Marriage and the Single Girl

That’s what this is, corporate wifery. Or spousery. Whatever. It’s being married, and being single, depending on your partner’s schedule.

My husband left on Sunday with his boss, to take a corporate jet to South America. He left at 8:00 a.m. He did this after taking my two dear friends from my old hometown to a different airport… at 4:15 a.m. This, he did, after a Friday and Saturday of being the parent in charge as I spent a fantastic 40 hours with my friends.

So, aside from being a king among men, a prince among frogs, a gem among gravel, he’s gone a lot. He doesn’t like it, I don’t like it, the kids don’t like it, but it’s the way it is.

I was irritated about it the other night. Really irritated. Because I don’t hear from him while he’s away. He’s working and under stress and his sleep pattern is all jacked up, but in his mind, he knows the kids and I are fine. He’s occupied–I doubt he has time to miss me. Or it is too tender a thing, to give himself time to miss me and the kids. So he focuses.

Me? I’m here, occupying myself as best I can. I started running again, as in longer than a mile at a stretch. (It’s what I did when he lived in Armenia for four months after we’d been dating for a year. Ended up running a marathon when he lived in a different city for grad school.) I cleaned up the garage to store our patio furniture. The garage is my husband’s domain, but it might snow Friday, and he won’t be back till late Friday night. All the other neighbors’ have moved their furniture already–I got panicky. To make room for the furniture I moved three huge wood palates (they had held our new bathroom vanity and glass shower door in our new basement bathroom) and dozens of square feet of scrap drywall and cement board that remain from the addition (final mechanical, electrical, and plumbing inspections passed by the way, though I need to apply some silicon gel around the base of the toilet and change a wall plate before final building inspection). I examined the damaged door leading from the garage to our back yard and figured out how I’d take a puppy out to the back yard from there… (did I mention we’re likely to bring a puppy home in December?).

I felt strong, and filthy, and tired…  And… single. All good things.

I made dinner for the kids and me tonight. We sat and ate together. I helped our daughter study for her social studies test and tried not to confuse her with extra knowledge (I was a poli sci major). I commended our son for doing about three times the amount of work he needed to do tonight–he just wanted to occupy himself while his sister studied. What second grader volunteers to work on his handwriting skills? Ours does.

I do this, alone. And I feel too responsible, sometimes, for them. I think about us bringing a puppy into our home, and I feel too responsible for that guy, knowing that my husband will be as available–time-wise–to the dog as he is to me and the kids… And I feel sad for my husband, and for us.

But then I don’t. He works harder than anybody I know. Anybody. And I… well, I am not a typical person. I need to accept that about myself. There must be a part of me that needs to be a little bit single. And maybe my husband too, needs it. The time away, to be your own person, responsible for things that only you can handle. You end up needing your mate for the right things, in the right way.

One of my best friends reminded me of this. She doesn’t know this, but she did. There is something gratifying, fulfilling, about not being with my husband every day. About parenting without him a fair amount of the time. About handling things on my own.

Being married–you commit to be partners, forever. But a partnership is only as strong as what the two parties bring to the table. For every hour we’re apart, we’re getting stronger, independently of each other. And we come back to each other, better, more confident. More appreciative of the shoulder we can lean on when we reunite.

Or at least, these are the things I tell myself after a glass of wine, after the kids are in bed, after getting an email from my husband that one leg of his South American tour might be canceled; that he might be home two hours earlier on Friday.

Little things like this thrill me. He might actually kiss the kids goodnight on Friday, them in their costumes. He’ll have more sleep before we go meet the puppy litter again on Saturday morning.

Here’s to being thrilled. All alone on your couch. It’s delicious.

4 thoughts on “Marriage and the Single Girl

  1. I’ve always been attracted to driven, ambitious and successful people but only recently have I started researching what their spouses are like to prepare myself for a future with a board level executive. That said, this post here has resonated with my heart deeper than anything else I’ve read so far on the internet. I don’t feel so alone or weird when the one I care about is gone away for long periods of time. There are other issues in our relationship, but I don’t feel like I’m unfit for the job after reading that after 12 years of marriage you sometimes still feel the way I do right now. You are such an encouragement.

    Thank you!

  2. I think I just learned another aspect of our lives. 7 weeks ago my husband died unexpectedly of a heart attack at age 55. I am now realizing just how single I was. I did not miss a beat, taking care of kids, legal, the house, finances…

  3. I can’t remember how I found your blog but it really helps me to process my own life, which is similar to yours in many respects. We have chosen to live in the mostly rural places my husband’s manufacturing jobs have taken us, while his peers at work often choose to make a long commute–so I don’t often know other women with these experiences you write about. Thank you for writing.

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