I’ve had this post as a draft for the last few months, not feeling that it was polished enough to post. It’s a sensitive topic that requires precise wording, and I’m not sure if I’ve captured it right (so don’t be too harsh with your feedback!). But in the last few weeks, life seems to be pointing me back to this topic….so I’m giving it another try.
When I first got married, my husband was my life; as is probably true for most newlyweds.
Recently, I’ve been noticing that it seems to not be a newlywed thing, but a woman thing.
A friend of mine was offered a great work opportunity. Upon finding out that it would cut into her scheduled date nights with her boyfriend, she asked him how he felt about her taking the position and missing out on that time together.
I don’t judge her for asking, I did the exact same thing when Jeremy and I first got married (see my pervious post about passing on study abroad opportunities in college)
Now I look back on those times, and on my friends current situation, with frustration. Frustration that women are so relationship focused that our careers come second to men.
Being considerate of others feelings is a wonderful thing. Working on your relationship is a great priority to have. But at what point does it become a detriment to our own success?
This topic came up with my friend, and then again a few days later when I was meeting some new wives on base.
I was discussing with some other wives the question of if they stay with their spouses until the final good-bye of deployment; when they get on the bus and drive away.
I shared that at my husband’s first deployment I stayed until he left, but at this second, I dropped him off and then went home…because I had to work very early in the morning and he wasn’t going to depart until 2 or 3 in the morning.
A spouse commented that “I should have called into work”
This comment stuck with me, because it so clearly echoed the conversation I had with my friend just days before.
I’m not saying that I don’t treasure those last moments with my husband before he leaves for deployment. There is nothing wrong with trying to rearrange my schedule to be there for him. He would do the same for me; and he has, when he asked for permission to come home from a training mission for the day so he could be at my graduation.
But the idea that I should call into work, that it’s selfish to not sacrifice my career for time with him, chafes me. The idea that I shouldn’t work evenings, because I don’t want to miss out on time with him before he deploys. The idea that my friend should base her decision on taking a new work opportunity on her boyfriends schedule.
The idea that my time and my goals as a woman are less important than my partners.
There was a time in my life when spending time with my husband was the most important thing to me; above my friends, my own hobbies and interest and my job.
Maybe my friend is still at that place. Maybe some women never leave that place (and that works for them). Maybe our culture and expectations of women, work and relationships will never evolve.
But for me, that’s a place that I’ve left behind. My husband and my marriage is still one of the most important things to me, but it’s balance with the other parts of my life that I value; it’s no longer the sole focus of my life.
I heard a quote in a movie trailer recently (I can’t remember the movie now) from the female lead to her male partner: “you are the life in my ‘life story'”
At first, I thought that was romantic (which goes to show how much our culture has impacted my views of women and relationships). But then I realized how messed up that quote really is.
I am the life in my life story: my marriage, my career, my family, my friends