Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Rowing Together

Two such as you with such a master speed
Cannot be parted nor be swept away
From one another once you are agreed
That life is only life forevermore
Together wing to wing and oar to oar.

-Robert Frost

Last week I worked ten and twelve hour days. It was hard, but it was good. It felt good to use my brain and contribute to a team and carry a project. I felt significant, which is something unemployment takes from you.

There was a cost though. I was home very little and when I was, I was spent. Chuk had to pick up the slack. He made dinner every night. He washed the dishes. He picked me up from metro when I got in late. He washed my clothes and cleaned the cat’s litter box. All this while he has a full-time job too.

Gay marriage was legalized in the District last Wednesday which has me thinking about the meaning of words like commitment and marriage and partner. To me, the best part of marriage is the partnership.

1. a person who shares or is associated with another in some action or endeavor; sharer; associate.
2. Law. a person associated with another or others as a principal or a contributor of capital in a business or a joint venture, usually sharing its risks and profits.
4. a husband or a wife; spouse.
5. either of two people who dance together: my favorite partner in the waltz.
6. a player on the same side or team as another: My tennis partner was an excellent player.
7. partners, Nautical. a framework of timber round a hole in a ship's deck, to support a mast, capstan, pump, etc.

Not long after Chuk and I started dating, I moved from a house I shared with a roommate to my own apartment. Chuk helped me move. The hardest part was a new couch I had bought that was in a box. We had to get it off the truck, into the elevator, off the elevator, down the hall, through the front door, and into the living room.

It was hard. The couch was heavy and difficult to maneuver. I often wanted to put it down, but didn’t because it was a two-person job and the only way we’d get to where we needed to be was if I held up my end. We both bumped into walls and our fingers pinched along the way, but if we communicated, we made progress.

Once we finally got the couch in to place, we talked about how that process was the perfect metaphor for our relationship. The box even had a warning sticker on it that said “Team Lift” which has been our name for ourselves ever since. Whenever our relationship gets tough, I visualize myself holding up one side of the couch.

I don’t know what Chuk visualizes during our tough times, or even if he visualizes anything, but I do know that no matter what he shares in my endeavors, in their risks and profits. He is my spouse and we dance together; we are on the same team, and he gives me support when I need it.

I’m grateful to have a partner at my side. I’m grateful we’re going through life “together wing to wing and oar to oar.”


  1. lovely lovely lovely. I think it's great you have a metaphor and a name for your partnership - that is real marriage glue! And what a gift to live with a person who CAN pick up the slack and not whine or be selfish about the situation. I'm afraid I tend towards this latter behavior, and your post makes me want to do better. Thank you.

  2. Team Lift. I love it. Thank you!!


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