Three changes to save a marriage

As time went on and we could see that we had something worth saving, that the marriage could be brought back once more to something that had value for both of us, that we could re-knit our lives together and think about a shared future again, slowly we had to negotiate the way that it would look. It was very important, particularly to my husband, that we did not go back entirely to how things had been before. That way, we both knew, complacency lay, and the possibility of dark things beyond it.

These are the three things that we decided needed to change.

Firstly, I would no longer finish my working day two hours before the school day finished. I had initially kept it that way because I’d had a longer commute in the past, and primary school hours were shorter, but my children were older now and there was no need for me to be on time or even to bring them home from school any more. I had enjoyed my free hour as a time to run, or clean, or cook, but in times gone by I had also used it to meet X, and now it was an unnecessary source of anxiety for my husband – so it went. I was happy enough to spend longer at the office and my income went up slightly, too, because of the increased hours. Happy days.

Secondly, we would go back to spending one night of every weekend together. Nothing so twee as a “date night” – sometimes it was literally just a non-euphmistic Netflix and chill, but it was non-negotiable that we would plan something together, a night out – either on our own or with friends – or a night in, with a film and a takeaway. Something together, though. (A sub-rule that we quickly established for these nights was that we could not, ever, have two bottles of wine. Two bottles of wine led to illogical arguments and accusations and tears and nights spent in separate rooms. But if we stuck to one bottle, and maybe a teeny-tiny extra glass afterwards, we’d be fine, we would have fun). We got to know each other again.

Thirdly, I would learn to delegate a bit. The way I was raised, and the life I have had means that I’m a control freak, and had always been in basic charge of our finances and the way our house had run. Not with an iron rod, and not particularly efficiently, but I had always had my fingers in all of the pies; planning meals, balancing bank accounts, paying bills, buying school supplies, everything. When we separated, of course this stopped, and my husband had discovered that he actually liked the control, enjoyed the being in charge part. He has a lot of management responsibility at work and had always felt secretly piqued that I didn’t apparently trust him with a similar role at home. Now, he told me he wanted in on the action, and I actually quite liked relinquishing control. We went back to our usual shared pot of money, but I no longer had to be in sole charge of where it went, and I discovered that this was an exquisite relief.

And then, we just went on a lot of holidays and tried to have lots of fun together. Make new memories, to replace the tainted ones. That bit is the nice bit. That bit is the bit I can deal with most easily. We can work on that one all the time, it’s a great way to live a life.

Break on through - sunset in Sardinia

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