Monday, July 6, 2009


I am married now, and so I have a lot of things to take into account every day that simply weren't there before. Many people are familiar, I'm sure, with the playful jabs that a married man's bachelor friends tend to throw when he checks with his wife if he can "go out to play." This was frustrating at first--and is still mildly irritating, but it's all in fun--because I don't think I understood the underlying situation fully.

It's not as though I can't go hang out with my friends if she says no. The point is that my actions have a very real and immediate effect on another person's life. Part of being a good husband, or just a good friend, is consideration; part of consideration is placing another's needs ahead of your own. Thus we have the old ball and chain metaphor arising every time a man calls his wife before grabbing a beer with his buddies.

Personal freedom is at a premium with most people, but takes on of necessity a new dimension when two people merge their lives. I would love to quit my job. I'm waiting to hear from graduate schools, I could find work for the several months leading up to our departure, although without the benefits of my current work. Yet I hesitate. My wife, unsurprisingly, wants me to stay on for the pay and benefits until the last possible minute before leaving for grad school. To what extent is it in my power to decide this for myself? Ought I to take the hit for the sake (and reasonable arguments) of my wife or come up with and implement my own plan for this part of my more individual existence? A conundrum, to be sure.

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