Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My Married Valentine

Right as our first year of marriage almost reaches its close, we have another first: our first Valentine's Day as a married couple.

Valentine's Day in the media is so strange to me. On the one hand, a bombardment with material things that you should buy to represent your love. Understandable, as what companies want is any excuse to tell you to buy their products. On the other hand, an outpouring of hostility toward people who celebrate it. Perhaps understandable, if you think that the driving force in humanity is that misery loves company.

I'm live-and-let-live about it. It's okay for someone to want presents. It's okay for someone to ignore it entirely. It's okay to have mixed feelings about it. Morgan and I just choose to look at it as a day to remind us to appreciate each other. Which, by the way, doesn't mean we save up the appreciation for one day a year, or that we "need" the reminder. Much like we don't "need" a birthday to tell someone we love them and give them something they'll like, but it gives us a convenient date to do something a little extra special.

So is the day any different now that we're married? Not really. I mean, we're stuck with each other as permanent valentines (haha), but beyond that it's no different. We're not in a position to do a lot of celebrating. Besides the ever-present financial difficulties of the combined incomes of a graduate student and an artist, Morgan is in the thick of writing his dissertation. We can't really spare the time or the money this year.

We say "I love you" and "thank you" to each other on a daily basis quite possibly more often than any other people in the world. So in a lot of ways, it's just another day. But we acknowledge it anyway, and look forward to the years when we'll be able to do something out of the ordinary together to really mark the occasion.

Monday, February 6, 2012

What Happens When the Steady One Is Very Busy

You're stuck with just me for the duration.

As it turns out, besides putting together research statements and job applications, Morgan has to write his dissertation. Now, having to write a dissertation isn't exactly a surprise, but suddenly the time is here, deadline and all, so it hardly seems fair of me to ask him to take some of his precious time away from thinking about that to write a blog post. So, as I was saying, it's going to be a solo show around here for a while.

Ah, cleaning products.
Which brings me to today's topic. I would say that Morgan is the constant one while I'm the mercurial one. He is the one who always notices me looking around for something and asks what I need and then goes and gets it for me. I'm the one who never asks questions like that, but then cleans the entire house one day while he's at school.

When I was very busy for a month and a half over the end of December and into January, I felt bad that I really didn't have time to devote to chores I normally do. I felt bad about it, but I also felt like "the dishes will just have to figure out how to wash themselves or something because I do not have time to think about that right now!!" And Morgan, giving and supportive person that he is, figured it out. I have no idea what he did because I seriously didn't enter the kitchen for 6 weeks. For all I know, he had the dog lick our plates and then reused them. (Okay, I'm reasonably certain he didn't do that.) But the point is that I simply felt like I didn't have the time to uphold my normal part of keeping our household together. Not only did I not do the dishes, I also let dust gather to really noteworthy levels, I piled clothes, books, papers, whatever, everywhere. I just let it all go because I had other things on my mind. He did whatever he did to keep the household together and I didn't really have to think about it, which was good, because I think I might have exploded if I'd had to.

So, that's me.

Here we are now, with Morgan incredibly busy. I'm pleased that this gives me the opportunity to repay him for the way he held things together while I was buried. So I started cleaning off flat surfaces like our dresser, the coffee table. I dusted. I folded and put my clothes away. I did the dishes. I cleaned the bathroom. Now when the situation was reversed, and Morgan went above and beyond, my response to him was "ohmygoodnessthankyousomuchnowleavemealoneI'mbusy." When I did some things around here (most of which were just overdue to be done), what was Morgan's reaction?

He took time out of writing to do more dishes, clean off the kitchen counter, and clean the stove.


He said, "You did so much that I felt like I needed to step it up."

So sweet, and so counter-productive.

We had a good talk about letting me take up some of the slack like he did when I was busy, and I think he sort of gets it now. It's funny how hard it is for him to feel like someone else is pulling more weight and to be okay with that. He's got the "give" part of the relationship down, now it's time to work on the "take."