Let me state right off the bat that I love my husband. I love spending time with him, whether in a romantic little café or the office supplies aisle at Walmart. I love his voice, his touch, his smell. I love that after ten years of marriage he still calls me every day at lunch to say he loves me. I love that he not only surprises me with unexpected presents, but that he always seems to zero in on exactly what I need at the moment, from flowers to sinus spray. And this week what I love most about my husband is that he’s gone.
Let’s be honest here. No matter how much you love your husband, don’t you love him just a tiny bit more when he leaves once in a while? As much as you enjoy his company, don’t you enjoy the opportunity to keep company with just yourself sometimes? To catch up on work, do your nails, listen to music or just sit and stare without being interrupted. Sitting and staring became my preferred form of decompressing during what I refer to as my period of indentured servitude (teaching middle school). While I would never be mistaken for an introvert, after teaching a roomful of high energy, mood-swinging prepubescents all day, I was ready to volunteer for solitary confinement. When I pulled into my driveway on my husband’s tennis days, hit the garage door remote and saw that his car wasn’t there, I would have a small, slightly guilty “yippee” moment. Not that I didn’t want to see my husband, but I was drained and grateful for some time alone to recharge.
Now I have been in the opposite situation too. My ex-husband traveled constantly, often gone Monday through Friday and sometimes for two weeks at a time, leaving me as a de facto single parent. That was hard in general and hard on our relationship in particular (although not quite as hard as his secretly losing all of our money on a harebrained business venture before running off with a former stripper. I’d say those two things were pretty much the nails in the coffin of our 23-year marriage). So, I am certainly not advocating that you get married and spend all your time apart, but a little separation now and then is good for both parties.
I predict that by midweek, and possibly even a day or so sooner, I will be missing my husband terribly and counting the hours until he returns (hopefully with a souvenir or two for me, of course). In the meantime, I’m catching up on writing, sorting boxes of old photos and considering organizing my pantry. I have to work my way up to that task. Perhaps I’d better sit and stare for a while before I wear myself out. Yes, sit, stare and give thanks for my wonderful husband who I know is always there for me…even when he’s not here.