Speaking Point: About 6 years ago, I would to frequent a certain yoga studio not far from my home.
I would take a "hot yoga" class every Saturday morning and as is in most classes of this sort, the same "regulars' would show up each week.
The make-up of the regulars was an interesting mix of ages, gender, and race.
There was this certain young man, roughly 30 years old, impressive in his yoga practice and impressive in his presentation of himself.
He would come in alone about twice per month, do his practice, chat when appropriate and leave as quietly as he came.
One day, he came to class with a "guest"...a young woman of the same age, who clearly knew her yoga.
During one of our infamous breaks, he introduced the young lady to our group as his wife, who was visiting from Washington DC.
Speaking Point: You could imagine the jokes from the middle aged women who were married for 30 years. The couple explained that she had a great career path in DC and he had a great job here in St Louis and that their time together was wonderful, alternating weekends in either city.
Speaking Point: "Commuter Marriages" have actually been on the rise recently and have more than doubled since 1990, according to the Census Bureau. There are a reported 3.5 million couples living in Commuter Marriages. Actually, this is not an entirely foreign concept in Marriages throughout history. The Military couple often find themselves living apart. The "traveling salesperson" that leaves on the road on a Sunday night and is back home on Friday for the weekend, has been a marital dynamic for generations. But today, more than ever, with the economics of where one can find work, and our ability to stay connected in real time through technology, couples are finding that a Commuter Marriage may just be the way to go for them. But what about these relationships?
Speaking Point: For years, working with traditional married couples, I often heard that "getting away for a weekend" was a solution of stress relief and rekindling of their feelings for one another. It often worried me because these couples still had to come home together and deal with everyday life. Hmmm...but with Commuter Couples, they have the benefit of the weekend rekindle, without the stress of everyday life together. Or do they?
Speaking Point: All marriages have conflict, and all marriages need to protect the energy of the love between the two, so the rituals of weekends together seem awesome. It's the weekdays and nights that seem to be of concern. Many Commuter couples feel pressure to "not spoil" the weekend together with venting about a conflict or dealing with personal issues of any kind.
Speaking Point: During the week, the contact via technology is nice, but these couples often talk about the loneliness they feel to have the other person there, to share the moments together, feel them close and have the shear presence of their partner with them. And of course if there are children, imagine the dynamics between when a parent is a single parent during the week, and having to share the parenting on the weekend.
Speaking Point: Successful Commuter marriages are couples who understand the limitations of their structure and find ritual ways to feel the other's presence during the week. They find ways to have open dialogue about stressful experiences and resolve conflicts. They make time for one another, even when they are preoccupied and tired. And they make their way back to one another for love, kindness and romance.
Speaking Point: Hey...wait a minute...they sound just like any other healthy married couple. So...I guess where they live and how they live is their business. Who are we to judge?