Tuesday, August 7, 2012

And the Two Shall Become One

During our premarital class, Ephesians 5:31 finds its way into the lesson. I don’t give it much thought; it’s standard stuff. Darling Husband and I are Christians and it’s a Christian class, so we’re familiar with the scripture. It’s actually kind of romantic, picturing DH and me holding hands, smiling at each other, connected; feeling the “oneness.”

Little did I know back then how much time and effort that oneness takes. I’m not talking about the “in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, until death do us part;” I get the commitment thing and I’m in for the long haul. I’m talking about the company parties, social gatherings, sporting events, and the way he likes to spend the weekends and vacations. (I touched on this in my post, Vacation: Let’s Relax or Let’s Go!)
I’ll be honest and say that it’s a chore to make sure the children get to where they need to be, rearrange my schedule, and dress for the occasion; however, 99% of the time, I have a good time when we’re out together.

Really. I do.

Okay, so sitting in the cold at a college football game isn’t high on my list; but… if I can socialize while there, I’m good.

During the first year of marriage, when Darling Husband and I were adjusting to being one, I went to various functions after agonizing over what I should wear. I shook hands, smiled, repeated the story of how DH and I met, listened to shop talk and politics, and smiled and shook more hands. I was the new wife in an unfamiliar city, following my husband’s lead to where I lived, went to church, and to meeting new people. He was proud of me and I was proud of him. We were a happy couple, yet, I lacked something.

It would be only a few months until I began the journey out of this gentle wilderness. I met Aqua, who became my first gal pal in my new city; someone who did not know DH and who did not base any of our conversations on him.

Fifteen months after saying I do (or was it I will), the first child was here, and there would be two more in the next four and a half years. I entered the world of play groups and birthday parties where I met more gal pals; while still nurturing my oneness with DH, of course. I hung in there with his social outings as my feet swelled during pregnancies and my breasts swelled during periods of lactation.
But then Child #1 went to kindergarten. Late evening outings and next morning early wake-ups equaled stress. Eventually, DH had to explain to his cronies and business associates that the little woman couldn’t make it because she had to get the kids to bed and ready for school the next day. It’s interesting how the husband seems to be in better standing when his wife is with him for everyone to see. Do people feel the same about a woman needing to bring her husband along?

My friend Aqua told me that she and her husband made a deal; he doesn’t accompany her to her things, and she doesn’t accompany him to his. Both have occupations that require traveling and networking, and when they have down time, they relish it – doing what they want to do, individually or together. By the way, they have no kids.

Can you guess where I’m going with this?

I’ve been studying my girlfriends and their marriages over the years and thinking about my own relationship with DH regarding the oneness that most of us committed to during the marriage vows. Is the oneness composed of two equal parts, or did one part get diluted and the other part get stronger? Do the expectations of one spouse burden the other?
I have a friend who rarely leaves her husband and kids at home for a short girls outing; like, to have coffee. So a trip out of town with the girls is a definite no-no; says it doesn’t interest her.  Her husband doesn’t seem to be interested in hanging out with friends either, soooo… I guess they’re okay.

On the other hand, another gal pal takes a vacation with the girls every year. She prepares the frozen meals to leave behind (with instructions), gets the laundry done, schedules the car pools, etc. and is gone!

Quite a contrast between the two of them. Friend #1 gets an A on the oneness report card.

I’m not as adventurous as Friend #2, but I don’t get an A either.

While my husband and I share certain “likes” and act upon them when we can, we also differ. As my children have grown, and as I have gotten older, realizing that life is short, I’ve chosen to spend my free time being free. (For those of you who are gasping, my freedom does not include any wayward, unwifely activity. Smile No worries: Darling Husband and I will forever be one.)

Many years ago, I heard TV journalist Charlie Gibson answer a question about his wife; “She’s off doing whatever she does.” It was his way of saying that she has a life, too.

I like that.

How much do you do with (or for) your spouse when you really don’t want to? How much does he/she do for you when not especially interested?