Too Many Things Have Come Between Us. (Let's Go Back to the Way We Were.)

Letter #1


This morning, you had already left for work and I began to think about the way things were when we first got married and decided to jot down my thoughts while my head was still clear. We were so much in love, then, we couldn't wait to get home after work and tell each other everything that happened that day. I remember how we were both so interested in all the little details of our workday stories and how we would laugh over the smallest thing. The simplest meal was a feast to us and we needed very little to make us happy. We usually spent our evenings at home chitchatting, cuddling, and making love. Afterwards, we would just fall asleep in each other's arms. Back then we understood what the Hollies meant when they sang, "Sometimes, all I need is the air that I breathe and to love you." When I think about us now, it doesn't seem possible that our love could have changed so much in a few years.

The details of my workday aren't so interesting to you anymore and, I confess, I'm not too interested now when someone at your office gives notice or is starting a new romance. More often than not, you're too tired to cook a decent meal after work (not that I blame you) and you know I was never very handy in the kitchen. Unfortunately, boxed macaroni and cheese has lost its appeal for both of us. To make things worse, our schedules aren't in sync anymore and often we have to eat alone. It's obvious that the magic is going out of our love, too, because lately you just turn away when I get into bed. I remember when our love life could have rivaled the 4th of July fireworks, but even that has changed.

I want you to know that one thing hasn't changed. I still love you and I always will; I hope you still love me too. That's really all we need to begin to turn things around and get back to the way we were. Let's look at everything that has come between us and decide what we should keep and what we should get rid of.

First of all, we are both working too many hours. I know you think so, too, because not long ago you mentioned that you had the option to work four days a week instead of five. I really didn't listen then, but perhaps you could still take the shorter schedule if you wanted to. I could stop working overtime, as well. Wouldn't it be great if we could get back to having dinner together again? I could help by trying my hand as chef and learning to cook a few meals a la Martin.

I know we were hoping to put a down payment on a house soon, but what good is a house if the price we pay is a broken marriage? Owning a home can still be a major goal for us, but we could slow down a little in our pursuit of it. If our work schedules weren't so demanding, we could spend more time with each other--the way we did in the beginning when our love was the most important thing in the world.

We could find other ways to simplify our lives, too. For example, I don't need to be on the computer so long in the evening or be glued to the sports channel, either. If I took more notice of the beautiful woman I married, she probably wouldn't be talking to her friends on her cell phone so much, or going out with them so often, either. We've let other important things slip through the cracks, as well. We need to reinstate our weekly date night and start taking those long walks in the cool of the evening that we used to enjoy so much. We need to get to know each other again, Lucy, and we need to start spending quality time with each other to do that.

As a first step, I propose we mark the beginning of the new "old" us by getting away this holiday weekend and leaving all the distractions behind--including the computer, the TV, and both cell phones. I've made reservations at that little resort in the mountains where we honeymooned a few years ago. It will be beautiful this time of year, as well as peaceful and quiet. We can relax and talk and have the time and energy to make all the love we're in the mood for.

Let's pack our bags and load the car with plenty of relaxing CDs, including your favorite Josh Grogan album and my Harnoy cello sonatas. Please come with me so we can rediscover the magic that brought us together in the first place. I want to remember what it was like when all I needed was the air that I breathed and to love you.

I look forward to seeing you tonight.

Letter #2


I was just thinking about the "good old days," back when we were students in grad school. Back then we had no time, no money, no possessions to speak of, and yet those were the happiest days I've ever known. Though we had to steal moments between work and classes and studying, we made time back then for us. Do you remember? We spent every second together that we could. Even if it was a few minutes in the library, a quick meal at the cafeteria, or (on rare occasion!) an actual evening together, we made the most of what we had.

We were so close back then. We used to share everything with each other--our successes, our failures, our fears, our dreams; we told each other everything. We had such big plans back then, do you remember? After we were done with school we were going to "settle down" and raise the perfect "2.3" kids, complete with the family dog and the white picket fence.

Well, things haven't exactly worked out the way we thought. Our one-bedroom condo isn't exactly the home we dreamed of in suburbia, and everything else seems to have been put on hold, as well. No dogs, no kids, and definitely no settling down. We're just as busy now as we ever were, and we're definitely not giving very much time to each other. Between all the charity organizations and various committees meetings that I attend, and with your vigorous climbing of the never-ending corporate ladder with its 18-hour workdays, we barely see each other anymore. As I once heard someone say, it seems like "You do your thing, and I do mine, and sometimes we meet in the bedroom."

I don't want things to continue this way. What has happened to us? We've let life come between us, I think. But I hope--I believe--that we can turn things around. I love you; you're still the most important thing in my life, and I'm sorry that I haven't always acted as if you were. So, I'm going to put us first again, because we're worth it. I'm going to stop giving so much time to my committees and clubs, and I'm going to be home a lot more in the evenings. With the hope that, if I'm home, it will entice you to come home, as well.

Just think. We could start taking our long walks in the evenings again, and go star-gazing sometimes (I know how much you said you missed doing that), and just have quiet dinners at home. We can start going out again to the theater and the ballet, and we could play tennis together on the weekends and go for Sunday drives like we used to. Picnic lunches up the canyon, bike rides through the city--we used to have so much fun together. With a little effort and planning, we can start doing all those things again.

Why don't we begin to rekindle the romance in our relationship? Maybe we could start by going back to that quiet little inn up the canyon that you took me to a couple of summers ago. Remember what a great time we had there? We could take a long weekend and go canoeing and hiking again and, most importantly, just spend some time together, away from e-mail and cell phones and pagers. What do you say?

Hope you get home soon.

Letter #3


Maybe you've sensed that I've been a little distant lately. I guess I've felt a certain sadness--maybe it's regret--when I think back on our relationship. When did it start to slip away from us? I've tried, but I can't recall a specific moment. Perhaps it's been a lot of little moments.

We used to play Frisbee baseball after work. Do you remember? Laughing was easy then. We couldn't wait to see each other--kissing and hugging were synonymous with greeting. We had lots to say--all the details of our day, secrets, and amusing gossip. We would pass each other love notes in our lunch sacks. Now, we struggle to be civil with each other; intimacy is on a schedule like taking out the trash; we don't hug; the notes to each other are reminders to pick up milk and cereal at the grocery store.

The hardest part for me is knowing that I still love you. I don't know how to reverse the process, but I believe we can do it. Somehow, we must make our relationship the priority, not just a priority. As I've spent the last few days pondering "us," I have come to the conclusion that I want to fight back and make things better. I know we can't turn the clock back, but we can start at this point and get back to the way we were. It's time for spring cleaning, and I'm ready to begin throwing out the garbage. For example, our careers have become our lives--we bring the office home with us. I think we don't realize how much work dominates our conversations. And what happened to our weekend dates? We went out more when we were broke than we do now. Is it possible that we have stopped enjoying each other's company? We used to fix up the house together, cook together, take walks together--we used to discuss political viewpoints and read biographies together. When did it all stop?

I know we can save this relationship if we just put forth an effort to get back to these wonderful things we shared. It wouldn't be so hard, would it? I mean, it's not as though we have to learn any new skill; we just need to start doing what we used to do. We just have to try. I don't want to lose you, but I see red flags everywhere. We can't be so blind as to ignore the fact that relationships cannot endure this kind of neglect and still remain intact. Could we start trying to turn back the clock now?

Let's celebrate our new beginning by getting away this weekend. We have always loved the mountains. I have reserved a cabin by the lake. We'll agree not to take our work with us or make any mention of it. I'm bringing our photo album and the camera. I want to hold you in my arms and recall all the wonderful memories we've made over the years. I want to take pictures of you and this beautiful trip so that we can make new memories.

We once knew how to love each other. We just need to remember what it was like. I know it will all come back to us.

I look forward to seeing you tonight.

Letter #4


Do you remember how things used to be? We couldn't say hello or goodbye without a kiss. Sometimes we'd grab our coats and hats and take long walks around the city, holding hands and talking about almost everything. We'd jump in the car late Friday night and just drive up north to find some romantic bed and breakfast where we could spend the weekend--far away from our jobs, our families, and our real lives. All we wanted was to be together. We loved those weekend trips and we always came back rejuvenated and so much in love.

Things have changed since then. I didn't want them to and I don't think you wanted them to either. It started with small things. You'd come home from work and I'd be busy making dinner and forget to kiss you hello. At some point we decided that it was too cold to take long walks around the city and that it would be better just to stay home, but it seems all we talk about now is the weather and what needs to be done. And it's been almost a year since our last weekend trip. What happened?

I love you so much and I want those days back. I want to talk and share everything with you again. I know that your job has gotten a lot busier and that promotion you received came with increased responsibility. Our weekend trips might not be as spontaneous as before, but we could plan a week or two in advance. We could bundle up a little and plan a walk on a night when you will be getting home fairly early. Or maybe we could go to the mall and hold hands while we talk and window shop. That would keep the cold out of the equation. We could start new traditions, too. Perhaps I could greet you one night with a bubble bath and join you and wash your back.


What I'm trying to say is that I love you. I want this relationship to work; I don't want it to fizzle and die. I'm willing to fight to get it back so it will at least resemble the way it was before, before we let jobs and routines get in the way of remembering why we loved to be together.

I've got a surprise for you. Remember our favorite bed and breakfast? The one that had the enormous fireplace and the beautiful canopy bed? I've made reservations for next weekend. That gives us both time to settle other responsibilities so we can get away and start to reignite the passion and love that we are losing.

I love you.