June 20, 2011
Given our tough history when facing a period of time where we are pressed to find a moment together, Husband and I have remained surprisingly connected. Typically we assume roles of strangers living in a marriage together. A kiss here, a touch there, a split second to make love, out of carnal need mostly. We become a shell of the couple we once were and in a way we turn off our emotions until life can resume again.
In the past four years Husband has had to live as far away as New York and as close as Asheville while I waited patiently for his ever present internship to end. We are no strangers to being apart, but contrary to what most would love to believe…it never gets easier. I never miss him any less. We never deal with the loneliness any better and not once have we made it through without a fight that leaves us both miserably admitting (often times over tears) that we just miss each other.
Husband studying for the BAR is not like him living in a depressing house in Delaware or enviously in his childhood bedroom in the Asheville mountains. It is however reminiscent of a semester a time or two ago when he might as well have lived in a far off land as his mistress Law School stole every waking second with him away from me.
Just like every couple has to learn to argue…
Stay with me here, whether you like to admit it or not, we fight with our loved ones. We fight because we care enough to. An argument can be very constructive, OR destructive if not handled properly. Arguments are the instigators of compromise and growth. The best thing Husband and I’ve accomplished is learning to know enough about each other to be able to argue effectively with each other. So back to my metaphor…
…we have learned how to miss each other. And we have learned how to do it without it resulting in a knock down drag out fight about the smallest petty things in an attempt to beg for each other’s time and attention.
Last summer when Husband was in Delaware and was as depressed as the dark house he called home, I begged him to talk to me. Without his physical assurance of at least being by my side, I needed his words. In the sweetest way he could explain, he simply told me it was easier for him to deal with the loneliness and the missing me and his home when he just cut it all off, did his thing and then returned home and wrapped me in his open arms. That was not only hard for me to hear, but also incredibly hard for me to understand. If he was so sad and miserable, would I not bring a smile to his face? Would talking to me not ease the loneliness in his heart? Did he not need me to survive the way I needed him???
I’m not sure when I “got it” but somewhere between my lonely tears in his absence and preparing myself for this summer of torturous BAR study, something clicked.
I was surprised after a few weeks of 12 hour study days had gone by that Husband was still in good spirits during his “me” time. I was surprised every night when he showed up at the dinner table because my mind had already swept into single survival mode because it was summer and I don’t get to have Husband when it’s summer. I kept waiting for the time to come when his mood took a dive and he would retreat into himself until the whole ugly mess was over. And sure enough it came. The scheduled “me” time became nonexistent. Our conversation became less and less, and I noticed I had begun my yearly ritual of booking my weekends solid and busying myself during the week so I don’t notice just how alone I really am.
Suddenly I knew what I had to do. I emailed Husband and told him I understood the he felt he had too much to do and too little time to do it and that was where his “me” time had gone. I asked him if it would be best for me to stop trying to be the distraction I thought he needed and keep trying to talking to him at length. To do my best to be a silent chef, maid and wife. He answered that it would be best for me to just stay out of his way. I didn’t need to be silent, we could talk over dinner at night if I was home, but the he had too much to do and too little time to do it and couldn’t have the distraction.
In another time that would have crushed my feelings, but I’ve been through enough summers now to know that wasn’t his intent. What he said was what he meant, not some backhanded way of telling me he didn’t want me in his way or need me as a distraction. He was simply busy, too busy, just trying to survive, and in an attempt to spare me his tired eyes and worn emotions he was asking me to let him fight through it and patiently wait for me on the other end.
It was all the assurance I needed.
36 days till the BAR begins.
38 until the BAR is over.
46 until my last day of work.
47 till we leave on an early flight to Mexico.
47 days and a few hours until I have Husband all to myself, undivided attention, in a gorgeous resort surrounded by a breathtaking beach, and the soft touch of his lips all mine to enjoy in limitless little moments that are ours for the taking.
Bring on tomorrow.