A while ago, I explained to friends that my husband and I had been out together at a Settlers of Catan Championship Competition.
They both gawked. They did not believe me. I assured them that was indeed where we were, and that it was a ton of fun. They were so surprised (both are at least a decade older than me) and said, "We must be really out of it. That doesn't sound fun at all."
I couldn't believe that it did not sound fun to them.
There were eight couples. Sixteen individuals. All of us vying for the label of "Lord of All Catan" to be "praised and heralded by all the people of Catan."
The gathering was organized only a week prior to the event. I planned to play Settlers at least once during the week but life took over and Saturday arrived. Out of desperation - and propelled entirely by my competitive nature - I spent almost two hours throughout the day studying the Game Rules and the Settlers Almanac. My husband laughed. Then, without his knowledge, I spent about half an hour googling things like "tips for winning settlers of catan" and studying various game strategies.
It was an intense evening. The four initial games and one final championship game lasted over four hours... and finally... a champion emerged.
It was me.
Yes, I won. And I was heralded. It was blissful. Especially since all of the husbands present were master Settlers of Catan players, four of whom had on-line accounts and play the game on a regular basis.
My husband was supportive. I thought he might be disappointed that he did not win. He beats me 99.9% of the time - in everything we do. He always used to beat me at Settlers when we played often as newlyweds. But he wasn't upset at all. He rejoiced with me. He laughed with me. He asked me all about my strategies and let me gloat and explain every tiny decision and large number of lucky circumstances that led to my triumph.
He is a wonderful husband.
It was a fun night out together - unusual - but strengthening for our marriage. Usually we need a date night out together, alone, so that we can talk and reconnect, hold hands and walk together. But this connected us, gave us a lot to talk about (especially me), and strengthened our relationships with our friends, one of our support systems which is absolutely necessary during these residency years.