As I have mentioned in the past, I was not always a psychologist in private practice. I worked as an academic and research psychologist for a number of years. And in the course of those years, I gave a lot of presentations at state and national conferences. Sometimes, those presentations were attended in part, in order to earn continuing education credits. And to earn continuing education credits to work toward maintaining a healthcare provider license, requires that the presentation, workshop, or whatever I was offering, be rated by each participant.

I remember being part of a workshop while I was a post-doctoral fellow at Indiana University. We picked up the evaluation forms and I saw a number of evaluations with comments along the line of “not enough time was spend on x, y, or z.” I was at the presentation and I reframed the comments to the graduate students who made the presentation with me, “Look these are not bad comments. It meant that they liked the presentation and wanted more than we could provide within the time allotted.”

My husband has been working a lot of hours in the past year, much more than usual. He and I came to an agreement early in our marriage about what we wanted in terms of a work/home balance. This issue was primarily driven by him, as I recall, because he was ,afraid, given my aspirations to be a university professor, that I would work too many hours. My husband and I truly enjoy each others’ company. He is my best friend and I am his. And sometimes we want more.

This is one of those times. John knew that this project might mean a lot more work for him but he also felt that it would be both interesting and good for his career. We discussed it prior to his committing to it. Little did either of us know that I would soon be diagnosed with breast cancer and that our lives would be turned upside down.

John has been working extra hours for a long time now. In August, there was a party at our house celebrating the end of this project. It is now mid-October and the project is still going on. After a significant time of being told, “We’re almost done. I see the end in sight,” he has recently told me that he really doesn’t know when it will end. On top of this, he has started getting cranky and irritable with his work situation.

I have been very patient with his work, especially compared to years past. Last weekend I felt as though I had hit a wall. And John got kind of cranky with me and I responded, “John, I am hitting the wall with your work situation. You are officially starting to be a pain in the ass.”

The fact that I let those words come out of my mouth was perhaps a cue that I had waiting too long to say something. Because I was being kind of an ass. John, to my surprise, reasonably and lovingly responded, “I know, Honey, that’s why I am so glad that you are going out tonight with Jennie. I hope that you have a great time. You need to have a good time!”

“What?????????????????” My husband’s reply completely disarmed me. We have had times in our marriage of frequent bickering and second guessing of each other. We have been through my cancer together. We have relearned how to be close and stay strong under some pretty scary circumstances. I have very much enjoyed the increased happiness and stability in our marriage. My frustration with his work situation was starting to distress me some.

I talked to him about it again recently. He indicated to me that he had a plan B regarding his work. Just to know that he was thinking about it and planning for it was a huge relief to me.

I remembered why I want to spend more time with my husband and why I want him to be happy. He is a wonderful man who loves his wife and family. I have been distressed because I want more of him. And I want more of him because I love him and he is my best friend. And I know he feels the same. So until we solve this current problem, I will try to spend the time I do have with him enjoying his fine company.