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Absence Makes the Heart Grow Deprecating. Which is a Good Thing. I Think.

Justin has been in Afghanistan for over 3 months now, and I’m ready to admit something.

Here goes.



There have been times in our marriage when I’ve looked at him and thought, I can’t believe I’m actually married to you.

Like the time he realized he didn’t brew enough coffee after he poured his cup but before he poured mine, so instead of making more coffee to fill my cup, he just ran new water back through the soggy, used coffee grounds and hoped I wouldn’t notice that my cup was filled with light brown water as opposed to actual coffee.

Times like that, my friends, when I thought, I can’t believe I’m actually married to you and not in a totally smitten, pre-honeymoon, post-vows kind of way with a mental tone of adoring and grateful affection, but in a we’ve-been-living-together-for-over-8-years-now-and-you-think-I-won’t-notice-weak-coffee? kind of way with pure, unadulterated, incredulity.


I know it sounds terrible, but there it is.

The “good” thing is, I know I’m just as bad.

(What can I say?  I’m a Libra.)

Like the time he came home after 3 months in Africa to find I’d bought dog beds so our little monsters could sleep with us in our bedroom to keep us safe from intruders and bogeymen and fill the space with protective methane fart gas throughout the night.

Because I always think these things through, you know?


Even though I do these things too, I still usually feel that I’m in the right.  That I know best.  That really, if we would just do everything my way, the world would spin smoothly and double rainbows will fill our home and the sex will always be fantastic and no one will ever — ever — have to sleep in the wet spot.

(Don’t pretend like you don’t know what I’m talking about.)

But now he’s been gone for 3 months.

Three months, apparently, is enough time for me to stop blaming him for every cluttered mess that collects on counters, for almost-empty orange juice bottles in the fridge, for laundry that sits in the dryer for days, and the pulpy, globulated mess that coats my clothes when an errant pocket receipt goes through the wash.

It’s enough time, apparently, to realize that I’m actually fallible.

I mean, I’ve always known I’m capable of making mistakes.  In fact, maybe my blunt, drunken wrist tattoo should read erroneous, because I’ve certainly made more than my fair share.  And I’d be the first to admit it.

But it was always these little things.  These little house things that would get on my nerves make me mutter under my breath as I’d fritter around the house collecting crumpled papers that someone — and certainly not me — was too lazy to throw away, are not always entirely his fault.

And that’s the gift of distance.

They say, you know, that absence makes the heart grow fonder, but I know a secret.

The real benefit of absence is clarity.

The way it gives you a chance to look at yourself.

The chance to experience the discomfort that comes with the dawning realization that wait — I’m not perfect?

It’s not a good feeling.

But it’s a helpful feeling.  And a relief, too, to know that he’s not the only one to blame for the messes and the occasional late charge and sometimes erratic online shopping binges.

Wait.  Maybe that last one has always been me.

But my point is that true perspective — not just about a partner but about yourself — is something that most people who’ve been living together for a long time never have the space — or the distance — to experience.

And that’s unfortunate.

Because while I would never recommend that you ship your significant other off to Afghanistan for a quarter of a year or more, a little space can sometimes help.

Not to get away from your partner.  But to get back to yourself.

So now, at least I know.  I remember.  I can overlook the little things when he gets home because while cohabitation definitely creates more messes and chaos, it also provides an extra set of hands to help.

Except the coffee thing.  I can’t overlook that.

But I’m working on it.



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I know exactly how you feel, the chauffeur has always had time away during our 30 years of marriage. First, a month at work on the high seas, 2 weeks home schedule, we did this for 3 years, then 2 weeks on and two weeks off, etc. Some women can not handle this though, so it definitely takes women who are comfortable in their own skin, and can use these times for introspective thoughts and ideas. Or just buying dog beds ;)

I found those times to be my most creative, because I didn’t have to explain my projects to anyone, I just did them. I didn’t have to listen to helpful suggestions on how to do things differently, I just did it my way and somehow it worked out, even if his way may have been easier.

And yes, I do find myself saying, when he gets home I will be nicer about this or that, I was kinda bitchy about this or that before…and you are right, I do think more marriages would be better off with a little distance once in a while. Just not to a place where there are bombs and things flying all over :(


Wow, that is quite the schedule to keep up for 3 years! That would be pretty tough. But I know EXACTLY what you mean about it being great creative time. The closet actually came together once he left, and you’re right — I can just DO my creative things (start a photography side-business, write until 1 a.m., take a stab at meditation, etc.) without having to explain the gritty details or see that look on his face that clearly means he thinks I come from another planet. ;)

You’re right — distance can be good. Distance without mortar is even better.


Yeah, a little time apart is really good for appreciating someone. I usually only need a weekend though. On occasion we’ve done a couple of weeks and that’s been more than enough.

When does your fella get back, anyway?


YES. Usually a weekend (okay let’s be honest — a week) is about perfect for me.

We’re looking at about a month to go! Give or take. It’s the military.


Thank you for having the “balls” to say what everyone else is thinking ;) that’s why I love ya!


I think that’s the funny thing about marriage — eventually, people become REAL. And while we can’t still look at them with the googly-eyed adoration of a newlywed, we can build something stronger if we try really, really hard. :)


First things first. There is no question. He has to sleep in the wet spot.

I love how you can find the good(clarity) in such a tough situation. Glad to hear you’re doing well. I’ve missed your blog this summer during my self imposed screen time banishment.


I have MISSED you!

“First things first. There is no question. He has to sleep in the wet spot.” <--This is why.

RHome410 @ Friday is Pizza, Monday is Soup

Time has flown… And I realize that’s true only for those of only reading about Justin’s deployment!

I too often think in my head, “I want a do-over,” but really know that although I let him believe he married up, I know I don’t deserve him.

The coffee thing, though? Wow. Just wow.



It’s strange. At times this deployment has just crawled along and feels like it will never end. But other times I sit back and realize how much I have not accomplished that I’d wanted to get done while he was gone, and that makes it seem like it’s going way too fast!

I honestly think we’d have these thoughts regardless of who we married. He could be one of the best men in the world (which Justin is), and yet that doesn’t mean they’re not going to annoy the crap out of us sometimes. We (and they) are human. ;)

And yeah. I don’t think I can get over the coffee thing, and here’s why: He’s done it TWICE. True story. I would’ve included that in the post but I didn’t think people would believe me.


There are so many reasons this has just become one of my favorite things you have ever written.


Really? I’m glad this was timely for you. :)

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