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Article Archive >> Community

Daze of My Life: Unsupervised But Not Unsatisfied

Daze of My Life
Unsupervised But Not Unsatisfied

Given the realities of life and the complications forthwith, sometimes, my wife, Dina and I aren't in the same place at the same time (at night, at home, if you know what I mean). Generally speaking, when these circumstances occur, we are both well prepared and sufficiently well notified. Mostly these differences of location have to do with our respective jobs, more specifically, her job and its 65-mile round-trip; whether it is before, during or after rush hour, depending upon when rush hour actually ends and when her commute can finally begin.
When the opportunity presents itself for Dina to spend the night at a friend's house, one whose address is much closer to her work than ours, I'm all for her minimizing the stress in her life by staying over one if not two consecutive nights. Moreover, when you factor in the cost of gasoline these days, her decision, our agreement, that she forego the drive and stay local makes exceeding good common sense.
And whether we've gotten used to the separateness or not I'm not sure, but occasionally that separateness has extended to weekends and sometimes even to weeks. It just seems that given our personalities - and peculiarities - sometimes the best way for us to stay together is, when the opportunity presents itself, to stay apart.
As we've grown in our nearly 30 years of marriage, we have pursued and been pursued by different people, places and things. Some of the people, places and things that have interested Dina, haven't interested me and vice versa. And it's never seemed right - or fair - that my wife shouldn't do the things, visit the places or interact with the people that make her happy, and likewise for yours truly. And of course, as any self-respecting, honest, husband knows, marriage is often about making your spouse happy (and coming home at night, too, I suppose). But as a practical consideration and acceptance of the challenges we all face in the pursuit of life and liberty, sometimes, being separate - and apart - and equal, is indeed the best way to show you care. Freedom rings, doesn't it?
I'm not interested in controlling my wife's life. I'm in to integrating it into my own. But sometimes, her things and my things aren't the same things and I don't have (and neither does she, quite frankly) the time, energy and inclination to accommodate, participate and maybe even to cohabitate under the varying circumstances. And since I don't want to deprive her of her pursuits any more than I want to deprive myself, we are not always, as we presently are not (she's in Colorado skiing with her cousin, Debbie; I'll join in her in a week) in the same place doing the same thing.
As the late, great, Henny Youngman, the King of the one-liners so often joked, repeatedly, about the secret to his more than 50 years of marriage: "We take two vacations a year, I go in the summer, she goes in the winter;" "Two dinners a week, I go Tuesdays, she goes Fridays." And not to be forgotten, or misunderstood, the classic, "Take my wife, please?" All three of which make humor out of togetherness. Too much of anything, even togetherness, is not fun or funny.
And if indeed freedom is the core of happiness as opposed to the root of evil, then not only do our occasional separations make the heart grow stronger, they probably reinforce the individuality that likely brought us together in the first place. So what if Dina is away for a week, I'll be joining her Thursday for a long weekend. That'll be enough. In the meantime, she's doing something she loves, skiing out west, and I'm doing something I love, not having to do something that I don't love. It may not be perfect, but if live and let live is good for the goose, it's certainly good for the gander. And if she's happy, I'm happy.

Kenneth B. Lourie is a regionally syndicated columnist who resides in Burtonsville, MD.

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