perfect it makes me want to barf.” I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when I read that. Perfect? Was she insane? Let me share the photo:
And I’ll tell you the story. Spoiler alert, it’s personal. It’s messy. It was not my finest hour. But it’s honest. And all those things kind of sum up my marriage, some days.
If you don’t know me in-person, you probably can’t tell how puffy my eyes are here – because I had one of the most epic of meltdowns prior to leaving the house. I ugly-cried. My husband surprised me with the plans he had made, but he didn’t take into account what my work schedule was. He was planning to whisk me away when I head deadlines in the morning. He complained that I didn’t appreciate a surprise… and I retorted that he had no respect for my time. We were both a little bit right.
So I came to my senses, recognized a nice effort when I saw it, and started packing and looking for something to wear. But my fat pants were too tight and I hadn’t done laundry yet, so the top I wanted to pair with my jacket was dirty… things were not starting out well. My husband kept telling me to relax, that it wasn’t a big deal… but the problem was, it was a big deal to me, and he couldn’t seem to just acknowledge my frustration. If he was going to put in the effort to make these plans, and I was going to get over myself to enjoy them, I wanted to look nice, and my plan wasn’t working. But what kept sticking in my mind was that he had known for weeks about these plans, and instead of giving me a head’s up so that I could make sure I had something nice to wear, or at least finished up my work early, he didn’t clue me in at all until it was too late to do anything about it. And he didn’t understand why I wasn’t appreciating the effort he had put into such secrecy.
In the end, I settled on a shirt from the hamper that didn’t smell bad and didn’t have any visible baby goo anywhere, we headed out the door almost on-time, and the tension of the morning was set aside. I was puffy-eyed and exhausted, but we put smiles on our faces, checked into our hotel, and took the aforementioned date night selfie.
But the tension didn’t go away. After dinner it re-surfaced, and I spent an hour in the hotel lobby, debating calling a cab and going home. But I really didn’t feel like relaying it all to my mother, who was home, generously watching our kids. So I went back to the room and I apologized. We set the tension aside again, went out to hear some live music, enjoyed our time, went back to the hotel, and…
Fought. Yes, we fought more. No kids. Romantic evening plans. Hotel for the night. And we spent that time not connecting. No intimacy. No re-connecting or re-kindling. I didn’t really even realize until that night that we were having so much trouble communicating.
And then I ugly-cried again.
We woke up hung over, I got my work done sitting on a lumpy hotel couch while my husband snored, and we checked out and went home instead of visiting the museum and having lunch like we had planned. Some evening.
So the comment about being perfect? It was one of the worst nights we’ve had. It was like the pressure to enjoy it was just so much that the whole night just imploded. And I all I could think was, “How did we get to this point? What are we even fighting about?”
The good news is, we talked it out when we got home. We’ve been so busy just keeping up with life, we haven’t been putting our relationship first. While it’s really comfortable and fulfilling in other ways to have days that look like this:
… it’s been sucking all the intimacy out of our lives. I have days that I barely even talk to my husband – and I am at home 24 hours a day, most days. We’re tired. We’re battling colds and permission slips and kids waking up at night. And when you disconnect, it can be really hard to get connected again. What should have been a romantic night away ended up being a disaster, but we had a take-two at home, and put together a romantic night in after putting the kids to bed early. We planned it together, and it helped SO much. Things are looking up again. We aren’t perfect, but at least now we’re hopeful, and we are working better together after seeing where we were headed with our communication misses.
Now, we got this wake-up call loud and clear, and were able to jump on the opportunity to make some changes. But not everyone can relate like that. Some people’s intimacy issues run deeper than ours. Some people have trauma or trust issues. We just had run-of-the-mill communication lapses, but there are a lot of reasons you might need to re-connect with your partner. And the whole reason I’m telling you all this is because if you like diving into the personal, sometimes-messy stories about what it’s like living in a relationship, then WEtv has a new show you might really like! It’s an extreme couple’s therapy show dealing with intimacy issues, called Sex Box.
Whether you’re in a place like we were, and could use a little advice, or if you’re just looking for a new date-night-in show, you can watch real couples air out their issues with an innovative take on couple’s therapy. It’s an edgy premise, for sure – to discuss ways that your emotional connection as a couple is so closely tied to physical intimacy, and to call out sex as an area of conflict. But I think most married couples can attest that when you’re having trouble with one area, it often means the other area is also suffering.
Sex Box cuts right to the chase with couples honestly and openly discussing their sex lives. I’ll spare you those details of my marriage, haha – but I have to be honest, reading about and watching other couples’ struggles makes me feel so much more… normal! You can check out the trailer right here, and see what you think.
Sex Box airs every Friday at 10/9c on WEtv.