Rashika Robert’s marriage was stalled, but thanks to a surprise ally and some deep conversation, she and her husband found a new normal and new happiness.
In college I was absolutely the shyest, most quiet person, only speaking when spoken to; then came along a young man who needed help in literature. This was fantastic for me, because this was my favorite subject and he was so gorgeous. So I knew I wouldn’t mind spending long evenings in the library. We would study for a while and gaze at each other a little.
Study dates turned into lunch dates. Lunch dates turned into weekend nights out to our favorite place to dine, Taco Bell! At the time, that was the best that we could afford and I am not one to complain. The dates finally influenced a full on relationship. We were inseparable. Friends began to joke about us never spending time with them and always spending time together.
So Rodney, my husband had a plan to free both of us from all of the campus chaos. He got a job, an apartment and fully furnished it. Then one Friday evening we had planned to go out for dinner. When I walked outside, he was in front of my dorm on one knee. First I cried and then I told him to please get up. Being that I was only 19, I didn’t realize this wasn’t supposed to be an embarrassing moment. Finally I answered him saying YES!
A year later we were married with a beautiful daughter. Eight years later the family got bigger. We were now, not only responsible for ourselves but for our three daughters. Our lives were extremely busy with all of our children being four years apart, going in three different directions. To maintain a household of five I had to give up my job as a stay at home mom and return to work. Honestly, this made me a little upset and resentful.
My husband and I were only spending time together at dinner. It wasn’t long before we adapted to this routine. It was our new normal. We even neglected the opportunity to spend time together on weekends. My husband chose that time to catch up on work and I took the kids out to give him a peaceful place to work.
I began to miss adult conversations so I joined a few meetup groups in my area, such as WGOT, Poetry writing and Creative Writing. I still felt like something was missing. So I took painting classes and dance classes. Although I was really enjoying all of these events, attending them alone was actually making me feel sad; at times I was even upset and annoyed.
I wanted my husband to want to go. I wanted him to ask me while I was getting ready, if I wanted company. But that never happened. I became bitter. I started going to night clubs, bars and karaoke because I absolutely love to sing. I thought since he knew I loved singing he would tag alone. Again he never asked.
I couldn’t figure out why he showed very little interest in what I was doing or what I liked, and never ever complained about me popping in and out. So finally I exploded, judging him for not being a good husband, not paying me any attention, and not caring about me or my interests. Well this wasn’t the best way to get his attention.
My explosion backfired. He really began to withdraw. We did more family night outs, but didn’t speak at the table. We went on more family trips, but communication was limited. Boy was I really starting to wish I’d kept my mouth closed and my tantrum under control.
My children were old enough to see that mom and dad weren’t very happy and weren’t doing very much as a loving couple. So I started inviting my husband to lunch dates so we could talk, while the children were at school. Fortunately, being in restaurants forced us to speak quietly and refrain from shouting. We were both starting to enjoy the time together and wanted to figure out how to keep it going. But emotionally we were so far apart. Although we discovered that we were very much in love, we couldn’t figure out what to do next or how to get that spark back. So much time had passed. We hadn’t been to the movies in 13 years and on a real dinner date in two and half years.
Well I am writer, I absolutely love to talk and I was determined to do whatever I could to strengthen my marriage. So I wrote in to the Steve Harvey Show. The topic was Date My Man. I informed the producers that my husband and I were very much in love but hadn’t been out together in quite some time. We simply didn’t know what to do as a couple anymore.
They loved and accepted our story and invited us to Chicago for the show taping. In the mean time my husband worked with the staff to plan the best date of my life. I was surprised with a fabulous wardrobe and limo to a beautiful private dinner at the lovely Prosecco in downtown Chicago. There I was greeted by my husband, whom I had not seen for about six hours.
When I entered the room in which Steve Harvey proposed to his wife, there stood the most handsome man in the world. He was in a tuxedo, holding two dozen red roses. I almost fainted; I hadn’t seen him in a suit since our wedding day. After pulling out my chair, he asked me to take a few moments to read the menu.
He had planned with the owner, chef and Steve Harvey staff, a delicious three course meal. Just below the desert, was the sweetest poem written just for me. While I read it, he surprised me with a gorgeous necklace. Then the violins, cello and harp began to play. He did the one thing he swore he’d never do. He asked me to dance. I cried through the entire dance.
For the first time, I had been the center of attention and was swept off my feet. But the surprises didn’t stop there. I was escorted with my eyes closed to a horse and carriage, which took us back to our hotel for the night. The rest was history!!!
The next day we appeared on the show. Once again I was all water works. After being picked on by Steve Harvey, I was able to pull it together and share my story. Steve Harvey informed us that as couples we needed to remember to take time for ourselves. Although it’s great to enjoy family outings, alone time is imperative.
My husband admitted that he had gotten caught up in his work and at times was just too tired to spend time with me. I apologized for being so hard on him. Now we take advantage of our weekends. We go on regular and spontaneous dates. We’ve agreed to participate in each other’s interests.
We realize now that getting married so young we didn’t even know who we were. Since the children came so close after marriage, we had to quickly figure out how to be husband and wife and responsible parents. Unfortunately, neither of those comes with a good book.
Eighteen years later, we have yet a new normal, one with more love, intimacy, understanding, acceptance and communication.
Top photo: Terence Lim/Flickr
Menu courtesy of author
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