My husband and I met in the summer of 2017, towards the end of summer break. When he initially slid into my DMs (yes, love was found on social media, in my inbox! You better check those message requests!) he informed me that he went to a different college. At first, I didn’t think anything of it because I wasn’t thinking long term with this man in my messages. If I could go back in time and warn myself of the amount of money I was going to spend on gas, I DEFINITELY would. I’d also go ahead and give her money in advance because I truly was not prepared for the amount of trips I’d make from where I was living then to where I live now.
Fast forward to now, I live almost an hour away from where my college campus is located and a 10 minute walk from where his campus is. I drove an hour and a half to class from the beginning of my junior year to now as I’m entering my final semester of undergrad. My classes were early in the morning to midafternoon while his were midafternoon to late evening. You see where I’m going with this right? We basically never saw each other until the evening when I’m cooking dinner and studying or until we go to sleep. What kind of life is that?!
Jalen and I used to argue with no end in sight because of the lack of quality time. Honestly, we just missed the hell out of each other and did terrible with communicating that effectively. I just wanted to snuggle up with him and he just wanted to be in my presence (when you marry someone you actually like, being around them and doing nothing is SO MUCH FUN.) However, I had to be on the road to my 8am class by 6:30am and because I also take care of my grandmother, I’d stop by after class and do whatever it was she needed. That took however long and I’d be back on the road, best case scenario, about 2pm. If not, then I’d be back on the road home around 6pm or 7pm.
After a long time of being spouse deprived and overall annoyed with arguing, we finally sat down and communicated. The problem was sometimes when I got home, he’d be gone to class and I’d jump straight into schoolwork or cooking and he’d come home while I’m in “go mode;” or the problem was that by the time I’d come home, he’d be too tired from his day so we just go to sleep. No lovings, no talking, just Zzz’s. We hated it so we decided to talk to our mentors and friends and figure out WHAT CAN WE DO?! The answer? Silly date nights!
Sounds so simple, right? The whole thing was that we’d turn doing small things like homework into a date. We’d try to coordinate what time we’d get home, then one of us would pick up food and by the time the other got home, we’d have the house set up to eat and have a study date. We tried cooking together—which is a task on its own because I love to have the kitchen to myself when I cook!—so we can spend quality time with each other that way too. We learned that our mothers have very different cooking styles during that time and found a way to mesh the two without losing the traditionalism of each dish. Another thing we did was yoga or go on mile walks. We’d use this time to catch up and recap how our day or week was. Though nothing could honestly beat snuggles in the bed or a solid, silent hug we made do with what we had.
Here’s the thing about marriage in general: it’s not easy. There is no cookie-cutter way to this thing, okay? Every day you wake up, you fight for your marriage; you make a conscious decision to choose your marriage with each major decision. In college, you have to think about you AND your marriage and sometimes… one of those falls by the wayside. We had to learn to not beat ourselves up and uplift and reassure the other that we’re doing the best that we can; that’s the most anyone could ask of you. You’re trying to balance the decisions needed for self and the decisions needed for your marriage—throw children in the mix and it’s even more difficult.
For clarification, Jalen and I do not have any children; we have a senior dog. However, because the dog is the equivalent of a child in our marriage, we have to factor in his well-being in our decisions too! If you and your significant other are in college but spend NO time whatsoever together and have too many variables, try making everything a date! Even if it’s a trip to the grocery store, it’s a grocery date! Taking out the trash? Talk and trash time! When I say everything, I mean EVERYTHING (if possible, of course. Using the bathroom clearly cannot be a date, unless y’all are into that type of thing. No kink shaming here!)
Do what you can with what you have. Don’t down yourself or your abilities! You’d be amazed at how creative you can get when all you have left is your imagination. Get that imagination station train steamed up and ready to move! You got weird date nights to come up with! (freebie: feel free to message me on Instagram @_ataylorrr and we can brainstorm together!)