Absence and a Fonder Heart

My husband was unemployed for four months last year, Financially, it was the worst thing that could have happened to us. I’ve said it before, but I will say it again for anyone new that may join us, now or in the future. We had just started getting back on our feet after the “recession”. I was breathing a little easier, we were putting money aside and we had, for the first time ever, booked a family trip to the beach. I came home from a long awaited hair cut appointment to an unemployed husband. 

UGH, right?

I mean, instantly I was panicked with all the worries and the what-ifs and holy moses, how would we survive SO much time together? 

Well, we did. Not only did we survive an excess amount of time together, we THRIVED. I can honestly say that I think about that four months with fond memories, and a bit of sorrow. Fond, because we truly enjoyed our time together. We hiked (WITHOUT KIDS!), went to lunch in another town, went camping, went on another beach trip, got pregnant. Oh, yeah. More on that later. 

Chad and I repaired a relationship that had been stressed for, oh,, the 18 months he had been at the job that laid him off. He built a relationship with our kids, who he had never had a chance to spend a lot of time with. It was good. 

And sorrow? Because I miss it. I miss that time. I miss the things we had time, and somehow money, to do together. I miss the carefree life we were able to live during that time. 

It’s not that life isn’t good right now. Still love the guy. There is just not a lot of time or money, at least not like there was last year at this time. 

It reminds me of a blog post I read a couple of years ago. I really wish I could find it again. It was a lady refuting the myth that absence makes the heart grow fonder. Her theory was that the more time you spend together, the closer you are, even if there is an adjustment period to so much togetherness. I have to say, that after living both ways, multiple times, I agree. Absence does not make the heart grow fonder. Being close and together and learning to be close and together makes my heart grow fonder. Being apart is just one more thing to deal with. Besides, I truly like the guy, and love having him around. It seems that our stresses are reduced when we are together. Weekends, holidays and vacations aren’t stressful for us me. (Maybe I should check with him to make sure I am not using US incorrectly.)

Not only was togetherness good for my husband and I, I can truly say that it has been good for my kids and me. After years of indecisiveness, I started homeschooling them last year. A lot of parents are joyful when they send their kids off to school. Sometimes I miss being able to go anywhere and do anything without worrying about how many kids I have to account for, but I have found that I truly ENJOY having them here and we have learned to live together, so much more effectively than we did when they were in public school. Our stresses are lower and our lives are sweeter. 

This doesn’t mean that I don’t miss the guy (or the kids) when I am away for an extended period of time. When the kids and I traveled to California last year for my brother’s funeral, my husband flew down for two nights, so he could attend the funeral. I needed that break in my emotional week. I needed him and the comfort that only HE can give me. 

If I had to choose though, I would choose more time together to make our hearts grow fonder, as opposed to time apart. 

What do you think? Does time apart or time together make the heart grow fonder? Which would you prefer? 

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2 thoughts on “Absence and a Fonder Heart

  1. Eric and I are in a time of togetherness. With him out on disability, and me on summer break, and him not being able to drive yet .. It is almost always togetherness. I still want to take him with me when I go drive my trolley. I still text him at random times when we are apart, and call him on the way home. I much much prefer doing life with him next to me. We get along well. We share a lot of the same interests. We get each others humor. And I just feel like things are “right” when we are together.
    We did not handle the apart living well at all. Absence for us grew resentment, frustration, disconnection, distrust, anger … You name it. No amount of money would be worth the damage being apart did to us.
    Now a “normal” togetherness relationship? I think we’ve forgotten what that is! Maybe one day.

  2. Thanks for your heart on this. I agree absence does not necessarily make the heart grow fonder. Actually what I think it does is make our fantasies of what we “think” life would be like with this person grow fonder. We all have struggles and the times “my Chad” has been deployed, my heart missed him but I felt those same things; resentfulness and a growing belief that I could do this life without him. However, when we are together, I love it. Togetherness definitely makes the heart grow fonder! Thanks for the reminder.

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