Monday, June 11, 2012

Monday Marriage Matters: Apart

Usually, in the springtime, my husband travels a lot.  Two years ago, he spent basically six weeks in Cincinnati, and last year he went on 10 trips in 8 weeks, and this year, he's gone off to California with an estimated return, "sometime at the end of the month".  And that's the life of a roller coaster wife, and I pride myself on not being a baby about my husband being out of town.  I try really hard not to mope and complain and call him all the time.  I keep busy, but being alone also gives me a lot of time for introspection.

Being apart is good sometimes, because it reminds me of all of the reasons I like to be married.  I really really like being part of a team.  I like sharing the good parts and frustrating parts of my day with somebody.  I like taking care of another person, and having another person take care of me.  I like having somebody to pick up the slack - do the dishes, pick up the thing I just dropped, help carry stuff to the car when we're leaving for a full day.  A second set of eyes to look for an open parking space when the entire neighborhood is full of Phillies fans.  Somebody to show me, again, how to change the tire on my bike when I accidentally rupture it putting air in it.

It's also gotten me thinking about economies of scale.  My family law professor talked about the reasons why people might not want to separate, and one of the things she mentioned once was economies of scale - lower rent, sharing the grocery/BGE bill, etc.  But what if there are economies of scale in achievement, in life goals? Like Meg talks about, ambition squared.  Not just career ambition - but just the number of things I want to get done in a day.  I get twice as much done with my husband around, even if he's not directly helping me.  He also gets more done when I'm around than when I'm not around, I suspect.  It's almost like just having somebody in the house, somebody else who wants to do stuff, somebody who is going to hold you to a schedule and ask you, "what's the plan?" somehow makes me more productive.

And don't even get me started on sleeping alone.  I've always loved this quote by Marlene Dietrich, "Children will tell you how lonely it is sleeping alone. If possible, you should always sleep with someone you love. You both recharge your mutual batteries free of charge."   It is simply better to go to sleep with somebody, thinking, "I am not alone. This person who loves me is here with me and will be here with me when I wake up."  

What are your favorite things about being married or living together?  If you are in a commuter marriage, how do you survive?


  1. I really like what you said about sleeping with someone you love. What a beautiful sentiment! Also, my husband is most likely accepting a new job where he'll need to travel quite frequently, so I'm going to need some tips on living alone while he's gone!

    1. Most important part of living alone is to create systems that work for you, to make up for not having somebody pick up the slack.

      Also, I recommend a stuffed animal.

  2. Nick will be gone for a 3 weeks in July and I'm sort of looking forward to that introspective, selfish time but I know I will quickly grow tired of it. I am glad all the time that I can call someone and ask them to pick up milk or transfer the wash to the dryer, etc. and vice versa. It really is such a relief.

    I have my struggles with anxiety, but I really used to feel like the daily shit I was supposed to get done (feed myself nutritious food, work out maybe, keep the sink clean, keep clothes off the floor, etc) was more impossible than the big picture stuff I was dealing with. It makes it so much better not to be the only person "on staff" or whatever.

    1. I secretly relish it when M. goes out of town for a couple of days - I get a nice little break, some me-time, and I get to eat a lot of broccoli. But when it's longer than a week, I start to get bummed.

      I find that the most important thing is to forgive myself for not being as good on my own as I am when he's around. It's so much easier to be like, "it's okay that I'm eating kale chips and roasted chickpeas for dinner because that is all I could manage tonight."