Maybe it’s been a few years; you’re not new to this parenting thing any more. In fact, there’s a good chance you’ve settled into a nice routine that involves sleeping in occasionally and even getting out of the house without the kids once or twice a month. Yay, you’re getting your life back! And you know what that means? Your kids are growing up.
Or, possibly, you’re divorced.
One of the most common side effects of becoming a parent is becoming at least somewhat distant from your spouse. There’s nothing sinister about this; it’s just the way things work, right from the moment your first child is born. It’s the logical outcome of the presence in your home of another person — a demanding, high-maintenance person whom you must feed and constantly cater to. And even after your mother-in-law leaves, there’s still the baby.
So yes, there may be times when you long to return to that same intimate relationship with your spouse. Problem is, there may be just as many times when you look across the dinner table and think to yourself, “Who is that?” This is especially likely to happen on days when you are so exhausted that you’ve accidentally walked into the wrong house.
Top relationship experts say it’s important to ensure the everlasting union with your spouse remains based on the love and respect of one human being caring passionately for another human being, and not the love and respect of one human being caring for another human being simply because he emptied the Diaper Genie. Which brings us to the guts of this exercise.
Parents of a certain age will remember The Newlywed Game.
It was a television game show on which newly married couples would attempt to win exciting prizes and let an international TV audience know the precise coordinates of where last they had sexual intercourse. The unspoken truth of The Newlywed Game? It was pretty easy. The contestants had only recently been married, and most didn’t have children. They spent all of their time together, which greatly increased the chances of matching answers to such gripping questions as: Does your spouse prefer waxed or non-waxed dental floss?
Our Not-So-Newlywed Game boasts a higher degree of difficulty. It’s a quiz designed to gauge how much you and your spouse still know about each other: Have you remained as intimate as ever, or should either of you, on your next encounter, politely ask to see some ID?
All you need in order to play the Not-So-Newlywed Game is a pen or pencil. Depending on your results, you may also need a place to sleep tonight.
Give yourself one point for each answer that correctly matches that of your spouse. (Just one note: We use the term “spouse” throughout the quiz. We mean for the word to cover all its potential synonyms, including partner, life partner, significant other, pelvic companion, ball ’n’ chain, dorko, etc.)
1. What is your spouse’s favourite...? Non-alcoholic drink Television show Flavour of ice cream Baldwin brother Non-verbal way of conveying displeasure with you (Note: One point per question)
2. Which excuse does your spouse use most frequently? I forgot. You forgot. I forgot that you didn’t remember. Repeated utterances of: No hablo inglés, señor/señora!
3. Look at your spouse: How long has he/she been wearing those relaxed-fit pants?
4. What did you give your spouse for your most recent anniversary? (Note: Participants who answer, “Seven of the most enjoyable minutes of the day, heh heh,” or words to that effect, must deduct two points — even if it’s true. Especially if it’s true.)
5. Which is more likely to drive your spouse insane? Repeated playing of The Wiggles Repeated viewings of Bob the Builder Repeated viewings of The Wiggles performing the same songs you just heard them sing on the CD Repeated reminders that, according to the perverse laws that govern our society, if you were to punch each of The Wiggles in the face, it would be you who’d be arrested
6. When was the last time you were up past midnight together outside the house? (Not including trips to the drugstore, the ER or to retrieve a child from a sleepover gone bad.)
7. What euphemism does your spouse use most often to describe a child’s feces?
8. Name three people at your spouse’s workplace whom your spouse thinks are jerks. (If your spouse works from home, name three people in your workplace whom she/he thinks are jerks.)
9. Quick: What colour are your spouse’s eyes? (Note: If you are parents of very young children, your spouse’s eyes are, of course, red. What colour did they used to be?)
10. Where is the strangest place you’ve had sex since you’ve had children? In the laundry room In someone else’s laundry room In the car, with the clock running on the babysitter who is waiting unwittingly inside In a jail cell, after being arrested for having sex in the car with the clock running on the babysitter In bed
11. When, precisely, was the last time you and your spouse had a conversation that wasn’t about soccer practice or whose turn it is to return the overdue Franklin video?
12. When was the last time you and your partner made love? Last night Last week Last month ...um, made love? That’s sex, right? Sorry, it’s been a while.
13. If your spouse were able to change one thing about herself/himself, what would it be? Looks Career His/her clothes if only there were time Spouse
14. What would your spouse say is more romantic? A picnic at the beach as the sun sets over the ocean A homemade dinner served by candlelight A quiet table at a fancy restaurant For once in your life not pretending you’re still asleep after the kid starts crying at 3 a.m., you lazy oaf
15. If you walked into a multiplex where the following films were playing, which would your spouse go to see first?
The English Patient
16. If your spouse were lost while driving in a foreign city, he/she would most likely: Pretend not to be lost Stop and ask for directions Stop and buy a map Find a way to blame you
17. If presented with the following options, which would your spouse select? Aisle or window Toilet seat left up or down Leno or Letterman Latte or espresso A shopping spree at Canadian Tire or Victoria’s Secret Dog or cat The West Wing or Elimidate An evening spent in the company of family or old university pals in a pub watching reruns of Seinfeld, drinking every time Jerry says “Newman” Minivan with round and square cup holders or sports car with spoiler and tinted glass (Note: Half point per question; five points maximum)
18. If your spouse had to name a reality TV show that sums up your marriage, he/she would choose:
19. For the men: What size bra does your wife wear? For the ladies: What size waist and inseam does your husband need for pants? For the ladies who are married to a certain type of man: What size bra does your husband wear alone at home after you go to work?
20. Who is at the top of your spouse’s Celebrities I’d Have Sex With list? Jennifer Aniston Brad Pitt Kim Possible Bob the Builder
Rate Your Score (Maximum is 28)
21–28: Uncanny You know your spouse better than you know the back of your hand. In fact, you probably know the back of your spouse’s hand better than you know the back of your hand. You’re kind of freaking us out, frankly...
14–20: Solid Even with the demands of the kids, you’ve still managed to find time to stay in touch with your spouse.
7–13: Sketchy Very sketchy. Here’s an idea: When your spouse opens his/her mouth and, you know, says stuff, maybe listen every now and then. Just thinking out loud here.
0–6: And you are? You know those “Hi, My Name Is” sticker tags? You might want to buy ’em in bulk. Wear a fresh one every morning to avoid the potential awkwardness that comes with your spouse barely knowing your name.