A friend of mine alerted me about a week or two ago, to a "Staying Connected" marriage workshop on base to take place on a Friday night from 5:30 to 7:30. Dinner would be provided, there would be games, and the whole thing was free. It sounded like a win to me so I signed us up and booked Ben next door to watch the kids.
Tim and I don't get out by ourselves nearly enough. I think the last time was over Christmas when we went out to dinner with Scotty and Faith. We should do this more often. I'd forgotten how much fun it is to try to pick out an outfit that's "casual, so I don't look like I tried too hard.. but a little dressed up .. with just the right jewelry.." I even successfully curled my hair for the first time. I finally found what works -- a curling wand! People, you have no idea what an accomplishment this was for me. I had just told me girls that my goal by age 40 was to learn how to curl my hair. With two years and four months to go, I have achieved it.
We snapped a selfie by the boat dock before going in. As soon as we walked in we were told to go right to the buffet line and get dinner. I liked that -- no messing around, just get your dinner and start eating. I liked where this night was heading.
I knew there was going to be a Newlywed Game - type thing, but in hindsight I really think we should have studied. "What's your favorite color?" "What's our best memory?" "What is it about me that drives you nuts?" Because from the very first question, I knew we were sunk. It was, "What does your spouse know the most about? A) Food Network B) HGTV, C) What Not to Wear, D) DIY network and E) something else I forget. Tim needed to answer the question about me. The problem is I don't watch any of these channels with any regularity, and don't know much about any of the subject matter. But I like Chip and Joanna Gaines, and I know Tim knows that so I wrote HGTV on my little whiteboard. Tim picked Food Network. Boo.
As the game went on and the 14 other couples kept answering questions (many of them correctly!), my anxiety started ramping up. Please let us get one point, just one! There were couples who were so in sync with their answers and as they grinned at each other from across the room I started to feel like, I kind of hate you right now. Then there were a few others who were having the same kind of luck as us, and getting mad at each other. But I couldn't even be mad at Tim for not knowing the correct answer to "What do you wear that drives your spouse crazy?" Nothing he wears really drives me crazy. I wrote down the ratty long-sleeve cotton race shirt he still wears that's 10 years old. I had recently said to him as I was folding it, "I can't believe you still have this." But his answer was, "She hates when I wear my shoes in the house." That's true, but not what occurred to me in that moment. Darn.
We got one lousy point out of a possible eight. The question was, "Which superpower would your spouse want? A) Superman speed, B) Hulk strength, C) x-ray vision, and a couple other things. Initially I wrote down that he would want superman speed, but as the men started saying hulk strength one after another, I changed my answer. We got it. Phew.
There were two couples who did worse than us: one had only been married seven months, and the other was missing the husband until the last five minutes of the game. I can't even tell you how uncomfortable this was. We kept shooting wide-eyed looks at each other, like 'WTH!'
There was only one answer I was peeved at Tim for not getting right: the one about my ideal date night. The possible choices were A) Picnic and bike ride, B) Pizza and move, C) Candlelight dinner, D) something else and E) Going to bed early. I had just been telling him as we were getting ready to go out about how I missed our date nights in. The kids would go to bed at 7, and actually go to sleep then too, it was amazing. He'd cook a delicious better-than-restaurant quality dinner and we would eat it by candlelight at the kitchen table. It was like all the best parts of going out to a restaurant without worrying about driving, parking, being disappointed by an expensive meal, finding a babysitter, etc. He picked something about comfy clothes and wine -- both things I like! -- just not the best of the choices given. He was like, crap.
It was safe to say that even though we had arrived that night with no tension in our relationship, it was now thick in the air and all around us. The one thing this workshop was missing was alcohol, and I could have really used a drink. I'm sure I wasn't the only one.
The toughest question of all was one that most couples could not agree on an answer to. It was, "What did he do that made you laugh the hardest?" Oh, man. So like I said, nearly everyone was getting it wrong, even the adorable Couple Number 1 who had gotten almost everything right. That should have made me relax. But the wife half of that couple told the cutest story about how she had had an allergic reaction to something, and had itching, and sent him out to get her something and he'd come back with Preparation H. Her husband laughed about that and then revealed his answer that was something else equally hilarious. And it went on, with every couple sharing some really funny thing he'd done that made them laugh. And although Tim makes me laugh on the regular, I could not think of one good story. There was not one good story. With us it's all inside jokes, 'you had to be there' kind of stuff.
I racked my brain as it came closer to my turn, and the best I could come up with was, "Tim and I laugh about a lot of things that make sense only to us. One thing I could think of is that we like to tease each other about how "I only started dating you because you slept under my porch all night." But I butchered the whole explanation and Tim tried to help me. The line was from the movie Up and it was, "I was hiding under your porch because I love you. Can I come in?" Tim's answer: "I have no idea."
I felt considerable relief when that game was over. Then the leader passed out booklets for us to write answers to questions about ourselves and our marriage in. I found myself stumped by all of them, and I think Tim felt the same way. We kept sneaking looks at each other's answers. But there was to be no grade! And no sharing of any of the answers, so I just crumpled it up inside my purse at my first opportunity.
After that there was a Valentine themed craft for us to do, and it is the cheesiest, but kind of fun. In the example she showed us, the 'V' in love was supposed to be someone's footprints. But adult footprints are not cute, amiright? Most of us quickly figured out there was no way for a handprint and two footprints to fit on this canvas. Everyone did their own thing instead, and here's what we did. Our handprints, one on top of the other. Aw...
We got a little more than we bargained for with this date night, but we'll probably do something like this again. It was fun overall even if some parts were a little painful. We are going to study each other like crazy for the next time so we can be the nauseating couple who know everything about each other. Smooches and high-fives, lol!