May 04, 2012

Let's talk LOVE: Married and living together - a question or a statement?


I came across this post while reading my daily bloglovin feed, and so glad Joanna from A Cup of Jo sparked the topic. I spent a whole day thinking, and I want to expand on it here. 

A rather interesting article made me think deeper about the style of the relationship that IS beneficial to marriage. Here is a part that was particularly interesting to me : 

"...If you’ve never heard of Hurst, she was the highest paid short-story writer of the first half of the twentieth century—a prolific Danielle Steele type, but one who wrote about immigrants and shopgirls. She was the author of 26 books that were adapted into 31 films, and her death in 1968 earned her a front-page obituary in The New York Times. Equally glamorous was her private life, which was the most winning blend of prim and sensational: On May 4, 1920, the Times broke the story that everyone’s favorite author, heretofore considered single, was in fact married to a dashing musician named Jacques Danielson, and had been for five years, and—I hope you’re sitting down for this—they lived in separate studio apartments in the same building on West 69th Street. The article opens:
Sailed Into Matrimony With Pianist “in a Bark of Their Own Designing,” LIVE APART, THEIR OWN WAY Meet by Appointment—It’s a New Method Which Rejects “Antediluvian Custom.”
In the story, Hurst explained that she considered nine out of 10 marriages to be “sordid endurance tests, overgrown with the fungi of familiarity and contempt,” and that by living separately from her husband, she was able to keep her most sacred relationship a “high-sheen damask” rather than a “breakfast cloth, stale with soft-boiled egg stains.”...

"...I was living with a boyfriend when I first read about Hurst, and I’d grown increasingly anxious about whether I could continue it long-term. Our daily intimacy, though so lovely and cozy, somehow didn’t suit me. I didn’t know what to make of this. Was I one of those selfish, noncommittal Peter Pan types who couldn’t grow up? Ironically, I hugely enjoyed our domestic life together—we both loved to cook and lounge and talk and read, and he was generously tolerant of my messy ways. (He figured out, for instance, that my awful habit of tossing my clothes on the floor could be accommodated with an armchair in the bedroom; I’d fling every­thing on it throughout the week, then deal with the mountain come Saturday.) But my brain felt crowded, as if I couldn’t hear myself think; I longed to wake up in my own bed in the morning, with my own thoughts. And I wanted more mystery, too, more of a sense that we were separate people with our own lives and interests who were choosing to spend the evening together because we wanted to, not because we were too lazy to leave the house. For all these reasons, a Fannie Hurst marriage seemed the perfect solution, a way to retain our own independence while also being committed to each other. But I could never find the courage to bring it up. Eventually we broke things off, and I haven’t lived with anyone since..."
 {read all article here}

It sparked MY curiosity. I know that I personally am of a ... ummm ... possessive type?  I want my man with me every night, because, honestly, I cannot even sleep in the bed when he is not there. I am also perfectly content with the fact of "must clean-up" messes , because, frankly - I am very happy to have someone to clean up messes after ( even if I am a clean freak). 

But I also know different. 

My mother - not by choice - and father have been separately living rather far apart ( think states apart equivalent) due to his very important work arrangements , and her work keeps her stationary at our homestead. He travels every 3-4 weeks for a weekend, and they, naturally, have phone conversations, and... they are very happy. As a matter of fact - happier then ever before. 

I can't not think of US 50s "instructions to the wives" that were all over the internet a few months ago and associate it with the article and my own family. While I think that living together IS a wonderful thing * at least in my case* , it is very clear that by far that is not one-fit-all solution for a healthy relationship.  Can't help by wonder - could high divorce rate be saved by simply living apart? Or , at least, having a personal room? I do have friends that have personal bedrooms ( and I remember when 50s trendy separate beds seemed extreme!) 

I never thought that "to each its own" could be applied to a STYLE of marriage execution. But it most definitely does. 




  1. Wow! Very interesting topic! I think there isn't one solution that works for everyone, however generally speaking I'm not a proponent for living together prior (for an extended period of time) to marriage. Studies seem to show that it doesn't give you a better chance at "staying together" in the long run. That said, it does seem to work for some folks. I guess I'm more of the needy type ~ enjoying the contact, messes, and not-so-attractive moments. Tempting to consider the separation at times.. I can totally understand why that would work. My husband travels a little, so I get a little separation at that time.

    1. I agree - there isn't one solution, that's for sure. I also agree with not living together for extended time... it seems that most of the friends that I've known that chose to live together before marriage have not gone on with the marriage - which somewhat makes sense. Marriage, while wonderful - can be straining at times. A commitment - hopefully - is another reminder of giving "another chance" , while when there isn't one... psychologically it seems easier to leave. Although, staying together without marriage is also another side, showing the commitment... it's complicated. But interesting.

  2. I'm not clingy, nor would I ever live apart from my husband. I guess I'm in the middle. We have our own lives and interests, some we share and some we keep separate. But we always come together and communicate and show love. That's the best part of living together.

    1. Communication is everything. So many marriages fail because of the lack of it. I think I am more of a clingy type, although I need my space - I can't do 24/7 together ( though I seem to always be attached to someone - baby, child or husband at this point of my life :) :) ) . I think it is important to not lose oneself in the whole matrimony part :)

  3. In principe looks ideal to live apart to keep the relationship special. But there is as well the money problem. This luxe to live apart is for people with good revenues who can afford two residences. And with kids? It might be a bit heavy as organisation...

    1. Financially, I think it depends on where you live and what your lifestyle was like prior to marriage. If you had roommates, etc - then yes, of course, it is more straining. But if two people were living independently by themselves, it's not much of a change , financially, none. Probably , cheaper, even - you are already used to YOUR expenses , your tastes, etc, no need to accommodate for others. And with kids... We'll, I don't think it is feasible with little ones at all - I believe that two parents are very important, if there is a healthy environment , of course. Only when children are grown up and out of the nest, it would be possible and healthy.


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