My home life is usually a pretty cool place to be. Last night, however, I got grief from my significant other for the time I spend away from it. I thought he was talking about my time in the dojo or gym or on my way to the dojo or gym as the class I take is two hours away and I also teach locally two nights a week. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that he was really complaining about the amount of time I spend with my training partner, Ed.
I met Ed about four years ago in the gym. Ironically, I'd happened to wear a t-shirt with a Goju fist on it that day (and that's ironic because I had never worn that shirt before and I haven't worn it since); since he'd just moved to our suburb from NYC and wasn't aware that there was a Goju dojo in the area, he saw my shirt and inquired about where I trained. His wife was on the treadmill next to him so I met her at the same time.
We've trained together ever since. We did forms and Ippons side-by-side every day for six months before our shodan grading. We left our old instructor/school together and have traveled the hour each way to get to class with our (now not-so) new instructor twice a week for the past two-and-a-half-years. We started a karate program for youngsters at the Salvation Army together and we teach side-by-side two days a week. He and his family have eaten at my dinner table and my family has eaten at his. Retired from a career in corrections, he was also my son's barber for quite a while and was one of the many people who helped teach him how to drive. Suffice to say he's very much like a brother to me.
So, yeah, I guess we do spend a lot of time together - karate time. I was the first one to congratulate him when we got the news he would be testing for nidan earlier this year and he was the first to console me when we knew I wouldn't be testing along side him - purely happenstance, as I was in class kneeling next to him when the announcement came. Our relationship is purely plutonic - or as another friend put it, karate-tonic. He's a good egg.
My honey, howeverer doesn't quite get this. Although he studied Judo as a kid and joined our class for a few months this summer, I'm not sure the idea of the never-ending pursuit of learning that is the martial arts makes sense to him. He does have other interests and understands athletic goals (he's a coach of a nationally ranked track team and still competes in the sport himself) but this martial path seems totally foreign to him. And I'm not quite sure what to do about that.
If you have a spouse or partner that is not a martial artist, how do they feel about the amount of time you spend teaching and learning? How do you deal with those feelings?