We have the awesome privilege of getting away together as a couple to speak around the country on the topic of marriage. We love what we get to do, but even so, as we are surrounded by 500-1500 people, we are not alone! We love that we have various ministries in which we are involved, but often we have to divide and conquer (one staying home/one going) in order to be a part of the event. Very seldom is it just us—Joe and I alone.
Our son is now 36 years old and with special needs such that he can be alone for a short while, but not for hours and hours and certainly not for overnight or a weekend. Because of that, it limits some things we can (or can’t) do. Example:
- It’s difficult to meet friends for dinner if the plans are too far away, because it would take too long to get home if we needed to. (If we are out, even for a walk, we have taught Joey how to use a phone on which he can press REDIAL and call us! Usually, it’s to tell us the score of a game he’s watching or a game he’s playing, but on occasion he has also expressed—in his limited vocabulary—that he’d like us to come home from time to time.)
- We can’t get away alone as a couple, like our empty-nester friends, whether it be for an overnight, a weekend, or a week’s vacation, unless we plan to have Cindi’s sister Sue or one of our daughters care for Joey.
Furthermore, even on the home front, there are things that are a challenge for just us:
- Sometimes we can’t listen to a radio, YouTube, or a television program because our son has a need, and that need is right now.
- There are times we hope (and make plans) to be sexually intimate and it’s that time our son decides to wake up and come to our room—later at night or earlier in the morning isn’t of his concern!
- There are times we want to talk—just us—but we have to put it on hold because our son is requesting or needing for us to do something with or for him.
We have recognized that this is our life and for the most part we very much enjoy it; knowing life with him is richer in so many ways, and we wouldn’t want to change it. But there is a reality that is laced in a bit of sadness when we’d like to get away just the two of us, and we can’t. It’s not the end of the world, but like all couples, we like and need that just us time.
For all of us in this boat of life, we need to take the time when we can (even if it’s not often) to get away, do something special, and get to know each other again! I know it’s not easy. I know it sometimes takes a lot of time to plan it and have it actually happen, but for the sakes of our marriage, we need to try!
We are most grateful that there are people who have, can, and do help us to get those times away, and when we do, we enjoy uninterrupted time alone: just us!