On the heels of a difficult and combative week for me and my husband, I thankfully had a girls' weekend getaway. I had scheduled the weekend because my sister was celebrating her fortieth birthday, and it was at a time when my husbands' hockey team has traditionally been done for the year. His team won their game the weekend before, earning a roadtrip playoff during my getaway, and I am sure part of the tension we had was a direct result of the fact that we needed to schedule childcare for a weekend that was supposed to be easy. Thanks to supportive family and friends, we deposited the kids in two different places, and off I went.
I should know by now how therapeutic time with women can be. When we are without our husbands, our children, and any real responsibility, women are pretty awesome. We talked and talked about some of the craziest things, laughed regularly at stories that were both familiar and new, and without being direct counselors for the frustrations I was feeling, the support of loving women can be more powerful than any counseling session.
The young woman who did my nails talked about the goals she and her husband have to move from their apartment to their own home. The young couple in the bar, who bought my sister a drink to celebrate her birthday, were on the first night out since the arrival of their second child in three years. I identified with those stages. I was able to reflect on how far my husband and I have come since then, and I started to appreciate where we are.
My older sister and I got married the same summer, so there are quite a few similarities with the habits of our husbands. Our younger sister just got married this past fall, and she reminds me of the excitement of being a newlywed. The other two women who were able to join us for the weekend are at different stages with different challenges, and I soak up what each story offers me for my own life.
There is a reason that the tea parties were so important to me. Not only for my book research, but for my soul. When I was in the middle of my research and I got a call from a seventy-five-year-old man asking why I wasn't interviewing the men about marriage, I stumbled over my response saying something about my target audience. I think I know now why I was drawn to talking with just the women.
Women are supportive, and I can identify with the emotions that encompass women for relationships. I realize that marriage is dependent upon both men and women, but my personal navigation of the pitfalls of marriage is dependent upon the willingness of women to be there for me...even when they don't realize they are doing it.