First thing’s first: we are not a typical couple. As you very well know by now, Shaun and I are in a long distance relationship while I’m attending law school. Right now, we live about 2 and a half hours apart. We try to see each other approximately every other week, but that’s about the maximum amount of face time that our schedules will allow us right now. A lot of times, that really sucks.
He’s here. (Source)
I’m here. (Source)
When we first made the decision to get married in 2012 (as opposed to 2014 after I’m finished with school), the plan was that we’d be living together by now. Or at the very latest by the time the wedding rolled around. The plan was for Shaun to find a job down here and for him to move so we could begin our lives together by actually living together. The hard truth is that sometimes we all have to make decisions we don’t like.
In all likelihood, Shaun won’t be moving. I don’t have to tell you what the job market is like right now. When we started planning over a year ago, I think we were both hoping that it would be better by now, or at least on the upswing. Unfortunately, it’s really not. So while he will continue looking in the hopes that he’ll be able to join me down here, there is a huge possibility that we’ll continue our long distance relationship after the wedding. From a practical standpoint, it just doesn’t make sense to give up a good job that pays well for no job at all. Given those options, it’s really not hard to choose. The plan is to have two apartments: one in Green Bay that will function as our “home base,” and a tiny apartment on campus down here for me to live in during the week. I’ll go to school Monday through Thursday or Friday (depending on my schedule) and make the commute home on the weekends. Ideally, that would give us 4 days apart and 3 days together each week. It’s not a great solution, but it might be the best one we have right now. We’ll make due for two years while I finish up school (hopefully with an entire summer together if my 2L job ends up being at a firm in Green Bay or Appleton), and then I’ll work on finding a job…at which point in time we’ll talk about where we’re going to settle down and the possibility of moving to a new place together for my paycheck, wherever that may be. At that point, though, at least I’ll have an income to offer our little family.
Honestly, this is never what I pictured “married life” would be like for me when I was a little girl dreaming about my future husband. I know a lot of people who think we’re crazy. I know a lot of people who think it would be better if we postpone the wedding. I even know a lot of people who think we’re doomed for divorce. But they don’t know us.
We’re a strong couple. We know that with hard work, open communication and a lot of gas money, phone calls, texts and Skype sessions, we’ll be alright. Our less than ideal situation isn’t permanent, and that makes a big difference. This isn’t the path that many soon-to-be-married or newlywed couples take, that’s for sure. But what I’ve learned through this whole decision making process is that no one gets to define your marriage except for you. We’re willing to do whatever it takes, and that’s what matters.
So our marriage is starting out on a compromise. We’re compromising our ability to see each other every day for a steady paycheck. That may not seem very romantic or fit with a “love conquers all” view of the world, but because I’m not earning any money right now, it’s important that we have enough income to get by. Unfortunately, that burden falls on Shaun right now because of where I am in my education. Does this make me feel awful? Yes. Does it go against every feminist bone in my body to be relying solely on my husband to support me for the first two years of our marriage? Sort of. But we know that this less than ideal situation for now is putting us in a better position for the future.
Pretty heavy stuff for the day that marks our 5-month milestone until the wedding. But despite everything, we’re happier together now than we’ve ever been. We can’t wait until the wedding, and to begin our married life together, no matter if that life is something that other people cringe at. We couldn’t be more thrilled at the prospect of being man and wife.