Kathryn Hahn Opens Up About the Romantic Gesture That Made Her Cry

Kathryn Hahn
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Remember Valentine’s Day back when you dated? Flowers, candies, fancy dinners, and making out for hours … oh, the romance. But then there’s married Valentine’s Day — as in married-for-15-years Valentine’s Day. And for many, that looks a teeny bit different.

Well, as it turns out, Hollywood marriages, despite being in the limelight, are a lot like yours and mine. Just ask Kathryn Hahn, one of the very funny stars of A Bad Moms Christmas.

In a recent interview with Babble, Hahn opened up about what romance means to her these days, after being with the same man for so long.

“You know, when you have kids, and you’re both working and we have a new puppy, it’s like a shit show in our house right now,” she shares with Babble. “So just to be able to get out and just have a glass of wine and chew and digest food and not feel like you’re inhaling it would be a perfect, romantic Valentine’s Day night.”

Girl, I hear that. I’ve been with my husband for 18 years, including our dating years, and we, too, have changed what it means to be “romantic.” These days, babysitters are few and far between, but when we do sneak out, it might be just for a quick bite at the new Mexican place downtown. Or a glass of wine and an appetizer. And this Valentine’s Day, the plan is wine and take-out sushi at home — which sounds glorious because we can both wear sweats.

The other very relatable part of marriage that Hahn mentions is how much you both change. Hahn and her husband, actor Ethan Sandler, have been together “since they were kids.” And she realizes now, 15 years since saying her vows, how important it is to allow each other to grow.

“I think that that’s where people get in trouble is they hold on to this idea of each other as they were when they were 18, and we’re just not anymore,” she tells Babble.

That’s such an important piece of a successful marriage. I think back to our early dating days, at 19 years old. We were so naive, with no idea what the world had in store for us. Just drunk on love. And as much as I enjoy reminiscing about who we were, we aren’t those kids anymore. We are older, grayer, wrinklier, and more tired parents of three humans. We are often beaten down by career stresses and bills and medical problems that 19-year olds have no concept of. How can we expect each other to still be those kids? We can’t.

And maybe that’s the beauty of it all. Because it’s exciting to think of who we will be when we’re 55 and empty-nesters, drinking our morning coffee in a quiet house. We won’t be the same people we are now, in our 30s, shuffling kids to and from activities, practicing spelling words, and spending a small fortune on a babysitter so we can go to the movies. We will be on to the next chapter.

Even after 25 years, Hahn and Sandler still have that spark. When asked if her husband is romantic, she said emphatically, yes — and recalled one specific event that is particularly memorable.

One of the most romantic, and it does not sound romantic, but it made me cry … is that he had installed a shelf — this was when we had like no money — he installed a shower shelf in our bathroom when I was out of town once. Which is the most unexpected of romantic gifts, because we had always had the shampoo crap on the floor of the shower, and it was so annoying. And it was just something we never dealt and whatever, we had this dumb Bed Bath & Beyond one that didn’t work, it kept falling down and it was rusted, and I came home and saw that it was the fancied thing and it was so sweet and thoughtful because I had never said, ‘We should get a shower shelf.’ It was a totally really crazy sweet gesture.

That’s the good stuff, right there. The little things. The sweetness that sometimes costs next to nothing. The thoughtfulness that to others might seem silly, but to you means he went to the moon and back.

Her story reminds me of one Christmas, many years ago, also at a time when my husband and I had zero money (we call them the Ramen Noodle days). I loved antique bottles and knick-knacks, so he climbed into the rafters of the barn on his parents’ farm and found me some old milk bottles, wrapped them up, and gave them to me for Christmas. I was never more in love than at that moment.

Marriage is hard work — whether you live in Hollywood or the Midwest. And adding in a slew of kids doesn’t make it easier. But I guess the goal is to look back, at the end of it all, at all the different chapters, all the challenges you overcame, and know that you were with the right person all along. Happy Valentine’s Day to Kathryn Hahn and her husband Ethan Sandler. Hope you get that to sip that glass of wine and slowly digest your food in the most romantic way possible.

A Bad Moms Christmas is now available on Blu-ray/DVD.

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