Love’s Labour’s Lost (Or Why Yoga Pants are Bad for Your Marriage)

vintage-wedding-veil“Oh,” my husband recently sighed.   “The yoga pants.”

Sometimes it takes a cataclysmic event to rock your relationship, to make you sit down and take a good, hard look at your emotional surroundings; a serious illness, an extra-marital affair, a trial or a tribulation that must be faced.  Sometimes those head on collisions, those crashes of reality versus expectation, are the tipping point in whether a marriage survives, or whether it bursts into flames on the way down.  Summits are called, G8 meetings of marital accord.  Contracts are pulled out and scrutinized.  They may be renegotiated, they may be declared sound and worthy, they may be declared null and void.  Statistics are on your side, either way.

But sometimes it is not the seismic jolt of matrimonial earth, but a slight shift of a relationship fault line.  Something seemingly inconsequential.  A subtle shift in attitude, an air of difference, an offhand comment.  And sometimes that little something can make you stop dead in your tracks and do an on the ground evaluation.  Nothing requiring lawyers and accords and general assemblies, but a spot check if you will.

Like yoga pants.

What’s not to love about yoga pants?  They are comfortable and marginally more appealing than sweats.  They denote wholesome activity.  If you wear yoga pants people assume you actually do yoga.   They may assume you are the type of person who shops at Whole Foods and limits her wine intake and is at peace.  They may assume your chakras are aligned after watching the sun rise while in warrior pose.  All good things.  The problem is, I don’t do yoga.  And my yoga pants are old.  And they’re from Old Navy.  The only thing differentiating them from sweats is that they don’t have a band at the ankle.  Otherwise, eh….they’re pretty sloppy.

And apparently, as my husband pointed out, they are have become the only clothes he sees me in.

Like so many other couples, my husband and I sometimes struggle to find balance.  Like many families, we play acrobat and try to juggle the interests of our children, ourselves, and each other.  From time to time our relationship is the one that gets put on the back burner, thrown onto the slush pile, pushed back in line for take off while we make time for the kids and increasingly, for our own interests.  In our case, we have the additional burden of being ex-pats.  There is no family around for gratis childcare, babysitting  is expensive, and just when you find a friendly teen who gets to know the kids, she ups and move back home.  All excuses of course, but excuses which, unless you are careful, push the couple time priority down to the bottom of the to-do list:

Bake birthday cake, wash work shirts, call Mom, fill prescription, call dentist, pack lunches, make gynecologist appointment.  Go out to dinner with spouse.


Life is busy.  Life is full of other things to do.  LIfe has a habit of getting in the way.  It’s easy to look at the bigger, overall picture and overlook the details:  I love my husband, he loves me.  We have a good, solid relationship.  We have a good sex life  (sorry, Mom and Mom-in-law).  Sure, he hates talking about finances and I hate nagging him to call his Mother, but overall, it’s a solid 8 out of 10.   It is easy to rely upon that love and comfort with each other and “isn’t-it-grand-that-I-can-hang-around-in-my-boxers-and-stained-tee-shirt-from-college-and-we-still-love-each-other-so-much” kind of thinking.  Until someone calls you out on it.  And you find yourself standing at attention for a spot check.  In yoga pants.

“I never get the best of you any more,” my husband said.  “I get rushing around in the mornings you and I get rushing around to cook dinner and put the kids to bed you. ”  He looked at me.  “And as soon as those yoga pants go on, there’s no way I’m getting anywhere near you.”

At first I was a little taken aback.  Who knew that there was a ‘best of me’, like some Greatest Hits album I wasn’t aware of.  But of course we are not talking about my off-key humming and moves like Jagger.  We are talking about the me that is not rushing through the kitchen making sandwiches and intervening in the great banana breakfast war, or the me that is not dragging my end of the day self to get the kids into bed so I can sit down and catch up on the news.  Or my blog.  Or my knitting.  We are talking about the me that is struck by a thought I want to write about in the middle of the day or the me that has a stimulating conversation with another parent while chaperoning a field trip; the me that laughs over coffee, or sympathizes over lunch, or enjoys a bit of juicy gossip in the school yard.  The best part of me, when I am actually dressed in real clothes.

Max and Celia Lorberbaum wedding ca 1920
Max and Celia Lorberbaum wedding ca 1920

How sad it is that the person I chose to love—not my children who were a gift or my family into which I was born—but the person I met and fell in love with and choose every day to be with, the one person who should be getting the best of me, he is missing out.

Love is being able to be yourself, flaws, warts, grays, chin hairs and all.   Sometimes that self is in yoga pants stuffing its face with chips on the sofa watching Downton Abbey on demand.   And that’s ok.  But not all the time.  I am not advocating waiting by the door in full makeup with the newspaper and a martini while the casserole burns either, but as a friend said, at least make the effort to wipe away any stray mascara from under your eyes when you hear the key in the door.

Yoga pants aren’t really going to ruin your marriage.  But the complacency they represent just might.  Most of us need to break out the dancing shoes a little more.  Even if we’re only dancing in the living room after the kids have gone to bed.

23 thoughts on “Love’s Labour’s Lost (Or Why Yoga Pants are Bad for Your Marriage)

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  1. Well, I won’t even tell you about the marital discord I have weathered this weekend past, owing to a stray piece of lingerie my wife found under the bed and subsequently didn’t recognize as her own. My only defense being that it was so long since she had worn anything other than sweat pants that she had forgotten she owned said item. An argument that happens to be the truth, I might add! Pity me, for I have suffered a fate worse than an overdose of yoga pants. Oh, how the gods must laugh, at the misery they inflict…


    1. That is the funniest thing I have heard/read in a long time. We had a situation once with a long, blonde hair in a place where no long, blonde hair should every appear…come to think of it, it’s never really been explained in full. Who knew that yoga pants could be responsible for so much torment? You must write about the lingerie though, it’s too good a story not to.


  2. With me it’s the colour grey. Women in grey colours(sweaters, cardigans, t-Shirts and yoga pants) turn me off completely, no matter how beautiful or sexy they were before. Makes me wants to run away and throw up. Weird.


    1. My husband won’t tell you this, but he read your comment and wet himself because guess what? I have a ratty gray sweater that goes nicely with the yoga pants. And the slippers…


  3. Don’t forget your free babysitter across the courtyard! I owe you one 🙂 I threw out the yoga pants in the last move… Oh how I miss them!!


    1. Every woman I know loves her yoga pants! I have to say, I am loving my new ‘performance’ sporty pants though too–they are even more comfortable than the yoga pants. And they make me actually want to do some exercise, otherwise I just look like an idiot. Yoga pants when you don’t do yoga is one thing, but walking around in lycra blend when you don’t exercise is beyond even me.


  4. I love this title. I love the words, because I relate. And, of course, I love yoga pants. At least, your husband doesn’t come home from work and find you, bleary at the computer, still in the very ripe yoga pants in which you practiced very hot yoga that morning and never got around to showering because, you know, too many things got in the way.

    Marriage is so hard and so worth it. So, I bought a pair of cashmere pants. Drawstring waist. Same give and wide leg. But, they’re freaking cashmere. MTM cannot complain about dumpiness when I greet him in that fabric, regardless of cut. 🙂


    1. At least you actually practice yoga, Andra! I like the compromise of the cashmere comfy pants. They wouldn’t work for me for 2 reasons: I am too cheap when it comes to buying things like that for myself (remind me to tell you a funny one about the great nursing bra conversation of years gone by), and I would no doubt end up living in the cashmere pants to the point of pilling and stretching and fraying. They would thus become a very expensive version of yoga pants!


  5. I work from home, and I love my cute, not ratty, well-fitting, yoga pants ensembles. Sure, I’ll change into jeans and a blouse–if someone takes me out to dinner! 🙂


    1. Fair enough! (But someone should take you to dinner anyway). It was one of those moments that really made me stop and think, though. It’s like how the kids use up all their good behavior at school and are then little sh@ts when they get home. Same principle!


  6. Yoga pants aren’t really going to ruin your marriage. But the complacency they represent just might.

    Love that!!!

    I have had to learn to stop when Moderate Daddy gets home and greet him… quick hug and kiss than back to making dinner..

    This means so much to him and doesn’t take much out of me to do (I like that!!)!!!

    Plus I love the handsome man!!!


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