April 6, 2010

Proud Wife

The last several months have been in a state of chaos. We have hit as close to rock bottom financially as I EVER care to get. We have been stressed out over jobs and life in general. We have fought, we have cried, we have thrown our hands up in despair.

But through it all, I can tell you that I have always been a proud wife. I am proud of the man I married for continuing to do what it takes to make our family work. There was a time at the end of last year that The Man decided he could no longer go without a job. He started calling the local restaurants to see if he could wait tables, do dishes...clean toilets. He was willing to do whatever it took to bring in the money we needed to make ends meet. I am proud of him for recognizing that sometimes it's not about what we want to do, but what we need to do.

He took a job that was a 60% pay cut and huge hit to his pride. But he understood that what mattered was that he provided for his family in any manner that he could.

He put his family first...because that is how it should be.

Growing up, The Glass Lady (aka my mom) married a man. A man that when she met him seemed like he had potential. They were both attending a trade school in the evenings, he had a job, and he took an interest in her. I'm not real sure of the timeline for this story, but regardless, he stopped working. Flip a couple of pages and she gets pregnant. Flip another page or two and he decides that he will just stay home with the baby instead of getting another job. Flip a few chapters and he still isn't working...at all. The baby, she is now a little girl. Me...I'm a teenager and about to start my own book. But what I witnessed in this part of my mom's story is what I wouldn't have in my life.

I watched him take over and drain the life out of my mother. I watched as how she slowly pushed away those that were in her life, friends and family, because...well, maybe because she was ashamed of him. Maybe because she was consumed with her love for him and wanted to make him happy. But I watched how because of him not working, made him a hermit. It made him become someone that had no interacation with people outside of the house. It made him angry and mean. It made him mean to her, mean to me...It made her begin to hate him.

Little by little, she resented him, she hated him, she wanted out of this relationship and eventually she escaped.

Was this because he didn't get a job? maybe, maybe not. But I can tell you that as a child in the middle of this and observing. It made me realize that when I grew up there were some things that were non negotiable for me.

My husband must treat me with respect.
My husband must love me unconditionally.
My husband must provide for his family.
My husband must be an active participant in our family.
My husband must be a kind hearted person.

These are the things I learned from my mom.

So now...in my story, several months ago...my husband left his job. We made the decision together. We looked at the facts and situation we were presented with and made a decision that was best for our family. Four months after he left his job...he was still without a job. But he knew that he had to do SOMETHING to start bringing in money. Because for him to sit at home every day and do nothing was absolutely unacceptable.

I sometimes wonder, for someone like the man who married my mother, when does it become ok to not work? What makes it ok to not contribute to your family? What makes it ok to not be an active player in your family?

I won't get biblical...because I don't know it enough to start spouting it off...but I am pretty sure that The Plan was for the husband to provide for his family.

In my world...that doesn't mean that the wife doesn't work and just the man does. In my little world, that means that they both work. They both contribute. It is a partnership. It is a joint effort. Who cares which one of you makes more money? Who cares if you are rich or poor? What does matter??

What matters is that you are doing it together.

Are you a partner in your marriage? Or are you someone that has decided it's ok for the other person to carry the weight of the world...plus your baggage too?

I have watched many people in my life isolate themselves and become the people they swore they would never become. I have watched marriages fall apart because of this. I have watched as children learn to resent their parents for this. I have watched as important people in my life...slowly slip away from the people they are.

But I am proud to tell you...my husband is one of the admirable ones.

My husband treats me with respect.
My husband loves me unconditionally.
My husband provides for his family.
My husband is an active participant in our family.
My husband is a kind hearted person.

I am very blessed and very proud of the person that he is.

And my heart breaks for those that aren't married to their best friend. Life is too short to be married to someone who doesn't support you in everything you do, or treats you in a manner that is unacceptable, or who is just along for the ride.

My wish is that we can all take a step back and re-evaluate what is truly important in our lives. I know that neither The Man or I want to work every day for the rest of our lives...but I also know that we will do what is necessary to have the life that we want, hand in hand.

My wish is that if you are married...you are walking hand in hand with your life partner and taking an active role in the story you are creating. If you aren't...you story isn't done.

Just turn the page and start a new chapter. Life is too short.

1 Comment:

Trial and Error said...

Thank you for letting people like me read this. My father, also was a leech off my mother. Moreover, he abused her physically and mentally. To this day, she is still bitter and withdrawn. It's a pity she hasn't sought out professional help. When I got married, my wife worked in the Air Force as I did. We made the decision for me to finish college and work. I made almost as much as she did and we had a decent living. When I went back in the Air Force as an officer, she decided to quit working and more than that take a very small interest in what I did. She did attend holiday parties, Military Formals, award ceremonies or anything else. Over time, we have diverged from what was a happy, albeit not very intimate, relationship. We have three kids now and I tired of taking her for the ride. We have no intimacy and no semblance of a married life outside of living in the same house (sleeping in different rooms). I want to find my best friend even if she has 5 kids because you're right in your conclusions if you're creating your own story then everything will turn out better. Thank you, Tony in San Antonio (well, currently in Kabul, Afghanistan)