How a Dryer Saved My Marriage
Last winter, my dryer caught on fire. I was several months pregnant and home by myself doing laundry when I started to smell smoke. When I opened the dryer door, flames shot up into the basin. “Curses!” I exclaimed (in actual curse words) as I ran in search of something to quell the emergency. Luckily, several cups of water put the fire out and when my husband got home from work he dragged the machine to the curb lest it re-ignite in the night. The Pergo floor where the machine had sat is permanently burned, blackened, and bubbled up, and we lost a few t-shirts, but otherwise it was a minimal disaster.
For about 10 months I have been dryer-less, washing loads of laundry several times a week and hanging them on the indoor or outdoor line. The process of picking up the laundry, hanging each item of clothing, waiting for them to dry, then taking each piece down, folding them, and putting them away, has become an opportunity for everyday meditation and I have thoroughly enjoyed it; plus, it is a bonus for the environment and our wallet as we save electricity.
Over the course of these dryer-free months, my husband and I have been building the foundation of our marriage. We have shared good times and bad; gentle moments and times when our words have carried the weight and pain of a strong punch; we have in turns deliberated, triumphed, struggled, and rejoiced; watched the sun rise and set on all range of mood and attitude. We have worked to blend his life with his seven-year-old daughter into our fragile new relationship; and we have brought new life into the world in the form of a perfect baby girl. Through it all we furrow away at our selves, prying the tedious ego from the shining Self beneath. We’re seeking the true connection – that knowing of the oneness of all – that brought us together in the first place.
One ingredient has proven particularly important in the construction of this new life together: time. When we devote unstructured time to focus on each other and our relationship, we see it flourish and grow in ways unanticipated. Task-oriented and –rewarded by nature, I have had to learn to prioritize time doing “nothing” with my partner over checking items off of my to-do list. This is ongoing self-work for me as I reflect on what is really important and what will bring rewards in the long-term and not just the instant gratification of “getting it done.”
This morning I am having a dryer delivered and installed. My mom is a woman of the ‘60’s and her feminist sensibilities dictate machine assistance for all household tasks. As such, she has been hounding me to get a dryer since the old one bit the dust. After multiple debates between the two of us, she went ahead and bought one and had it sent to our house as a one-year anniversary gift to my husband and I. We welcome it with open arms.
The dryer will give the gift of time to my relationship – that desperately needed time to do nothing together, to open ourselves up to the winds of life and see where they carry us. What will we do with the extra 15 or so hours each week that aren’t consumed by laundry? Maybe we will: take a walk in the woods, meditate, bake a cake, volunteer at the homeless shelter, feed each other with our fingers at a candlelit dinner, throw a Frisbee, hug, make plans, take a trip. My imagination could have a field day. It’s got me looking for other ways I may open up time to create more space in my relationship and in my life. Given the gift of time… what would you do?
Allyse Sonnega is a dedicated yogini, educator, mother, vegan, and overall uplifting human being that provides great service to the world through her peaceful thoughts, words, and actions.