Does Absence Actually Make the Heart Grow Fonder?

The title of Jessica Grose’s review of Iris Krasnow’s new book The Secret Lives of Wives: Women Share What it Really Takes to Stay Married.

Krasnow’s thesis—there can be positive aspects to time spent away from a spouse—at least for (non-military) wives.

Potential benefits include greater emotional and physical self reliance and more in-depth communication.

Quoting Grose: Krasnow says that the most important marital lesson she took from the hundreds of women she spoke to was the importance of maintaining a sense of evolving self, apart from one’s relationship. It’s not that geographic space is the only way of achieving a separate identity—for example, several of the wives said reconnecting with physical pastimes helped them develop their sense of self—but it is a surprisingly effective one.

Must be an autobiographical work given the focus on double X’s. Newsflash—men also stand to benefit from maintaing a sense of evolving self.

There’s more than one way to stay happily married for the long haul. Some of my friends seem to be doing the opposite of what Krasnow is suggesting. They spend as much of their non-work time at home together and they’re in near constant texting and calling contact with one another. It’s easy to understand their desire to spend as much non-work time together as possible when commuting long distances and/or working especially long hours, but I have to confess to not understanding the need to be in near constant contact. I wonder, when they eventually sit down to dinner after sending fifty texts and talking twenty times during the day, what do they talk about?

I can’t read Krasnow’s book because my brother said my recent poem crossed the fem vortex line. But I’m sympathetic to her thesis. I wonder how some of my “single-minded family” friends are going to fair when their last children fly the coop.

The wife and I definitely benefit from time apart. It makes negative visualization tons easier—what would my life be like without her/him? Upon reuniting, we always appreciate each other a little more.

In some alternative universe, it might be nice if we didn’t need to spend any time apart to maintain genuine, mutual appreciation for one another, but we’re fallible, so we do.