Once in a while I'll hear David talking about his work day and the phrase "he was bound over" comes up. Lots of legal terms swirl around David's world. Bound over basically means a defendant has been taken into custody until the court proceedings are completed. Or something like that.
Once Dave and I were bound over. Not in the courts of law, however. For his birthday one year, decades ago now, I had given Dave a Marriage Enrichment weekend. I know, I know, you say…"Wow, I'll bet he loved that gift!" And it is true, as they said at the opening meeting on the weekend, there is usually a dragger and a dragee in these types of gatherings. Dave was the dragee.
Let me first clarify that we were not necessarily having struggles in our marriage. I just felt that this union was something that needed more focus than we were able to give it with four munchkins running around. So mom watched the kids and off we went to the Hilton Hotel out by the airport.
First thing we did was meet in a conference room and introduce ourselves to the rest of the group. There were maybe 30 couples there, and a handful of facilitators/leaders/directors. We started off with a bang. Dave introduced me by saying I was the most wonderful woman he knew. Then I introduced him by saying that he was the most honest man I knew. Chuckle, chuckle from the crowd. The sad thing is that I was being truthful in saying that Dave is the most honest man I know and I hadn't even thought about that sentence following his words about me. Anyway….
Next thing our facilitators told us was that we needed to remove our watches, because time didn't matter for the next two days, and that we must not leave the hotel under any circumstances. They would contact us if there were any emergencies. These were the days before cell phones. Also, we were asked not to watch the TVs in our rooms. This was a time for introspection and exchange. So we dutifully removed our watches. We participated in various exercises that helped with communication and understanding the Mars versus Venus aspects of males and females. Parts of it were hokey. Parts of it were wonderful. And we learned some really powerful tools to use when we communicate with each other. Things like Rules of Fair Fighting, and respectfully communicating. We learned to listen better, and to write our thoughts and feelings rather than just spilling them out. Some great stuff we still use, and should probably dust off and use again. Finally we were released to go to our rooms for the night, where we were given homework assignments. Dave and I obediently retreated to our hotel room. We opened our notebooks and discoursed and discussed. It was great. I felt understood. And I think he did too. So then we closed our little spiral notebooks and stared at each other. We looked smack into each other's eyes, moved closer, nose to nose. I softly opened my lips and said:
"Lets get out of here!"
We found our watches and strapped them to our wrists, then snuck out the patio door, hopped into our old Toyota Corona and drove to the nearest store where we bought two pints of Haagen-Dazs ice cream: Vanilla Swiss Almond and Chocolate. We found two plastic spoons in the deli section of the store.
Back at the hotel we snuck back in through the patio door, slipped into our PJ's, switched on the TV and sat in bed. By then the ice cream was the perfect consistency. We sat there watching TV with our watches on and traded off the pints of ice cream until they were empty and our bellies were full.
Next morning we participated in all they offered us and were grateful for the education. By that night we had a bunch of new friends and had joined what they called an Image Group, a cluster of friends we met with monthly for the next few years. I still hold that group of friends very close to my heart.
Still, after all these years, the sweetest memory for me is that escape. That adventure made us partners in crime. And we were united by it.
Last night, after I took Dave out for his birthday dinner and a movie, we stopped at the store for Sunday dinner supplies. We had to go to a second store because Dave said he wanted something and the first store didn't have it. "You'll see," he responded when I asked what he was looking for. Finally at Smiths, he walked up to the cart with his two-fisted treat: Two pints of Haagen Dazs. Vanilla Swiss Almond and Chocolate.
I'm so happy to be bound to this man!Happy Birthday, partner.