House, Husband and I

How I ended up being married to House as well as Husband

The stamp in my passport that forms my Visa details my occupation as “Housewife”.

I take no umbrage with this. It is technically correct and it’s nice to see a role I value recognised in print. It is still, however, something I feel worthy of comment: ‘Housewife’ was never an occupation I pursued, just as I imagine ‘Househusband’ was never an occupation that J discussed with his career’s advisor.

One of the reasons ‘Housewife’ was not something I aspired to be was because I lack many of the skills required: I am not good at the routine required. I do not enjoy multi-tasking. In some situations, l Iack a certain amount of common sense.

I enjoy the right now, not the constant planning ahead. I enjoy a certain amount of public recognition, not the inherent worth of keeping things quietly ticking over.

This disposition is not conducive to a happy marriage with your house.

J lacks these skills too and, a long time ago, for either of us to have entered into matrimony with our home would not have felt merely like an arranged marriage, but a marriage that we were shoved towards against our will.

Perhaps my shoes were not as sensible as J’s at the time. Perhaps I was more tired from the bearing of the children. Whatever the reason, life found me the easier target and dragged me to the alter and before I knew it, I was House’s wife as well as J’s.

Over the years, and despite a rocky start, House and I have slowly, sometimes painfully, and often while lying on the floor crying found our way together.

We now rub along well and I’d go as far as to say as I find a great deal of pleasure in hanging out with House. House is important to me. I want to care for House and I want others to care for House as much as I do.

I have learned that if I stick to a routine and give House a substantial chunk of my time that House likes to take care of me, too. I will have an abundance of food in the fridge, a meal plan. I will have crisp sheets on the bed and everyone will find clean pants in the morning. The filing is done and the kids’ school bags are easily packed.

The floors don’t crunch between my feet. The ants don’t stick to the porridge on the sides. Heck, there ARE no ants, because I’ve cleaned House’s front steps.

In exchange for a large chunk of my time, House wraps himself around me and makes me feel warm and comforted and like we have the kind of relationship where you can easily invite friends or family over. Who wouldn’t want to come over and hang out with House and me? We’re so good together!

J is, quite rightly, growing suspicious of my relationship with House and I can’t blame him for sometimes coming across as if he is trying to come between us.

I can feel House abruptly yet almost imperceptibly withdraw his gentle embrace as J walks through the door and a sock is chucked here, papers strewn there, pots are half-heartedly soaked and wet washing is left to fester.

House deserves better than this.

Sometimes, against my better judgement, I leave House and J for a while assuming that they will have the civility to rub along OK. However, when I return and House sheepishly opens his door, I see how sad and neglected House looks. Meanwhile, J looks despondent, head buried in paid work, a puzzle, a book — anything to distract himself from House.

I gently wipe House down and smooth away his creases as I wonder if that excursion — that ‘treat’ — was really worth it, given the pain it has clearly caused both the husbands in my life.

I wonder while sweeping up the remains of the food that I cooked for the family for them to enjoy without me if I should actually be spending this time being gentle with J and smoothing away his cares. But who will clean up the mess if I spend more time with J?

Not House, that’s for sure.

There was a time when I hoped that House and J and I were open-minded enough, liberal enough, big-hearted enough to face life as a threesome. House wouldn’t be mine at all. He’d be ours.

Instead, I find myself torn between my two husbands.

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