Plane travel used to be so glamorous. Even when I was younger, I flew very rarely and it was always special. I felt excited and made an effort with my appearance. But plane travel has changed. If anything, it is now the opposite of glamorous. Everyone is flying, in their sweat pants, in their pyjamas. There are long lines and even those who get dressed have to undress at security. It is a different experience.
So when I planned for a recent trip, I took out my old T-shirt and my threadbare skirt. Who cares what I look like? I'm going to be squished beside someone. When I try to eat, the crumbs will probably cover my lap. The whole flight will be draining and unpleasant. Why bother? I packed the clothes for my trip and left the shirt and skirt out for morning wear. I was organized and prepared.
Then morning came. As I was about to slip the T-shirt over my head, I stopped and thought a minute. Who am I traveling with? The answer was not the two hundred and something other passengers on the plane (although I should always try to make a good impression on everyone). The real answer was my husband. On the other side of me (where the stranger is not taking up half my seat) he would be sitting. Do I really want him looking at me in my ratty old T-shirt for the next six hours? Is that really putting my best foot forward in my marriage?
It wasn't about the lack of glamor, the potentially rude stewardess or the garrulous passenger in the window seat. It was about him. And for him, I always want to look my best.
I folded up my old T-shirt and stuck it back (way back) in the closet. I put the skirt on a hanger and did likewise with it. Then I pulled out a nicer outfit and the jewelry to match. I dabbed on some makeup and I was ready to go. Yes, the makeup (what little there was) would be off by the end of the flight. Yes, my nicer skirt would probably still have crumbs on it (and maybe even some spicy mayo from the sushi we brought for lunch!). Yes, I would be exhausted and drained and not looking my best by the time we landed. But that wasn't the point. By changing my outfit I was giving a message to my husband: You are important to me. You are actually the most important to me. I want to look nice for you. It's worth some sacrifice and discomfort to achieve this.
I think he heard me loud and clear (although I did have to mention that I dressed up for him!).
But of course this doesn't apply only when we travel. This lesson applies all the time, day in and day out. I should try to look my best for him, no matter what I looked like ten minutes before he got home. This is my responsibility.
It is so difficult. I know that at the end of a long day, I just want to put on my robe and relax. Clothing can be so restrictive and uncomfortable. But I don't, because my comfort isn't the primary goal here. The message to my husband is. You are the most important to me. And even though I'm tired, grumpy, overwhelmed, I never want to stop telling you that. I never want to stop giving you and our marriage the attention it deserves. (Is it okay if I draw the line at those super long flights from Los Angeles to Israel?)