You read a lot of about marriages in blog land . . . intense, loving, romantic, turbulent, violent, lost . . . but most often, quirky. There are celebrity marriages where famous couples live apart - for the considerably creative genius, sharing their life full time with someone might never work . . . & then there is my marriage, filled with quirks & living apart for 4 years as Army life suddenly clashed with our eldest starting high school - our 9th school, it was time for educational stability. The situation is functional, we miss each other like crazy, raising children solo is no picnic & they miss Daddy + he's deployed to Afghanistan twice during this posting to Brisbane so he's not even in Australia, however, we've decided to settle here in Canberra where my husband can afford to semi retire in his mid 40s & raise those teenagers with me (we consider that the business end of parenting.) Our eyes are firmly on the prize, the bigger picture.
I know we're not alone - there are zillions of couples living apart, most often the husband for his work & i believe it's the quirks in the relationship which keep it alive & thriving. We rarely argue - people either don't believe us or consider it incredibly boring; i'm feisty & he's a man of integrity; basically i'm no door mat & he's not an arsehole, we just get along really well. He's my best friend in the world, very easy to stay in love with. We compliment each other. On all the big life decisions . . . like him joining the Army, us getting married, when to have babies, what to name the babies, how to raise the babies, buying properties/ cars/ holidays, deaths in the family, moving interstate, which family to have Christmas with - we come to natural agreements. We talk, actually i talk, he listens, his few words to my 100 are meaningful & worthwhile, however, if we really don't agree on something, even early on in our relationship, i let things go, agree to disagree - we fight fair, stay on point, it's clean.
Sometimes i think it's because my husband has a dangerous job, i like home to be calm, no petty debate on insignificant things. I don't do drama. We laugh a lot. We have history; private jokes; silly ways of doing things; ridiculous names & pronunciations for regular things; we stress about different things & support each other during those times. We do not compete & know our roles - while cooking, i'm his kitchen hand; while shopping, he carries the bags; working on the car, i'm his apprentice; while decorating, he is the tall person who hang things where i point to. He tricks me & jumps out at me in the dark (i scream, the children yell "go to sleep") & he eats half of my dessert without me noticing; then he does kind things, like making a heat pack & hot chocolate when i have cramps. Heart of gold that boy. He convinces me to watch action movies under the guise "it's a love story" & i'll find a way to cry.
The Army sends out pamphlets on 'awkward sex' & other 'issues' which can occur after separation . . . i say 'forget it, why waste time with weird'. I just giggle & say "OMG, i've forgotten how to have sex" & make it fun, rather than intense romantic pressure from the get go. My trick is that i have an amnesty, where he cannot complain about anything i might have changed/ purchased/ damaged or moved around the house/ car/ garden/ lifestyle, for the first 3 days he's home. If he starts to say something like "Jesus is that a new scratch on the car" . . . i get an extra day of amnesty. In that time, he might glare longingly at something like an antique trunk & i have time to fix the situation (read: shove trunk in the garage & disguise as storage) before it's an issue. It works brilliantly, like a mind game, no feelings harmed. This is why he's being so good about the chickens, i'm still on my amnesty!!
Now along with the i-love-you groceries, he also came home to gifts, new pyjamas, ugg boots & cook books. Neat distraction from the fact he no longer has any shelf or hanging space in the walk-in-robe (because he hasn't lived here for so long) or any Winter clothes. The first morning home, he drove us around town in pyjama pants as i'd washed his only decent jeans which he wore off the plane. That's another quirk, my love for cleaning, even the children call the washing machine 'my boyfriend' & i constantly wash up utensils while my husband is still cooking with them. Drives him nuts, but it annoys me how he wears a tea towel over his shoulder instead of just using the one hanging, as it's never there when i go to use it. Do i get angry, never, i'm just thrilled he's home.