The best thing that my husband could do for me was to leave me.
That’s right, after a decade plus of married life, we have finally come to terms with the idea that there are times when we may need more personal space in order to keep our marriage fresh. There was no sadness, we were actually quite happy to see the transition. If we hadn’t chosen this path, we would most likely have suffered a very frustrating month together.
I warned my husband early that there was a pot on every burner of things I was cooking up for myself during the coming month.
I had just started a college level course, (there’s no shame in going back to school to further your education, especially when you’re over 50), while tending to another three projects which were simmering along nicely. Now there was a new main entree which would require my absolute attention if it was going to turn out on time and be halfway decent to serve.
There is an annual event revered by some writers to be an act of insanity, and to others a challenge to be conquered. You can guess which team I hitched my saddle to. I, along with 300,000 plus writers agreed to each write a 50,000 word novel within the thirty days of November. The project is called NANOWRIMO (National Novel Writing Month).
Needless to say, my husband was not very thrilled at the idea of trying to live with a wife who may be pulling out her hair, or perhaps he wasn’t all that keen on being a non-stop sounding board for my novel ideas. Whatever his reasoning, he made a fine choice for himself to hop in the car and head south like a snowbird to enjoy the sunshine and warmer weather of Arizona.
Meanwhile, I now had the freedom to wake up at all hours of the night, make as much noise as I needed to in order to stimulate my creative juices for writing, and indulge myself in neglecting proper nutrition by forgetting lunch, and eating a bowl of cereal for dinner.
With the modern convenience of cell phones, we really didn’t miss each other. I could give him the time we both were wanting most; the morning cup of coffee and start-the-day conversation. But after the coffee was drunk, it was time for me to hang up and get back to work.
With great satisfaction, I submitted the qualifying 50,000 word count this morning, and then did the thing that most couples want to do when they separate for good reason: call their spouse. He was cheering me on from a distance. It’s great when we know what we both need and are willing to ask for it.
This past month I have grown a lot closer to my husband as a result of his leaving. And the adage of absence makes the heart grow fonder is another way of keeping your marriage fresh. In his act of giving me the space I needed to blitz through thirty days of high-octane creativity, he was showing me how much he cared. I’m sure he’ll be back when he’s ready. And knowing that, anticipating his return feels even more exciting.