An interesting thing happens in Maine every November. Men abandon their wives by the thousands. They believe they are exercising their right to go hunting, getting together with the guys as part of their declaration of independence, flexing macho muscles in preparation for killing wild game and dragging it home.
What they don’t know is that despite their protestations women are looking forward to this month of scant togetherness and men are contributing to the longevity of their marriages.
Being together twelve months of the year can be intense.
Let’s peek into the living room of Huntley and Diane to catch a glimpse of how their annual marriage bail out transpires.
Huntley: I’ve got to call Ron so we can start making our plans to go upta huntin’ camp.
Diane: (trembles with joy) Oh, you plan to go again this year?
Huntley: (misinterprets her trembling and is ready for a fight) Yes, did you have something to say about it?
Diane: (meekly) No.
Huntley: (chest puffed out) I didn’t think so. Now, I’ve got some menu planning to do.
Diane: (sighs) Me too. It is so hard to cook for one. (She opens her Yelp app and types in “fine dining.”)
Huntley: (feels generous) Why don’t you treat yourself to a large Pat’s pizza? That could last you for several days.
Diane: (smiles while clicking a reservation on OpenTable for six at Brahma Steak House) Good idea! Maybe I’ll invite a few of my friends over.
Huntley: (pats her on the head) That’s my girl. I like the way you make the best of things. I’d feel bad about you eating some frozen dinner, while I am eating chili and drinking Budweiser with the guys.
Diane: (envisions a gas-free home and a juicy steak) Oh, don’t worry about me. I’ll manage.
Huntley: (with empathy) It will be hard for you to spend all your evenings alone.
Diane: (martyr face while checking her Rotten Tomatoes app for chick flicks) I’ll probably just go to bed early most nights.
Huntley: I hope you can sleep okay.
Diane: (imagines the bed all to herself) Well, I have some Ambien if I run into any trouble.
Huntley: You know I don’t like it when you take that! You’ve done some crazy things on that knockout drug. Like the time you woke up with snickers wrappers all over the bed and you drove to the store and bought beef jerky.
Diane: (senses he is worried about her and might shorten his trip) I was just kidding. I flushed those down the toilet last week.
Huntley: Well that’s a relief. Why don’t you pick up some Tylenol PM?
Diane: (thinks of her appointment at a day spa): What a great idea. I think that will definitely help me relax.
Huntley: (confident now) I am feeling so good about the plans you’ve made, I might just stay a couple of extra days.
Diane: (gives herself a high-five) Well, if you really think you need to, I guess it would be okay with me.
Living proof of its effectiveness
As a kid, I remember the whiff of freedom that drifted into our home as my father packed up the pickup and headed into the north woods. My mother didn’t literally kick up her heels in glee, but I knew she was relieved to have some respite from daily routines and expectations.
Mom and Dad celebrated 70 years of marriage in 2007 and I believe Dad’s annual hunting trip contributed to their decades of devotion. To my mother’s credit, Dad thought his only trophy was the 10-point buck tied atop the Dodge when he wheeled back into the driveway.
Points to ponder
I realize more and more woman are taking up hunting and I’m all for it, especially if it gives her time away from the everyday grind of keeping a family and full time job afloat.
But what about the couples who adopt this hobby together? Is it really wise for two people on edge to march into the woods bearing arms?
Has an annual separation played a role in the success of your marriage? How do you fill those lonely hours?