An elderly couple were out for a Sunday drive. The woman said, “Look at us. We used to sit right next to each other all of the time. Now you’re way over there and I’m way over here. What happened?” The man said, “I don’t know, I didn’t move.”
I haven’t thought about that joke for a long time although it’s always been one of my favorites. It’s sort of a glimpse into the human condition. Why do we move apart? Do we simply tire of being together, so close, or has it always been that way?
I have a theory. It reminds me of a little girl I overheard at a friend’s wedding. She said, “Mommy, why is the lady wearing white?” Her Mom said, “It’s because white represents happiness, and this is the happiest day of her life.” The little girl said, “Then why is the man wearing black?”
At first, we seem to have no space boundaries, or at least most of us. When we are newlyweds, we sit on the same side of the booth in restaurants. We cuddle together on the couch and watch TV. We hold hands and share refreshments at the movie theater.
Then the children come along and you have to create space for the little ones. For decades. Suddenly, the kids are gone, grown up and you’ve become empty nesters. You’ve grown accustomed to space between the two of you.
So, even if you can, you don’t sit on the same side of the booth anymore. With today’s automobiles, you sit where you sit. You really can’t move the seats from side to side, but you don’t focus your attention on your spouse anymore, which is why we see so many divorces after the kids leave.
So, what am I saying? BLAME THE KIDS! After all, the romance was there before they came along, right? They’re adults now, they can take it. Ok, let’s slow down a minute. Would the kids really have made the difference?
My wife and I have been married for 20 years, have had no children together and still, we sit on opposite sides of the booth and enjoy having quite a bit of alone time. When we were first married, we couldn’t stand the thought of being apart for a few work hours. We would call each other at work, do unexpected romantic things to show our love.
Not anymore. That stuff is long gone. So we make feeble attempts at having a weekly date night. But work, other activities, exhaustion set in and there goes date night.
I think what I’m saying is that things change. It doesn’t mean you no longer care about each other, it simply means… Oh, what the heck do I know? I’ve been married four times. Good luck.