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For Your Marriage

Josh and Stacey Noem have been married for almost 20 years and have three children in middle school and high school. They blog about parenting and their adventures as a family.

She’s Got My Back

I can always tell when work-related responsibilities occupy more of my time than usual by gauging my progress in whatever book I’m reading.

It has been a crazy couple of weeks for me with some extra freelance work that has come my way, and it will be that way for at least another month. The bookmark holding my spot in a novel hasn’t moved in weeks.

I’m being productive and contributing to the well-being of our family, and it is all with writing work that I enjoy. It feels good to be busy with good work.

The kind of writing work that I’m doing is utterly flexible—I can do it in the “soft” times of family life, such as after bedtime for the kids, so that I’m not missing any periods of time that we have together as a family. The downside to this is that the times that are open for me to work are the same times that Stacey and I would hang together.

We typically spend an evening watching a movie or TV show, or reading together, so it is not like we use that time for an important project, but that doesn’t mean that these are unimportant moments. These are the moments of connection that we share in a given day—it is our “together time”—and without it, we’ve both been feeling lonely.

Times like these, we can honestly tell each other, “I miss you,” as we crawl into bed together at the end of a busy day. We can share space in the house and even manage family time together without feeling like we’re very much in touch with one another.

The thing that makes this all bearable is the knowledge that it will pass soon. By mid-March, nearly all of the extra responsibilities that I’ve taken on will be behind me.

We talk about all of this, knowing that we will get back to “normal” soon enough, and that the sacrifices we are making now will be good for our savings account later. And that helps—though we feel like we are missing each other, we know that we’re in this phase of the year together.

I’m grateful to Stacey for being a big help in all of this. Aside from the willingness to occupy herself while I’m working in the evening, she has also taken on extra work in the household here and there. I feel like she’s had my back lately.

Even though we have to do without our normal dose of “together time,” we are trying to make do with the lack of “together time” together.