Husband home early. I am excited to spend time together on this rare occasion, but forgot it’s online study night with another junior doctor. Off to bed I go.
Husband has day off work. Opportunity for me to work longer today. Hospital calls husband to remind him flu shots and OH&S course are due today and so he needs to come in to work. I am back on for school pick up.
Husband calls to say all annual leave has been cancelled at the hospital due to COVID-19. I reconsider school holiday plan.
Big day at my work, child asleep and I am getting ready for sleep. Husband comes home and asks if we can review his job application as it’s due tomorrow. Unseen jobs of the day.
Having dinner with friends and family. A plate is set at the table for my husband. Husband calls (sounds very tired) to say won’t be able to make it in time for dinner tonight.
Packing the car for a weekend adventure and the hospital calls 7 times to ask him to come into work that day because they have no staff.
SMS from husband: I will be home by 6pm. Home at 8:30pm and in great need of shower, food and debrief about work.
These moments have taught me to become adaptable and go with the flow. My own solid rhythm is paramount these days, otherwise disappointment and frustration come knocking. Trust me, I have tried to control it and wanted it to be another way and it doesn’t work.
A very wise woman once said to me: ‘Do you want to be right, or do you want to be love?’ I often ask myself this question … on a daily basis even. It gives me the opportunity to step forward in a way that makes it about everyone, equally, not just my wants. Not always easy to do consistently, but well worth it.
Because of these moments I now ask myself each time I support my husband in any way: ‘Is this what I truly want to do now without any expectation, reward or pay off?’ And if so, I go for it. If there is any want or need or expectation in return, I leave it. I consider this even when making extra food or putting washing away etc.
I know that doing things when it is not actually true for me to do them, leads to resentment and poison lurking in the relationship. A thing hanging around waiting for its repayment, an excuse to act out ill behaviours.
My husband often asks me where we would consider moving to for a job or specialist training. I ask us both: ‘Do we want a payoff for making the move if we say yes to this?’ If we are seeking a reward or something in return, then chances are it is not the true path for us.
When my husband leaves for work rushed and distracted and comes home stressed and exhausted, I used to feel so rejected and overlooked. I now see this was because I did not feel full in myself and needed his time and love. The more I build myself and love myself, from the inside out, I see the distractedness or stress as just that; it’s not directed personally at me, it’s not even my husband (for when he is himself, he is gorgeous) and so there is nothing to feel rejected about.
People often appreciate my support for my husband’s work role and I think back through the many years that have led me to this point. I have walked many steps that have asked me to make things more and more about what supports me and my family and less and less about what annoys me, gets under my skin, makes me feel hurt, and bring it back to the possibility of what he can bring to medicine if supported and reminded of who he truly is.
With my husband being at work so much during a week, I often spend time with other people and am very supported by them. Everyone I meet and spend time with supports me and this allows me to support my husband. We may look like we are doing it as a couple, but actually it is many, many people supporting us to stay steady as a couple, so we can bring all of who we are to the world.