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How to get along with your wife when you're a SkyJunkie

(Debby's comments are in Italics)

My wife Debby and I used to argue about my obsession with astronomy all the time. Especially when new moon weekend rolled around once a month. I tried the usual arguments, "Just be glad I'm not out drinking" or "I could have a really expensive hobby like a $15,000 fishing boat". I also tried to get her to come observing with me. That was a flop too. It doesn't interest her in the least. She does like Saturn though. (Who doesn't?)

I actually like Jupiter and the moon (especially Copernicus) too because you can SEE them! I just don't get the white blobs you people call star clusters. He also conveniently omitted my "usual response" of "You could also not have a wife anymore" to his "usual arguments".

So just about every time I wanted to go observing it turned into a fight. I remember a couple of times I actually considered selling the scopes and calling it quits to save the headaches.

He never told ME that or I probably would've taken him up on it!

Debby's main complaint was that I spent way too much time talking about, surfing the internet for, spending money on and practicing astronomy in the yard or at my club's dark sky site, and not enough time with her. I freely admit that I am obsessed with this silly hobby and I am always thinking and talking about it. So it was a real bone of contention between us since she had no interest at all.

He's lying about the no interest thing - see my first note - but he sure did remember the complaints.

Well, what we did may not be a viable option for most people. It has worked for Debby and I. I still can't get her to observe with me, but she no longer begrudges me my hobby.

Well, not NEARLY as much, anyway -but it helps tremendously to know that at least he cares enough to attempt to solve the problem.

I guess the only way to really get her into it is for us to buy an RV so she can get away when the dark and the bugs get boring for her. The solution for us was to address the main problems (not enough time together and too costly) in a direct manner.

Yes, direct is definitely the way to go.

Debby is a graphics and website designer. I dabble in it also. She has worked at home full time for a couple of years now. We both are very much into the Internet and computers. We each had our own computers and offices in the house. So when we were home we would be in separate rooms - her working and me playing on our respective computers.

Ya, "playing" would be the operative word here.

My first attempt at a solution to our problem was to knock out a wall between our offices and combine them into one large room. That way we spent more time "together". The second was for me to quit my job and work at home helping Debby with her workload (I'm not much help - I get the grunt work). Now we spend "all" of our time together. This has been the situation for a year now. I now have more time to spend with her, work on our house (I've done some major renovations), and do "the chores" (cooking, laundry, etc.).

Don't let him fool you. He only wants you to think he's a slave. I'm still waiting for the "major renovations" to be completed - which is always after he finishes the next scope. And he gets the "grunt work" because he's better at astronomy than he is at web design.

The final nail in the coffin of "my wife hates astronomy" was for me to make the hobby pay for itself so that I wouldn't have to hear the inevitable, "You're not gonna spend another dime on eyepieces and you're not gonna get another telescope unless you sell the ones you have already." So….

I'm sure I'm not the only astronomy widow that ever said that!

I've built truss tube scopes for a couple of buddies, allowing me to build one for myself for little or no money. I am now in the process of building scopes full time for anyone who wants one. So now the hobby can pay for itself and I can make a little money to boot.

Thank Goodness!!

Now Debby does not feel abandoned when I go observing or go off for 4 or 5 days for a star party. I get a nice, "Have a good time" when I leave instead of the old, "Well, why don't you just live up there with your %^$%# scopes." I can spend the money made on building scopes to pay for eyepieces and upgrading to larger, better scopes for myself so she can't say that I'm "wasting" the household money.

I really LIKE not being able to say that, too.

If your wife complains of you spending too much money and time in the hobby of Amateur Astronomy, spend more time with her. Listen to the reasons for her complaints. You may not be aware of how much time you devote to your hobbies. I realize quitting your job and building scopes is not something everyone is going to be able to do. But there IS an underlying reason why your wife is not happy and you should attempt to find out what it is. I'm not sure why astronomy seems to be such an obsessive hobby, but these types of problems seem to be quite common. My opinion is that money is probably the biggest issue, since arguing about money is one of the most common marital problems. There are more expensive hobbies, but astronomy is right up there at the top of the list if you strive for perfection in your equipment.

I'll never understand his obsession with astronomy but at least now I can deal with it a lot better.

My advice is, don't break the bank and don't hide purchases from your spouse. Trust me, that will that get you into BIG trouble. Lying is perhaps the best way to get into the doghouse. Boring your wife with talk about your scopes or eyepieces continuously is not recommended. Save it for your observing buddies - they're much more likely to appreciate it. Do what's expected of you before you go observing - put out the trash, fill her car with gas, do the laundry, wash the dishes, or whatever. Don't leave anything undone to tick her off while you're gone. Make an effort to be thoughtful - do something sincere to make her happy before you go.

YEAH! I agree with this part completely!

Last but not least, remember - she complains that you spend too much time with your scope because you probably talk about it more than you do about (or to) her, so she may be a little jealous and she misses you (if you're lucky). So give her so much time and attention she will be thankful for some peace and quiet once or twice a month and let you go observing. But don't do it just so you can get away, do it for her.

That sounds so sincere, doesn't it? But we all know you'll be doing it just so you CAN get away.

If all else fails buy an RV so she can have a sanctuary from the darkness and bugs while you do your thing. It's only money, right?

Isn't that a typical male question? But I think he definitely has a good idea about the RV , but he's gonna have to sell a lot of scopes for that.

Jim Nadeau

  • hidalgo, happylimpet, Zubenelgenubi2 and 2 others like this


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