Monday, February 18, 2013

On Marriage and Contribution

To say that things are busy is an understatement. Work has been buzzing, and my classes are... a lot. I love my classes which makes the additional 22-26 hours of homework per week a bit easier to accept. I have only one gripe: Group papers for an online class must be a special gift straight from Hades.

Last Saturday night, I plopped down on the couch around 11:00 p.m. and said to my husband,

"I'm sorry I'm such a boring wife!" He smiled and said,

"We're kind of hanging out. We're hanging out at home. You're just 30 feet away while I watch TV." Ha! More seriously, he said, "Yeah, but you're doing something really important."

It made me think about my contributions to my marriage, especially now that the "romantic holidays" (Christmas, New Year's, Valentine's Day) are over. I know this is somewhat cynical to say, but does anyone else ever notice the high expectations placed on men and gifts? It's a "cat and mouse" game of women pretending they don't want anything big, but they're hoping for the perfect proposal/getaway/candlelit dinner/gift, and the men frantically race around to find some extravagant gift that will prove they love their significant others. And even though these women "didn't" want any hoopla, they proudly announce how much they love their men because  of their extravagant gifts.

I know that this is a generalization, and I know there are plenty of women who are thinking, Are you kidding? I worked my butt off to make that homemade dinner for Valentine's Day! However, based on the amount of Instagram photos I saw on Valentine's Day of flowers, jewelry, clothes, restaurant dinners, iPads/iPhones, and more flowers, I think it's safe to say that many women are also thinking, Yes, I feel loved when I get gifts from him, and he knows it. (Disclaimer: I like gifts too! I just don't like the commercialism of Valentine's Day in the same way that some people don't like the commercialism of Christmas.)

I don't have extra cash these days. (Remember THIS and THIS and THIS?) I don't shower my husband with gifts, but I try to contribute to my marriage is other ways. I'm furthering my education, and I'm successful in my job. I am counting on both broadening my career which I hope will make a more comfortable life for us. Even though most of my leisure time has disappeared, I do my best to keep my marriage balanced. I still do the house chores that I've usually done in the past. We still run all of our errands together. I still help out in the kitchen and wash dishes while he cooks, so we can talk. I try to maintain the status quo, so he doesn't feel like a full-time working househusband who is dreading the next two years of my grad program.

Thankfully, we see eye to eye on the issue of gift giving. I would love to fall into some extra cash and take him on a European vacation that isn't paid for with credit card reward miles like the Leavenworth trip was. (But hey. How cool is it that we got a free trip?!) Until then, I'll contribute the best I can with what I have. Fortunately, he doesn't mind that my life is just a big mess of books and highlighters these days.

P.S. Look at the poor neglected sewing machine that I still don't know how to use.


Caitlin Cavallaro said...

I love this post! And I know exactly what you mean about the holidays and the big expectations that are put upon our men. Me and V are actually that one couple that doesn't really do gift giving (and really haven't since our 1st and 2nd year dating.) We don't exchange gifts for VDay and only exchange SMALL gifts for XMas. Usually our gifts for Xmas are just going home to spend time with family (which takes most of our money but is worth soo much more!) and for Vday, neither of us are into the holiday and the hoopla, so we just get simple cards (or make cards for each other) and spend time together. It's better than spending a fortune we don't have on trivial gifts!

Whitney said...

I definitely know where you are coming from! Nick and I only spent Thursday night together last week... we both had stuff going on the other nights. I hate not being able to see him more often. He's not taking any online classes this semester, but he would most definitely agree that any kind of group work for an online class is quite possibly the worst kind of torture.

Allie @ Between Dreams said...

I think the whole gift-giving thing goes out the window when you're married (or nearly married in my case) and you share the same bank account!

You have no choice but to go halfsies on everything hahaha

Amy said...

Love this post, girl! I am not in a marriage yet, but I would love for mine to look like this. I hope that we go through phases where we have an abundant amount of free time to spend together, but I know it's realistic to expect phases where our free time is pretttyy darn limited. And I hope we can just enjoy each other's company, however that may look.

I think you're doing a great job of contributing to your marriage, girl :) Sounds like a tough balancing act you've got going on, so keep it up lady! XO

Jess said...'re a superstar! I don't know how in the world you're working, wifing, blogging AND tackling grad school. You deserve a special trophy or something.

And I'm glad that I'm not the only one who feels like that about Valentine's Day. Adam didn't get me flowers or anything because I told him not to. And the next day he was like, "Are you sure it's okay that I didn't?" ...he was so pressured because he saw everyone's flower pictures on FB/Instgram..gosh, lol.

Anyway, LOVE YOU!

Lisa @ MMT said...

Love it! Love that you are going to grad school to further your education and that your husband is in full support of that. It's so great to see a marriage that is low key and down to earth. Not everyone has to be showered with roses and expensive gifts, what's important is showing each other how much you care and often times that is with sacrifices.
Ps if you ever learn to see, please share advice ;)

Darby Hawley said...

After a 5-year graduate program, I can certainly sympathize with these sentiments. You ARE doing a great job balancing and I'm so proud of you for hanging in there and making sure that your priorities are in line. You are AWESOME!!!

Aunie said...

Hey pretty lady. I'm a big non-fan of V-day, too. Daniel and I are totally on the same page when it comes to big commercialized holidays, too. This time, his mom gave him this whole to-do about how he was "slacking" and not "measuring up to my expectations as a new husband" because he didn't get me flowers, candy, or a present for Valentine's Day. He tried to tell her that we don't celebrate V-day, but then she got on his case because, "Well, maybe YOU don't want those things, but Aunie does!" It took everything in me to stay calm as I sat her down a couple days later and told her that we don't place material importance on a day like this. She told me, "Well, I do! I like getting flowers!" And for us we think... great for her. But WE know what's best for us and how we want to live. It's funny how people think they can/should tell you what to "expect" what to "give" and how to feel just because there's a big heart on the calendar. For us, we want to love each other to our fullest EVERY day of the year. Not just on "Valentine's Day." Oh, and for the record... he did come say hi to me at work and take me to lunch... yet to her it still wasn't enough. CRAY-CRAY.... And end rant. :) Thanks for your wise words today!

Unknown said...

A. I miss ya! Sorry things have been so nuts (over here too)
B. group projects are straight from
Hell ! I can't even imagine not being even in the same state and working on one...WHEW.
C. This reminds me of The 5 love of mine is "gifts" ... It's funny though the gifts that I appreciate most are the simple Reese picking up my favorite pack of gum at the store!

Love ya!! Thanks for the thinking points!

Unknown said...

A. I miss ya! Sorry things have been so nuts (over here too)
B. group projects are straight from
Hell ! I can't even imagine not being even in the same state and working on one...WHEW.
C. This reminds me of The 5 love of mine is "gifts" ... It's funny though the gifts that I appreciate most are the simple Reese picking up my favorite pack of gum at the store!

Love ya!! Thanks for the thinking points!

Megan Strange said...

Group papers should not be a thing.

Rocio MB said...

Me encanta tu estilo y tu blog!! te sigo para quedarme y ver más entradas tuyas!! te animo tambien a que visites mi blog y me sigas si te gusta!!

besos y gracias!

Michelle said...

A GROUP PAPER!?!?!? That is cruel and unusual punishment if I've ever heard it!

I agree with everything you say in this post. I love it!! Our Valentine's Day had no special gifts or dates. James did the dishes for me AND ordered us a pizza so I didn't have to cook. I'd take that over diamonds any day ;)

Bev said...

You speak nothing but the honest truth dear friend!! I was and still am in the same boat as you both. Going to school is so straining on ourselves, but our husbands also go through the entire process as well. They have to be uplifiting when we're not... they have to encourage when we're feeling like giving up on exams, studying, projects, etc.... they have to cheer for us when we can't give any more gas... THEY ARE OUR EVERYTHING!!! And for us to do the small things like washing dishes or letting them watch storage wars when we wanna watch MTV, it means the world to them!!

Keep up with the team work... it pays off every day of your life!

xoxox, Bev

Kristin said...

Excellent food for thought here L. I think the main thing is that whatever each couple decides is right for them, if they are both in agreement, then they will have a happy, fulfilling marriage! And OMG, I'm with ya on the passive-agressive Valentines-ing that goes on every year (saying she doesn't want anything, but really she does). Blech. -

I'm continually amazed at all you juggle as a grad school student/employee/wife! You are amazing, and your hubby knows it :-) - So proud of you for still tuning in to his needs even when you are totally spent. What a wonderful example!

Devon said...

What this really says to me is that you guys know the true meaning of love and have found it. Gifts aren't necessary when you have that. I love your outlook on things. Oh, and I also share in your loathing of group projects. I'd rather swallow a ribbon like Boone than partake in one.