I remember hearing once that, at some point during every marriage, there will come a time when you will look at your spouse and want to gouge their eyes out. The important thing is to not let this discourage you too much because, if it's a good marriage, this feeling will pass.
Tygh and I like to joke that we must be in a really good marriage because we have each experienced the passing of this feeling many a time.
I love when people tell you that marriage is work; it's at once reassuring and maddening. You are heartened to hear it, because it's kind of like a confession; clearly, no one is living some perfect marriage just because they married their "soul mate." But, it's also very very frustrating. Because, as it turns out, we have job work, and housework and kid work, and self work (I'm talking basic hygiene here) and at the end of the day, my marriage is the part of my life that, in my head, should be this easy, no-brainer, didn't-I-already-work-to-land-this-guy-20-years-ago part.
Obviously, the real problem is time. We just don't have the time to stare longingly into each other's eyes over a bottle of wine on a Friday night while we chat about world events and play the Bucket List game. When we wake up early on a Saturday morning, we are not thinking about staying under the covers and rolling about together; we are hashing out what we can get done before the kids get up. There just aren't enough hours in the day to brush my teeth AND prioritize my marriage.
(As an aside, Tygh and I LOVE to play the BC game. You know: what did we DO Before Children? Like, all day on a Saturday. Did we just sleep a lot? I honestly don't remember what went on with all that free time. I DO remember, however, that all we had to worry about was school, grocery shopping [this has always been a big focus for us] and each other. We didn't have to work on our marriage because it was basically all we did).
So what to do? I know there are dinner dates and get-aways, but marriages are not maintained on a night out per month or a 3-day weekend per year. We need more.
I don't have an answer for you here - this is one of those "here is a problem with no solution" posts. I take heart that nearly all of my besties have described feeling similarly. And I also know that, even when we are screaming our heads off at each other, we are in this thing together. As an uncle of mine used to say when his son (now in his 20s) was crying his way through his first 2 years of life, "Well, isn't this a nice little piece of hell we have carved out for ourselves?" Haha. Yup. But it's OUR hell. And maybe that's what keeps us married until we have time to BE married again.
Now, about that dinner date...
Poulet Au Vinaigre
This recipe is from the New York Times from a few years back. It's good for date night or company because you can do the whole thing ahead of time and reheat and serve as needed. Plus, it's really different - tangy and satisfying. The original recipe calls for a whole load of cream which I reduced significantly and love just the same. Serve with your favorite grain. P.S. Sorry about the picture here; I'm an eater, not an artist.
2 Tblsp grapeseed or vegetable oil
3-4 pounds chicken breasts, bone in, skin on (or any chicken parts you like)
3 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large white onion, finely chopped
2 shallots finely chopped
1 Tblsp all-purpose flour
4 roma tomatoes, skinned, seeded and finely chopped
2 cups dry white wine
1 cup red or white wine vinegar
3/4 cup chicken stock
2 sprigs fresh tarragon (or 1 tsp dried), plus extra for garnish
1/2 tsp dried thyme
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 c cream
1. Heat oil in large Dutch oven (one big enough to hold all your chicken) over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add chicken and brown well on all sides, 3-4 minutes per side. Set aside on plate and tent with foil to keep warm
2. To the same pan, add garlic, onions and shallots and saute over medium low heat until transparent but not browned, 8 minutes or so. Sprinkle with flour, then add tomatoes, wine, vinegar, stock, tarragon, thyme and salt and pepper to taste. Mix together and bring to a low, rolling boil over medium heat.
3. Return chicken pieces and juices to pan, returning heat to low medium low and cook, partially covered, until chicken is tender and cooked through, about 45 minutes.
4. Remove chicken pieces. Add cream and cook, stirring occasionally over medium low heat, for about one hour. Pass sauce through fine mesh sieve or strainer. Add more salt and pepper, if needed. Return chicken and sauce to pot and place over medium heat to warm, five minutes or so. (See notes 1 and 2 below)
5. To serve, arrange chicken species over favorite grain and spoon over sauce, sprinkling with extra tarragon. (See note 3)
1. I don't strain the sauce - I like the chunky bits, but do as you will!
2. Can be made through step 4 and refrigerated up to a day ahead. Gently rewarm over low heat before serving, careful not to boil or dry out your chicken.
3. I use bone in, skin on chicken breasts to cook, but then remove skin and bone and cut on the bias into 3/4" thick slices to serve. This can make for really lovely presentation and is easier to eat, IMO.