EPH-no it’s not an acronym for a PH balance shampoo!
EPH stands for Ever Present Husband. Got one?
My (Joy’s) husband retired several years before me, patiently waiting for me to join him in this next phase of life. By the time I joined him in retirement, he was master of the home front.
He had always worked from the home and had taken the lead role in the chores that stay at home moms usually do — helping with homework, preparing meals, being the voice of reason when the kids fought with each other, taking the dog for walks.
I commuted daily and often stayed late in the office; so ours was not the typical scenario for suburban New York during the 80’s and 90’s. I was out of the house from early morning until evening.
So a career later and the fanfare of retirement gone — I came face to face with my EPH.
I had heard of women complaining that they couldn’t be alone anymore, that this person that they shared a bed with was always there, omnipresent. When you go to work everyday and only share weekends with this EPH, you don’t appreciate your space and independence. It’s just what you know as life.
I began to notice that my husband doesn’t have a lot of hobbies — no golf, no tennis, no gym rat is he. My EPH is an intellectual type who can linger on his laptop all day working on projects, broadening his knowledge base for the sake of learning.
I on the other hand have always been a transactional person, someone who needs to see the payback before I put the time into it. Black and white, so to speak. That’s why I was a good trader and a natural born salesperson. You buy a stock, you sell it, you book a profit. You have a sales quota, you achieve it, you earn a commission; you sell more than your quota and you earn a bigger commission! It’s so simple to see the payback, the fruits of your labor.
Naturally, my EPH and I entered into this retirement chapter quite differently, me Type A, and he, well, a letter further down the alphabet.
So, what do you do with this EPH?
The funny thing is that the EPH doesn’t know he’s an EPH. He doesn’t have anywhere that he needs to be and after all, it’s his house too. Retirement tends to create a level playing field so, at some point whether you were a CEO of a Fortune 500 company, an entrepreneur, a doctor, lawyer, Indian Chief, you just become an EPH eventually!
Today’s takeaway —
- Continue to have your independence — have lunch or dinner with friends, attend cultural activities, find and follow passions.
- Find common activities that you can do with your EPH. In our case, we have taken up hiking, getting those legs and arms moving; we’re talking inclines, intermediate to advanced hikes that make you catch your breath and sweat. All good and something we can do together until we can’t!
I also really never thought about it, but was I now an EPW? An Ever Present Wife? Admittedly, I have my own quirks, my annoying habits (albeit fewer than my EPH!) I have been selfish in only viewing life from my own looking glass. ‘It takes two to tango’, my mother always said and she was wise beyond her 1950’s housewife years.
I finally get it.
This is an opportunity to see each other in a new light — accepting our faults, but most importantly, reigniting that sparkle, that chemistry – with intentionality.
Go for it! You have the time!
Enjoy the ride!
xox, Barclay and Joy