My husband and I have been married close to 10 years now. When we married both of our lives were headed down very rocky roads (a story for another day). God definitely had a hand in our union as Ryan and I joined lives and became one.
Learning to live with a perfect stranger, which he was at the time, was as much a learning experience as it was an adventure. Not only have I learned how to do laundry, cook and clean, I have also learned that my husband loves Jalapenos. His favorite past time is camping and he can bake a mean homemade pizza. He loves people and he is the life of any party. He is funny, goofy, and will make a joke and get me laughing to spare a fight.
What I have also learned is that he is a do-er. He wants to get things done. He is a family man more than anything else and he takes his God given roll as our protector very seriously. Not understanding this about him has moved me to frustration many times. You see, I am a recovering complainer. Complaining makes me feel better and so I do it every time I am feeling sad, sick, tired, or frustrated. I was quite sad and tired for about a year of my life. I wasn’t depressed by any means, I just missed home because we had moved and I had a hard time adjusting without my church family and my dear sister. Without coming out and saying it I did blame him. My husband had made the choice to stay in the Navy which caused us to have many more moves ahead of us.
I started to complain about everything. I never had a good day and when I did I declined to tell him about it. I made an effort to find something to complain about when he asked me how my day was. Complaining became a habit, something I did without even thinking about it. I didn’t want to make him feel bad, I just wanted him to know that I was not happy where we were. I guess I just wanted him to turn back time and change his decision.
I was very selfish. I never thought about how my unhappiness might be effecting him or my kids. My dear husband, who was struggling in a Navy school trying to make a better living so he could support the ever growing family he was completely devoted to, was met with ill will and discontent after each hard days work. The decision he made to leave our beloved Carolina home to continue in his Navy career was not made selfishly. He made this decision with a prayerful heart and us in mind. He knew that as long as he was in the military his family would be taken care of. A guaranteed paycheck, free medical care, and family resources at every turn was hard to pass up, even if it meant working a job with impossible and ungodly people, leaving for extended periods of time, and dealing with a schedule that doesn’t always permit families. What a tremendous amount of responsibility he has to carry, and then with the added job of trying everything to satisfy the wife he dearly loves – he must have been stressed to the max!
I am not really sure how, when, or why I came around. Maybe it was when I dove deeper into my Bible studies, or maybe when it was when I noticed the stress he carried leaving its mark on his physical body. He was tired, sluggish, and very quiet. He stopped laughing as much and was short tempered with the kids. Although he would never admit it, it started to appear like he didn’t want to be home with us anymore.
No matter what it was, I knew something had to change.
I sought at first to try to change him. I would ask him all kinds of questions about how he was feeling; That maybe we should have stayed in Carolina and he would have been happier. Maybe he should think about dropping out of the program. We never fought about it, it was just conversation. I was trying to find something in him. I was seeking his happiness. It was quite a while before I realized that I was holding his peace captive in my own unhappiness.
No, I am not under the assumption that you should blame other people for your actions or re-actions. My husband NEVER blamed me for his period of restlessness. To this day, it has never been deeply discussed. However, I know that I did not play a helpful roll in taking some of the stress off of his shoulders. All I did was put fuel on the fire of voices in his head saying “you made a horrible mistake, look at what you have done to your family, all this work is for nothing, you are failing at your #1 most important job, you have caused your family to suffer”.
Wow! Those kinds of convictions would put stress on ANY man who is trying to do best for his family. And blessed that we are, our year of uneasiness passed quickly. Ryan asked me once, after asking about my day and hearing my “poor me” response, if I was just going to mope and pout forever. There was a mix of such sadness and irritation in his voice and it was at that moment that it dawned on me that I needed to change ME, not HIM for the betterment of our family. Over the next few months I struggled with complaining. I would catch myself telling him how horrible my day was so I would try to add something like “but…. ” and would desperately search for something good to say. I still have complaining issues. I am a recovering complainer so I am always tempted to unload my frustrations on him. He doesn’t mind it every once in a while and I know that I always have him to turn to when I really need an ear to listen to me. Being the do-er that he is he desperately wants to fix what is wrong, be my godly protector, and I have learned that if it isn’t fixable I might not need to say anything. Complaining is okay, in careful moderation.
So, my new idea of wife-ing ~ Do what I can for my man! I love him, pray for him, feed him, keep the house tidy (okay, I am not super great at that one, but I try), I tell him how happy he makes me all the time, and I try to take care of the little things so that the big things don’t seem so bad.
That short season in our marriage didn’t seem like a big deal at the time. Looking back, however, I see it in an entirely different light. Our marriage was never on the edge or ruin but our spirits were beginning to grow apart. How uneasy it makes me to think where that could have led. Thank the Lord for His hand in our lives!
We truly do have a blessed marriage!
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