What Maintenance Means to Me


Recently I decided to try to explain to Michael what maintenance means to me.  I didn't think he really knew or understood.  My email to him went something like this…

I'm going to try to explain what maintenance is/means to me.  I don't really know how you feel about it, so I imagine that maybe you don't really know how I feel about it either.

To me, maintenance is the promise of time with you, of focused attention from you.  Everything else goes away; it's just you and me in the moment.  Your focus is on me and my focus is on you.  It's a time to make sure that we're on the same page, it can wipe the slate clean from all those little things that add up during the week, but that aren't really big enough for punishment.  It brings us together and reconnects us.  It's often foreplay as well, leading into intimate time spent with one another.  And even when it doesn't lead to that, it brings a sense of peace and oneness as a couple.

When you don't prioritize maintenance, it feels like you're not prioritizing me.  The hopes of time and attention, of making sure things are okay between us, and possibly some intimacy are dashed.

Sunday nights are hard for me.  It often seems like you've just gotten home and I know our time is short because soon you'll be leaving again.  Often I don’t know if I will see you during the week or not until the next weekend. And so, when you've been building me up for that time and attention and then you don't follow through, well, that makes Sunday night so much worse.

This Sunday I was trying to head that off.  I figured that the writing was on the wall and maintenance was off the table.  And even if it wasn't, I knew how tired you were and I didn't want you doing it merely out of obligation.  I want you to do maintenance if it's important to you, not because you think it's important to me and therefore feel obligated to follow through.  And if it's not important to you, then I don't want to do it at all.

I need you to think about what you want and need and not just about what you think I want and need.  There has to be a balance there, it can't be all about me or it's just not going to work.

I love you so much!  And I hope this makes sense to you.

It’s entirely possible that I put too much emphasis on maintenance, that to me, it means more than it should.  Michael’s gone a lot and when he is home there are several people and a million things wanting and needing his time, energy, and attention.  We agree that our priority is our children.  Children are only young for just so long.  And they need time with their dad when he’s home.  And to be honest, we try to fit time in for the two of us around everyone and everything else, which sometimes means that there’s no time left or we’re too tired to make good use of the time we do have. 

This past weekend we had some great family time, but there really wasn’t time for just the two of us to reconnect.  I’d like to say that I handled it well, but I’d be lying about that.  Full blown meltdown is much more accurate I’m afraid.  It wasn’t just about this weekend, that Sunday night.  It was something that had been building up over time.  It was a reaction to all the weekends, all the Sunday nights that my hopes had been dashed.

You see, there’s an expectation there.  As much as I’d like to be able to just go with the flow, that expectation is in place.  Michael said that he was reinstating scheduled maintenance and that it would be once a week.  He said that a week was from Monday-Sunday.  And so, if maintenance hasn’t happened yet that week and its Sunday, I expect that it will happen Sunday night.  Often there will also have been some playful banter about it leading up to Sunday.  And that reinforces the expectation.

Anyway, I guess I’m wondering, do you think I’ve placed too much emphasis on maintenance?  Do you think my expectations are unrealistic? 

DD has essentially been placed on hold at this point actually.  Yes, you read that right, DD, not just maintenance.  But, I think that’s better left for another post on another day.  

For now, I’m wondering what maintenance means to you.

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