Marriage is all about connection, like all relationships. When we feel disconnected, we are adrift from those we love, and the feeling is similar to being lost at sea. In my case, there are circumstances beyond my control that have engineered this disconnect, but it doesn't change the sense of being lost and alone.
Jason has been away in Los Angeles for an entire week. It's been a while since he has been gone for that length of time. It's hard on the kids, who seem off-kilter and a little nervous when we are not together as a family, and I feel burnt out from rushing around from one thing to the next and having very little adult conversation in the course of my day and evening. I tend to work around the clock when I'm on my own, and without anyone reminding me to sit down and relax, I simply don't do it, and by the end of the week I feel the effects.
Usually we talk in the evenings when he is away, but in this case he has been in classes and seminars, with short breaks throughout the day, and has had evening dinners and events to attend. He calls when he's rushing to another class, and we talk for five minutes, and in mid-sentence, it's time to hang up. It leaves me feeling bereft and scared, as though I don't even know him.
Intimacy in marriage is directly related to the commitment both sides are willing to put into the relationship. I understand in my mind that these kinds of weeks are rare and that we will get back on track when we are together again later today. My mind is not the problem here. The heart, where the emotions reside, is the tougher sell. So many of our fears and problems come from our feelings, and when women don't feel close to their men, it becomes a daunting divide to cross.
We have closed these gaps before, and will again, but there is something in my nature that wants to stay plugged in and connected all of the time. I find the disconnect to be frightening because I've seen how quickly small relationship fractures can become huge, if they are not traversed and mended. Where I'm damaged as a child of divorced parents throws a little more fuel onto this fire of possibility, and I have to rein in my overarching imagination.
The novel I am writing for the National Novel Writing Month challenge is about this issue. It focuses on a good marriage with a fracture that begins to widen, and I'm glad for the chance to work out some of my fears in a fiction setting. Anxiety over relationship problems is a normal part of any marriage, but I want to own my side of the disconnect, and find ways to improve it. I am responsible for my own fears and worries, and must work at managing them so they don't bleed into my marriage in a way that creates new problems which don't need to exist.
I am grateful that Jason is coming to join us in Canmore today, where we are spending this long weekend with some friends at our timeshare. I know we can talk about these things, and find those points of connection again that we are currently missing. We can take the time we need to find our way back to each other, where we both prefer to be, and put this week behind us. For the sake of our relationship and our family, we have always made this a priority, and when it's hard we need to put in the extra effort so that we can reap the benefits.