Marrying a musician throws you into a whole different ball game of marital learnings. Not everyone could be married to a musician and make it, and I couldn’t be married to an Army man and make it. I reserve those women married to our men serving our country as sort of saint-like wives. When Josh is gone I am not worried about him getting killed, injured, taken hostage, or otherwise permanently changed. I am not even worried about the fanatic, adoring, gawking women that cross his path. All I have to do is endure the times when he’s gone by managing aloneness and holding the fort down and be sane enough by the end of the latest stint to do my best to give him the best homecoming I can manage. However, here are the things I’ve had to learn in the past two an a half years to survive and thrive in such a marital lifestyle.
1. Don’t cry little wife. In our first year (actually, more literally, our first few months) I collapsed to bits every time Josh left for his weekend stints away. We were wed in October and January marks the beginning of “retreat season” for the guys. This means from then until April they are gone most weekends. I most simply became a sort of blubbering mess, I think just out of immediate loneliness. It’s like when you’re first in love and you have to go home from college for the summer. Especially in the first moments of arriving at your long distance separation prison it feels almost as if your heart has been stretched across the distance and it aches simply because of the strain of surviving such an ailment. When two are made one this distance suddenly becomes ten times longer.
2. Put out that anger fire little wife. Simply because he was not with me aroused this sort of fire-breathing, nasty wench. The anger swooped in from left field, side swiped me and I was left staggering around the house in a fit of fury at nothing in particular. So of course I took it out on Josh. Apparently sometimes loneliness turns into frustrated fury.
3. Don’t let that jealous monster eat you up little wife. Josh gets to travel to all these cool places now. In high school I thought it was my mission in life to see the world. Instead, I daily travel from work to home then listen to my husband describe the world to me. Fortunately, I also am doing what I love and it also allows, on occasion, a trip to somewhere different.
4. Don’t let the money blow away little wife. Perhaps the most recently frustrating and troublesome responsibility to take hold of me in our newest season of longer Josh absences is maintaining all there is in life. In March the guys traveled to Nashville to record their single. It was the end of the month. Suddenly all the bills came in, half of which Josh normally took care of and I still had to wrap up the month of work and payroll along with daily dishes and weekly laundry. Suddenly I was in way over my head. This area I am still navigating but we have put be completely in charge of the finances, even making of them for now, and I’ve worked out most of the bugs. To survive I’m really going to have to stay on top of my game and make sure that there’s money in the bank before paying the bills then pay the bills then handle the other bills.
5. Hold up that house little wife. As mentioned slightly in the previous marital requirement of a musician’s spouse, one of my other full time jobs is keeping the house spiffy. Josh is a Mr. Clean. When he’s home he does the dishes, laundry, and makes me food. Those tasks have a lot more weight with me now than they did four months ago. Pile those trivial tasks on with more than a full time job, handling the finances, and emotionally maintaining oneself you’ve got one wife barely keeping her face out of the water. My method of solving my drowning predicament: routine. I’ve found that managing life gets much simpler with a rhythm. It’s like the drummer in the band of me. Keeps me structured and on time. Tidying is done before heading off to work along with walking the dogs, making the bed, packing my lunch and dinner, and walking the dogs, giving the dogs bones to gnaw on so they don’t destroy the place from boredom. When I get home its all about getting the dogs out to relieve themselves and putting food in my belly. Just before bed, it’s dishes and tidying up and only then may I lay down and catch some zzz’s.
All in all, what I’ve learned makes a musician’s wife is a woman of independence and responsibility who falls madly in love with a man who also loves music. But not the type of madly that elicits frequent blubbering, fits of rage, and wallowing in jealous self-pity.