By Kenneth Stepp
Routines are important in any relationship. I was with my wife for 24 years. All the planning beforehand, the dating, getting to know the idiosyncrasies and personalities that drove both of us. Everything we built together, and the life we made with our children came crashing down in one decision…. I’m leaving.
We built US over the years. We built businesses, raised kids, bought houses, went on vacations and had a fulfilling and busy life together. So what happened? First, I have asked myself that a lot over the years. Do you recall how you felt the day after 911 happened and those towers fell? I knew something big happened but never fully understood what. That’s how I have felt for the past 9 plus years.
We lived together and I remember discussing what our priorities would be after we were married. A habit that became a priority that we promised ourselves was date night. No matter how busy we both were during the week, Friday night was date night. We had 4 favorite eateries back then. We would have a meal and talk about our week, goals, and life together. It was a relationship builder but to us it was a fun night out.
Over the years with running a house, managing kids, me running multiple businesses, etc, priorities changed.It was subtle. I don’t remember the first date night we canceled but looking back I can see where we allowed things to push date night much lower on the priority list. Events, games, meetings, and the like simply had to be done. After all, I had to make a living and those kids were not going to raise themselves.
As I think back with regrets of how it all ended I am left empty inside. You can find another mate, partner, or someone to date. But you can never replace someone you invested that much of your life into. The phrase, That ship has sailed comes to mind. Date night was part of the glue that held us together.
Date night was when we communicated while relaxed, we were free from responsibilities for a brief time. Date night was about us, not our kids, business, work, house, or others. It was just us. Date night was our platform or stage where we could just be free with one another. Date night grew our bond even stronger. It was water and sunlight to the flowers that grew in our garden.
We allowed things that as I look back, were not important enough to take the place of something that was. We failed in our relationship because we failed to keep us as a priority. We were successful, young, and energetic. Today we are none of those things and both of us are alone. If I was searching for a win in this I would not find one. Having the kids in multiple activities and building our business larger seems like silly trade offs today. The business is gone and the kids are grown.
Life lessons are so costly. Not allowing them to teach us is even more costly. We learn through pain. I have always learned from losses. In my future my relationship with my forever love, we will be the most important relationship in my life. The deeper the cut the bloodier the wound. The harder the lesson the stronger the resolve to not repeat it.
If you fall in love again, remember my story. Remember my lesson. My failure will be the reason I will succeed, yours can be too. Remember what’s important. I have no tattoos but if I did I would have these words on my skin, “The urgent screams but the important whispers”
Good luck on your journey my friend…