Four years ago when I was pregnant with my third child it was the most emotionally trying time of my life. I had just lost my mother to pancreatic cancer and I was overcome with a grief I had never experienced before. I had started a new job, which readily claims has a two year learning curve. I was hanging onto to life by the skin of my teeth. And the hubs stepped up and carried me and our family during that time. Our daughter was in 1st grade and our son was in pre-school and the hubs took over parental duties and household duties as I tried to pick up the pieces of my shattered heart.
It’s no exaggeration to say he did homework with our kids, gave them baths, put them to bed, and got them ready for school every morning, while the thought of even emptying the dishwasher was so overwhelming I could barely cope. He cooked our meals, he vacuumed, he did the laundry, he cleaned, scrubbed the bathrooms, did the grocery shopping, and gleefully gave me a foot rub whenever I needed it, even when I didn’t ask. He let me fall apart and he supported me as I got back up on my feet.The hubs has always done these chores, but we have always split them up equally. However, if one of us has ever had a bad day, we’ve picked up the slack for the other one. If one of us is anxious and stressed, the other occupies the kids so the stressed one can get some peace and quiet. If one of us needs a night out with friends or to play basketball (him) we support each other in our much needed down time. That’s just how we roll. But during that time, I was unable to contribute my share of our shared responsibilities. Did he complain? Did he moan? Was he resentful for having to take over so many things? Nope. I’ve always known that I married the most wonderful man that has ever lived, but during that time in my life he showed me the true meaning of unconditional love.
I’m not the biggest fan, but I agree with Dr. Phil when he says that marriage is not 50/50, it is 100/100. Each spouse has to give 100% of themselves to the marriage for it to be happy and successful. During this time in our lives, the hubs took my 100% and put in 200% of the effort. I’m sure I did empty the dishwasher, fold a few baskets of laundry, grocery shop, and other things…but I can’t remember if I did because I can’t remember that time very well. I think not remembering that awful time is a tender mercy.
During this time in my life, I was heavily pregnant with my largest child yet, and sitting in Relief Society (woman’s auxiliary meeting) and the teacher gave out pieces of paper and pencils and asked us to write down all the things we wished our husbands did for us but don’t. Then we had to share them. I sat and looked at my piece of paper and drew a blank. I couldn’t think of a single complaint I had against my husband. So instead, being the rebel I am, I wrote down all the things he does for me. Then the teacher had some people share what their lists said and it quickly became a bitch session about our husbands. It wasn’t exactly the spiritual experience I go to church for. So I raised my hand…maybe I stood up, I can’t remember. And I shared my list of all the things my husband does for me and my family. I believe I became emotional because I’m a cry baby anyway, but add pregnancy hormones and grief cells in my body, and let the waterworks flow. The teacher told me to hang on to my hubs because he is a keeper (I agree). I never intended to derail the lesson with gratitude for my husband instead of complaints, but no one can make me say anything bad about my husband.
A while later a woman in my ward (Mormon congregation) came up to thank me for changing the direction of the lesson because it really bothered her how quickly it became negative. That made me feel good, but I never wanted to discount the experiences of some of my sisters because I believe a lot of them had some very real complaints. Their experiences should be validated. I just had a different experience so I shared it.
I had a friend once who did nothing but complain about her husband. All I ever heard about him was what a selfish piece of crap he was. It got so bad I wondered why she was even married to the louse. And then I met him and he was not the ogre I had pictured. In fact she fawned all over him and acted genuinely in love with him. I was so confused. Where was this idiot I had heard so much about? It was then that I realized, I only ever heard the bad stuff. I didn’t hear about the make ups or the good stuff, so all her complaining had led me to believe he was a lousy husband. I made a promise to myself right then and there that I would never complain about the hubs to anyone (within reason…I mean if he was ever abusive, I would so complain). I never want anyone to think that the hubs is an awful person because of me. In fact, I want people’s opinions of the hubs to be elevated because of the things I say about him. And thankfully, he rarely gives me anything to complain about. And when I do have a complaint I address it directly to him, and he does the same for me.
So it doesn’t matter to me if I’m talking one on one with a friend, gathered in a gaggle of girlfriends, or sitting in Relief Society…you can’t make me say anything bad about my husband, because frankly, there’s nothing bad to say.
I don’t know why such a wonderful man has chosen to love me, with all my imperfections, impatience, and sarcasm, but he does. And I count that as my most miraculous blessing.
I love you, Casey.