In our six years of marriage, we've always had different work schedules. I didn't mind it early on because I thought that once Roger completed school and we were in our "real life," the scheduling would iron itself out. Besides, we had uninterrupted weekends together to make up for all the time apart during the week.
Then we became parents, and those leisurely weekends were history. Now we were caught up in a cycle of tag-team parenting. Roger would care for our son, Luke, during the day. Then I'd take over when I came home from work as Roger was leaving. The upside was we didn't pay for childcare. The downside was that my husband and I were like ships passing. Instead of being husband and wife, we were only mom and dad.
Whenever I brought up the alienation I was feeling, Roger's reaction was "Well, quit your job!" But I couldn't see how we could make it financially on one income, and I resented the implication that his job was more important than mine. The other alternative—that one of us switch shifts so our hours would be compatible—meant that our son would be in daycare, and neither of us wanted that.
The distance between us grew until it seemed we had nothing in common. Even our Sunday nights, a once-precious time together, usually ended with me going to bed early and Roger staying up to watch television. It was obvious that something had to change.
It was a big relief when Mel and I finally got married. We'd been engaged for more than two years, and most of that time we spent apart, living on two different continents. Finally, I thought, we'd be married and be able to enjoy lots of time together.1