30.3.06

In praise of my husband

My wonderful genius husband gets up and goes to work everyday even though he doesn’t want to, even though he is tired and sick and his back won’t stop hurting and it is raining out side and he has to work in it. “Nuff said” except there’s more.

When I first got married I fully expected to pull my weight in the income department for a while. My solid mid-western upbringing allows me no rest if I’m not “contributing”. Add to this the conflicts I viewed between my father and mother over the fact that she chose to stay at home and care for us, and he chose to follow his dream of becoming a professional artist by starting a studio in our basement, and the very little money that resulted. I’m proud of my mom for sticking to her guns and making her kids priority, and I’m proud of my dad for pursuing his dreams, I just wish I hadn’t had to live through to sometimes hell that resulted from our pecuniary situation and the way they both despised each other because of it. My mom eventually caved and started working after my little sister was born, before she started school, I know that it torments her to this day to think that some of my sister’s problems are from that time when she was shucked into questionable childcare. (We couldn’t afford anything good.) My dad just assumed my mother was selfish and expected him to take care of her all of the time rather than working full time to support his drawing habit.

Enter a baby 6 months into my own marriage; imagine my mental state when I thought about money. It was my MILly who sat down with me one day as I was trying to figure out how I could finish midwife training and apprenticeship with a newborn so that I could make enough money to support us both if we should need it and took my hands in hers and forced me to listen to her.

While firmly but gently holding my gaze she spoke into me so that it penetrated, “Your job from now on is this baby. You will be the one who takes care of it at night you are the only one who can do this job. This is the job that God has given to you to do. Aaron’s job is to figure out how to make money to take care of you both. The men in this family have been raised to expect to support their wives and children. Aaron knew what he was getting into when he married you. He chose this and he has been trained to do what is right and to support his wife and children however he can.”

At this point I burst into sobs, which lasted a good twenty minutes.

But I had only partially accepted what she told me. I tried to do a stay at home business, which was fun and worked for while. I taught piano lessons. With only one child I was actually able to contribute and help as my husband went to graduate school without compromising as a parent. Then came two. I was no longer contributing; I was no longer able. I felt useless, afraid, BURDENSOME. I suffered from postpartum depression.

My husband has never once abandoned his responsibilities to me, or our children. Though I know he’s wished he could. He has kept us clothed and fed while working on a graduate degree, he has chosen carefully and responsibly in all of his decisions to make sure that we are taken care of. He has postponed several of his dreams in order to make sure of this.

I have finally stopped feeling guilty about marrying him and causing him all of this difficulty. Don’t laugh. I really have felt guilty, though he’s said nothing to make me feel that way. I have finally accepted that what his mother said is true. He chose this, and bless him he’s standing by his choices. And I’ve realized that even if he was single and free of responsibility he would still face the same kind of challenges in the same areas and would have to grow the same way, just through different means.

Sometimes I see him checking out ticket prices to Asia. I know he’s not dreaming about a family trip. He loves to travel, to get up and go and be somewhere else. He hasn’t done this in six years, even though I’ve encouraged him, it would be financially irresponsible he says. He has a gift for writing and thinking and teaching, and he builds houses for people because he makes so much money doing that that to change and start out in a new field would be quite the blow to our pocketbook, perhaps insupportable. He comes home too tired at the end of the day to study or write, or even read some days, and yet he rarely complains. His body is breaking from the years of swinging a hammer and his spirit is tired and sometimes despairs because he is not doing what he loves or is made for. But he gets up and goes back every day.

I am extremely fortunate to have found a man like this. I ‘m amazed that I find anything to complain about, ever. (Well there are the dirty works clothes lying all over the place every night but really I’ll just shut up now.) We have never had a fight; he is too level headed for that. We have discussions where he listens to me blub, and then asks if I want advice or just a hug. I am constantly asking him if he’s angry with me, guilty conscience? He usually isn’t, though sometimes I finally drag out of him that he was a little bit irritated a while ago but figured it was silly for him to be so didn’t say anything. The meanest thing he has ever done to me is not talk to me very much for a while because he didn’t want to expose me to the depression or whatever he was dealing with. (Which felt very mean at the time.)

I know he’s not perfect, better than most people. I know his weaknesses and the things he struggles with, and that is why I am even more grateful for him because I see how he deals with them and how he functions in spite of them, and how he loves me still even though he sees mine.

I trust him completely. I know he would never leave. I hope and pray every day that he figures out how to do what he was made for and take care of us at the same time. Some days I still try to figure out how to help him, to ease some of his burden. I think it’s possible if I’m creative enough. But thanks to him I’m not doing it because I’m afraid or guilty anymore, simply because I love him and feel truly blessed to have been chosen by this man.

Until I figure it out I will write long mushy blogs about how cool he is and how proud of him I am. Any one have any ideas?

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous12:29 PM

    well Carrien you hit the nail on the head for what it means to be married. Truely it is a beautiful thing when two people can be different, messed up, complicated, weird and still the best part of the day is curling up beside each other at night and breathing in the satisfaction that we are really wanted by the other. Hurray! What a great gift God has given. Love, Atara

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