A couple of weeks ago, I went out for a night out on the town. I got all dolled up, went out for dinner, and then to the theatre. It was a fun, lavish, wonderful evening.
My husband wasn't there.
When my friends first invited me, my automatic reaction was to decline. A night out without my husband? Without my toddler? Without guilt? Without worry? Without.... narcolepsy?
It was just what I needed.
For the first half of the evening, I couldn't stop thinking about my husband. I worried if he was OK alone with our daughter, I worried that he wouldn't remember to take his medication, and I worried that he wouldn't remember to put the casserole in the oven on time. I went back and forth over whether or not I should call to check on him. I hoped that he wouldn't resent me for going out to have a good time while he sat at home. It turned out that all of my concerns were silly. My husband and daughter were fine. He put her to bed early and enjoyed spending some time alone. He was also actually relieved that I went out and had fun. It turned out to be a great decision for me, for him, and for our marriage.
In an article that I often refer to about living with a chronically ill spouse, it recommends finding individual interests other than the illness. It also mentions having friends to spend quality time with. Both of these things will go a long way toward ensuring that the focus of your marriage is not the illness. I thought that was sound advice, but I never really put into practice until the other night. It really did make all the difference. It was a nice break for me... and for my husband. Just as I sometimes am emotionally drained from worry and concern, my husband gets tired of feeling like a burden. It's a relief for him to see me lighthearted and happy.
When I later asked him why he didn't take the opportunity to have some friends over or something while I was out, he said something that really struck me. He said that he really enjoyed spending some time alone. I said, you always spend time alone. He added,
"Yes, but this time, I wasn't asleep."