Speaking frankly, I have long thought the cliché “absence makes the heart grow fonder” to be a load of malarkey. Absence makes my heart bored, annoyed, and lonely.
True, I adore the moment that I see my husband walk into the room after a lengthy trip, but has my heart grown actually fonder? I don’t think so, rather, my heart grows fonder as we spend time learning and growing together. My heart grows fonder when he teaches our son how to use a spoon, when he draws a bath for me, and when he chooses not to bite back at my (occasional) temper.
All of that said, marriage has taught me to appreciate this clichéd attitude towards absence.
Recently, while recovering from a cold, my husband thought it best to quarantine me in our bedroom. He slept on the couch for three nights, acting heroic despite the guest bed being available (he prefers the TV in the living room). We spoke during the day and went about our (somewhat modified) routines. He was not ‘absent’ in the traditional sense, but he was absent from our bed. And before you start assuming about our reunion, my story has nothing to do with sex.
So, John and I slept in separate places for three nights.
This doesn’t compare to spouses who spend months and years without their significant other, people I greatly admire, but it was a deviation from our norm nonetheless. When he returned with some hesitation (my sniffles still being present), I found myself giddy to have my midnight chat buddy back. Our snuggles and laughter and whispers quickly made me forget about the few days of separation.
And I experienced what could loosely be described as a fonder heart due to absence.
I easily admit that a whole bed to myself had not been so much of a sacrifice, but as it turns out, I would much rather fight for space with the man I love than enjoy extra leg room.
Absence does not necessarily increase my love towards my husband, but it does force me to take notice of the details of our relationship that mean the most. I suppose that may be the true meaning of the cliché and a lesson worth remembering.