KAYE’S CORNER: Marriage teamwork

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MEEKER | If you picked well and are lucky, married folks have a spouse that truly supports them for “better or worse.” Thus, as we find ourselves stuck in Oregon with various problems to solve, I am grateful that Jay and I know how to work together as a team during “worse.”

I’m surely not a marriage counselor, but I think facing problems together gives couples resilience and a way of working together that is familiar if not automatic.

After 39 years of marriage, 30 years of operating a training and consulting business together, and another 15 years plus of running an art business, (often concurrent) we learned to disagree, argue, tackle issues from opposite perspectives but, in the end, come together with a common goal.

Many of my clients would query, “How can you work with your spouse?” Gosh, I just thought it was the norm of America in small businesses and especially tiny mom and pop operations. Further, who can you trust? Some corporate mega outfit or your spouse?

As always in life, the learning curve was huge. We had to meld together our differing personalities (still do), but they are really an asset if handled that way.

When camping in the RV trailer, Jay is the outside guy and manages all the mechanical operations plus drives and monitors gas consumption at which I am a total failure. I organize the trip, campground reservations, food, and cooking. I have my maps; he has his auto knowledge.

It still astounds me that my husband never asked about the detailed plans of this trip. Just like our trip to France years and years I ago, I read, researched, made notes but Jay just trusted me. For this trip, I gave him a spreadsheet, but he got the big picture and accepted he needed to drive around 400 miles every day for the first three days to reach our children and grandkids.

If you ask me, mutual respect is a key component of any relationship. Accepting other people’s concerns, health conditions, anger, joy — it is all part of getting along.

Right now, we’ve survived four weeks of living together in a tiny trailer. The walkabout space is so narrow that only one person can walk through or cook at a time. It has been too chilly or windy or both to dine or sit outside much.

We work together on a “plan of the day” — some sightseeing outing, food choices from our tiny refrigerator, practicals like paying bills on the road, and camp chores such as refilling water, propane, etc. Everything goes more slowly when you camp — washing and drying dishes, finding and stowing stuff constantly, adding and emptying supplies.

Of course, had we planned this, our stress and dependence on each other wouldn’t be so huge. (If you didn’t read earlier article, we are awaiting major auto repair on Oregon coast with unknown return to Meeker.)

Still, we’re happy campers, safe, seeing the sights, eating simple home cooked meals, and getting along just fine.

Seems like every day we’ve had new or re-occurring problems to solve but we’re just working through them step by step. Isn’t that everyday life anyway?


By KAYE SULLIVAN – Special to the Herald Times