Wednesday, January 24, 2007

On my own again

Jorge left for the U.S. today, which means I'm back to being a lonely, husband-less wretch again.
Here's a depressing bit of math I did today:
Jorge and I have been married for 2 years and 3 months. Out of that, we have spent a full 12 months apart. When he gets back, we will have spent 48.3% of our married lives in different places.

How did I spend all that time, you ask?

1 month - visiting my family in Seattle
1 month - staying with my sister in LA after Hurricane Katrina
3.5 months - Consultancy in Ghana
5 months - Working in Sudan
1.5 months - Working in Malawi before Jorge arrived

Oddly, though, it kind of works for us. I mean, it sucks being apart, but we handle it better than most other couples would. I think it's because we always knew it would be this way. When Jorge and I met, I was studying for a Master's in International Public Health. I made it very clear right from the start that my work would require me to travel a lot, and Jorge accepted that, even if he didn't like it.

I am very lucky that he has been so supportive of my ambitions. But, if I'm perfectly honest, his willingness to put up with my career is one of the reasons I married him.

For a long time, I simply couldn't even imagine being married. I just wasn't one to get into serious relationships. I remember a moment of enlightenment when I was in college in DC. I was sweeping out my closet, and into my head suddenly popped the idea "You know Gwyneth, you might never get married." And my reaction was so bland - I cocked my head, thought about it for a second, and then, with a careless shrug, went back to my cleaning.

So it was such a surprise to find someone I could have so much fun with, talk to so easily, and who didn't expect me to drop everything for him. Marriage was a no-brainer.

This line of work is tough on marriage, though, and it's frightening. I heard once that the Foreign Service has one of the highest rates of divorce among professions in the U.S. You have to work at communicating, and you have to be very clear with your frustrations and expectations. Would I give up my career if Jorge asked me to? Probably not. But I would move back home to the U.S. if the traveling was too much of a strain.

Fortunately we're having such a good time overseas, it hopefully won't ever come to that. In the meantime, I'll try to enjoy the time on my own and put it to good use finishing up the house and getting back into exercising.


shutupproust said...

You know, Mom and Kevin spent many years with him working (and living) in Olympia for four days out of every week. She said it was actually good for their marriage in the long run, because it gave them the opportunity to have time to themselves, and to appreciate the time they had together. Admittedly, that's not the same as months apart, but this is not necessarily a permanent situation you're going through right now. When it becomes really important to the two of you to spend more time physically together in the same space, you'll find a way to make it happen.

Jesse said...

I'll send you lots of Yoga/exercise support from here! How long is he away?