My husband is something that is becoming increasingly rare in this world – happily employed. Not only does he have a career that has offered him professional growth and job security for the last twelve years, but he enjoys his job. He even puts up with two and a half hours of daily commuting to be able to make a life with me out here in the ‘burbs while fostering a successful career in the city. We are very blessed and grateful.
The one hitch? Occasionally his job requires travel that makes me uncomfortable.
Being apart from my husband is not something new for us. He was my very best friend in college, the person I turned to for everything from advice about a statistics assignment to a movie date, but we didn’t actually start “dating” until he moved halfway across the country for graduate school. For two years we dated long distance, first between Austin, TX and Washington, D.C., and then between Austin and Philadelphia when I, too, moved for graduate school. As close as we’ve been as a couple and a family, we’ve always maintained separate aspects of our lives. When he goes into D.C. every day he seems as far away to me as if he has flown to the moon, and I travel an average of once every four weeks for two and three nights at a time for work. But when he has to travel for work, it’s not a one hour flight to Columbus. He travels half a world away to places Americans are recommended to avoid at all costs. And I worry.
The end of October saw him leaving again on a trip, the most upsetting trip for me that he has ever taken. These trips are usually very last minute and uncertain until the moment that he actually boards the plane. This particular trip schedule had him returning the day that I was supposed to leave for the Allume blogging conference. Just a two hour drive from my home, Allume was something I had been looking forward to for months. And yet suddenly I found myself staring at the calendar, unable to imagine leaving just a couple hours after his return.
This feeling that I needed to stay home in his first days back was new…and unnerving. I like to be needed. I don’t like to need.
I turned to some very wise friends and shared this discomfort – was I really giving up this conference to stay home with my husband who would still be here when I returned from the event? That is when one friend pointed out this scripture:
“Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”
What felt to me like nesting at best, weakness at worst, was not only natural, but it was also Biblical. Reading those words from Genesis felt like a nice little confirmation that I wasn’t slipping, but was instead wanting to do what I was meant to do – love my husband. I made the decision to give my Allume ticket to a stranger and stay home with my husband in the hours and days after his incredibly stressful trip. When he walked through that door, I felt whole again for the first time in a week. Sure enough, that weekend involved not only an incredible mound of laundry, tons of comfort food, and hurricane prep (oh timing!), but also lots of time appreciating the safe return of my husband to our family.
And cleaving. Lots of cleaving.