A Strangers Observation and the Necessity of “We Time”

Those of you who are married probably don’t need to be reminded of the importance of “we time”. You know, those date nights, weekend getaways, neighborhood strolls, or whatever it is you and your spouse enjoy doing together.  Not chores. And not kids activities (and that includes adult children). And not with relatives (does that even need to be said?) or even with dear friends.

We time means just the two of you. Just you two.IMG_4351


My hubby and I make an effort to go on little getaways every couple of months or whenever we sense that a little extra “we time” is needed. We’ve been married since 1990 (which has made for easy anniversary math).  And we dated for several years before that. In fact I’ve been married longer than I was single. An interesting milestone.

We have two grown children and have worked together for over 25 years so yes, we do spend a lot of time together but we are also busy with our own hobbies and friends. Hence, the need to carve out “we time”.

Case in point. We recently took a weekend jaunt to one of our favorite weekend jaunt places, Chicago. And this particular weekend we had tickets to a musical. Dinner and a show. A respectable date night indeed!

And this is when a chance encounter with a stranger enlightened me as to how this “we time” looks to the casual observer.

After the musical ended, we were discussing the show as we walked back towards our hotel, not really paying attention to our surroundings. There is a large population of homeless in the city and as we passed a man who appeared to be down on his luck, he stated clearly, with a matter of fact delivery:

Married couple.. been together 25-30 years”.

As if he were some kind of carnival visionary.

It took us a beat to realize that he was talking about us! And he had correctly guessed our marital status. We looked at each other and burst out laughing. He had us pegged! I asked my husband if we really look old enough to be married that long?

And he replied, Yes. Yes, we do. Because, we aren’t that young and we have been married 25-30 years. Truth.


Which got me thinking. Because, I tend to ponder things people say.

What is it that gave us away?

After all, we could have gotten married in our late thirties and have only been married 15 years or so? Or we could have been a couple walking by that wasn’t married? Or maybe we were married to other people? It happens..

Then I started thinking about the man who made the comment. He must observe hundreds, if not thousands of people walking by him day after day. In some way, he’s a social scientist, observing us from his anonymity.

He must notice the way couples interact with each other, their body language, how much they talk. And he somehow extrapolates those micro observations into marital tenure. He observed that 1) we were married, and 2) correctly guessed for how long based on a very brief observation of how we interact.

And you know what? I’m going to take his streetside analysis of us as a sign that we’re doing something right.

Maybe it’s the “we time”.

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