Tuesday, November 21, 2006

TO LEAVE OR NOT TO LEAVE? THAT IS THE QUESTION

Today, I'm leaving sunny San Juan to go home. I've enjoyed a week down here with our daughter and her family as we celebrated her baby's first birthday (this is the first trip in eight years I've made down here without my husband Milton).

All week on my blog, I've talked about the grandchildren and my time here in Puerto Rico. What I haven't talked about is Milton. I've really missed him.

Which leads me to my thoughts for today...

...the title of this post...

"To leave or not to leave? That is the question."

It's a pretty rare thing for Milton and me to spend time apart. Jennifer jokingly says, "Mom, you and Dad are joined at the hip." Except for work, we're together. For the most part. Especially in reference to out-of-town trips. I don't know. It just worked out that way. He expressed his sentiments early in our marriage that he didn't want me to be away from him, and I complied.

I remember one time when we had been married only a couple of years. My parents were coming through our town and asked if I'd like to join them on a trip to see my brother and his wife who'd recently moved to New Orleans. We would only be gone for a weekend. Milton reluctantly agreed to "let me go." Being the industrious, see-to-every-need wife that I am, I bought a steak for him to broil on Saturday night, and he was invited to eat at a parishioner's house on Sunday (he's a pastor).

When I returned, he said he missed me and didn't want me to leave him again. A couple of days later, I took out my cookie sheet to make some cookies. A silver-colored pan, it was charred black on the bottom. Interpretation: ruined. We were both in the kitchen, and I said, "What in the world happened to my cookie sheet?" He took it out of my hands, set it on the gas burner, and said, "I fried my steak." He didn't know enough about cooking to know that you broil a steak in the oven, or fry a steak in a frying pan atop the stove.

We've joked about that through the years.

He likes the cooking I do for him.

And other things too. :))

So I've rarely left him. In the last five years, we've made a few separate trips, such as him on a couple of trips to Cuba and Costa Rica for ministry purposes, and me to writers' conferences (though he goes to lots of those with me).

I think it's a good thing when spouses don't have to travel separately and be apart.

That said, I completely understand when they do have to do this. When the nature of their work demands this, it just has to be done.

But when this happens, when separate travel is required, the spouses had better be careful. Extra precautions have to be taken in several areas. We must guard our hearts, as the Bible talks about.

Maybe the better question is, "When you have to leave your spouse, what are some precautions you take?" Or, "Are you doing things to keep faithful to your vows vs. weakening them?"

I got to thinking the other night...I want to make sure I always convey this...everything I say on this blog in reference to encouragement in marriages is meant in light of the marriage you are now in. There are lots of remarriages.

2 Comments:

At 3:59 PM, Blogger Patricia W. said...

You mention traveling apart when spouses have to. But what about when spouses choose to?

My husband and I have rarely traveled apart, outside of business reasons, in our 15 years. Yet, there are things I wish to do that he doesn't. Like go on a spa vacation or attend a writer's conference. And I think that's okay as long as he's supportive.

I know women who have an annual getaway, not to have affairs or otherwise engage in behavior that opposes their marriages. They just feel as though they need time to breath deeply, clear their heads, etc. without the demands placed on them by spouses, children, etc. Again, I think it depends on the strength of the marriage and the motivations. I wouldn't feel right going on something like that, however, if I didn't have equal or more vacation time with my husband that year. Never self or friends over us.

Just came back from a business trip. When we're apart, my husband and I always talk on the phone before going to sleep. Often we'll watch a favorite TV show together while on the phone. We may or may not touch base during the day, depending on schedule. But always at night and usually in the morning. First voices and last voices we hear. Go to sleep and wake up with a smile.

 
At 9:12 PM, Blogger Kristy Dykes said...

Great marriage-strengthening tips, Patricia! Thanks for sharing. I think you hit on the most important thing, concerning being apart: that it's mutually-agreed upon. If that works for you, go for it!

Oh, you said on another blog (I saw your comment) that you don't have a counter on your blog to count your comments. If you'll email me via the "Email Kristy" button in my links column to the right, I'll give you a tip about a free counter.

 

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