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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Relationship Maintenance: Cut the Lights

Well, day four (or is it five?) of the electrical craziness in our house. Unfortunately the power went off permanently yesterday afternoon in half of our house, and repairs are going to be pretty expensive! I'm actually writing this only because I have an extension cord running all the way through the house to my computer. As it turns out though, being forced to "unplug" has not been all that bad.

I've talked before about relationship maintenance and how you can think of it like a car. It doesn't matter how nice your car is, if you don't change the oil now and again, it's going to break down. Relationships are just like that. People don't start their marriages saying "I could have done better" or "This just isn't working out" (hopefully anyways!)... They start them out with promises of love forever. They start them with adoration for one another and the belief that all is well and right in their world and their partner. Fast forward a few years though, and you'll be hard-pressed to find any couples that still have that new-car smell on their love-life, especially if the couple happens to have children or demanding jobs.

There's nothing wrong with losing the honeymooner attitude in a marriage, most couples prefer the deeper, long-lasting love that comes with years of being together. But in this day and age it's getting harder to accomplish that "forever" type of love because it's getting harder to stay together. The causes for this are endless, I could name lots of them off the top of my head, but so could just about everyone else. One cause that a lot of people might name though, would be technology. Now I'm not about to say that technology is evil and that we should all shun it, but I certainly think that it plays its part in calling our attention away from our partners. Last night for me was an excellent wake-up call.

My first thought (after I got over the initial disappointment of not being able to microwave a snack for myself), was "Wow, what am I going to do for the rest of my night?" My husband and I sat around for at least an hour, trying to think of anything that we could do that didn't use electricity. We thought of the obvious thing couples do when the lights go out... but with kids and the rest of our family still awake, that was definitely not an option. It was hard to think of anything to do that didn't involve something with an electric cord, but by the end of the day, we'd had ourselves a great night. Not only did we find things to do that were fun, the things we did made us feel young again - most likely because they were things that we would have done while dating. So here they are, in no particular order:

We watched a movie together on a smartphone. No, we wouldn't have watched a movie on a smartphone ten years ago... but young people on dates tend to sit so close together that they're practically sitting on top of one another. Well, to see the screen on the phone, we pretty much had to do the same thing. So there we were, squished together in the dark watching one of our favorite movies. Sound vaguely familiar? It made me feel like I was on a high-school date (except my dad didn't come in to tell me he wanted the lights on and five inches between me and my guy)!

We went to the store and bought junk-food together. We could only use the stovetop to cook dinner since it was gas, so we had ourselves a college hotplate type of dinner. Ramen noodles anyone? I know they aren't healthy, but they go great with some veggies and canned chicken fried up in a wok with soy sauce and garlic. Dinner was (of course) by candlelight.

We went cruising. That's right. Cruising. Just like before gas became more expensive than groceries. Now with the economy like it is, you might not want to go cruising too far, but there's nothing wrong with taking the car out for a ten-minute spin while you listen to your favorite songs. I don't know what it is about driving at night without a place in mind, but it sure is fun.

We talked about things we have mentioned to each other in forever - like our shared love of writing, which is essentially what we became friends over in the first place. We swapped ideas back and forth, got excited over plot lines (for that book we'll always talk about someday writing), and even considered starting back up a group we had that wrote short scenarios together.

It was an amazing night. I thought I would be bored to tears without the electric on, but I now find myself full of ideas of what else my husband and I can do together. (It's a good thing too since the electric will probably not be fixed for a few more days!) So if your relationship has fallen into a comfortable pattern, shake it up a little bit tonight or tomorrow. Shut the breaker box off for a few hours and tell your sweetie it's all about them. You might just have so much fun that a power outage will be something to look forward to!


  1. Isn't it funny how much we rely on electricity. When reading your blog, all I was thinking about was what this generation of kids would do if they didn't have cell phones, texting and internet (maybe communicate verbally)

  2. we also have a gas top stove here, sure comes in handy when the power goes out, and if the gas goes out too, we have a fireplace luckily... especially in the dead of winter storm season