This post is part of a series on the fruits of the spirit. The current theme is love.
Mike and I are three weeks into this latest separation and it hasn’t felt like a good week for us on the Laos-Australia skype date front.
We are managing to talk most nights, but by the time 8:30 or 9 rolls around I am… let’s go for a an elegant understatement here… a little bit tired. This fatigue, and my daily routine at present, don’t exactly make me the most fascinating conversationalist.
The start of last night’s conversation, for example, went something like this.
Mike: “How was last night?”
Me: “Well, he was down at 10, up from 12-1 and 3-4, and then he started squirreling around and making angry koala bear noises at 4:45 so I took him into bed, where he promptly threw up on me. Do you want to hear last night’s baby spew tally?”
Mike: “Yes please!”
Me: “Two pairs of his pyjamas, one pair of mine, my hair, his crib sheets, one set of queen sheets and the mattress protector, a pillowcase, and a pillow protector.”
Mike: “Champion. What else did you do today?”
Me: “Well, let’s see. I fed him six times. I took him to the community health nurse and she says he’s gaining weight like a prize piglet and looks as healthy as can be. In the evening we had a bath. He screamed so hard he stopped breathing and turned purple when I took him out and tried to dress him. Then we lay on the floor together and watched a program about sperm whales. Did you know that sperm whale hunt using sonar and those sonar clicks are the loudest sound produced by a living creature, as loud as thunder? Apparently, when a sperm whale clicks at a diver it’s like getting kicked in the chest by a horse. During the program, there was a baby sperm whale that got lost and came right up to the boat and surfaced under the pontoons – I think he thought they were other whales – and then he started clicking for his mama.”
Mike: “Did you cry?”
Me: “No, but by the time the mama whale came and found him I had milk soaking through my shirt.”
Mike is a good sport but this is not exactly the type of skype conversation we’re used to having. I mean, it had been 24 hours since we talked and pretty much all I had was sperm whales and a vomit tally. Yeah.
When I was up in Noosa last week my friends were asking me how Mike and I manage to stay connected when we spend so much time apart.
“We talk,” I said. “A lot.”
“Don’t you run out of things to talk about?” they wanted to know.
So I told them about how Mike and I keep a running list of conversation topics that we can delve into when we have the time and the energy, and I told them about how when we were dating we would sometimes pick questions randomly out of a question-based game. The questions from that game could be goldmines.
“One time,” I said, “the question I picked out was: What is the most important quality in a marriage?”
“This was before you were married?” they wanted to know.
“It was before we were engaged,” I said. “And it led to one of the more interesting discussions we had long distance.”
Most of my friends looked across the dinner table at their spouses.
“Go on,” I said. “What’s the most important quality in a marriage?”
There was a long pause.
“Everyone’s trying to think of the right thing to say,” someone said with a laugh.
“Everyone’s also wondering what their spouse thinks is the right thing to say,” someone else observed.
“Love,” someone ventured.
“That’s too general,” someone else said. “What do you mean by love?”
On Monday I’ll tell you how Mike and I answered that question the first time we tackled it. In the meantime, I’d love to hear your thoughts. What’s the most important quality in a marriage?