Timing Is Everything

How to make the most of your time together

People used to feel sorry for Rich and me because of our work schedules. Now they're envious.

If only they knew.

While we dated and when we were first married, I was working a normal eight-to-five office job. Meanwhile, Rich worked 4 p.m. until midnight or later, but with Saturdays and Sundays off, although our weekends didn't start until he awoke around noon. And that was the extent of our time together: from his rising until my retiring on Saturdays and Sundays, for a total of about 24 hours per week to do everything from housework to socializing to just plain relaxing.

Then several years ago my office job ended and I decided to go freelance, working from home.

Most people looking at this situation might say, "How nice that you get to see more of each other now!" and they'd be right except for one thing: We went from 0 to 60 in about five seconds, and nearly blew out our marriage motor. With our previous schedules we'd lived for the weekends. Now we were thrown together nearly 24/7 except when Rich was at work.

The conflicts piled up quickly. He couldn't check his email because I was using the computer. I couldn't watch what I wanted on TV. At lunchtime, there had to be a discussion on what we'd eat, who'd make it, and who would clean up. I nagged him incessantly about leaving his clothes on the floor. He insisted on listening to the stereo—at high volume—while he was on his stationary bike even though I was just feet away trying to work.

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