We’ve only been married 3.5 years, so we haven’t been through too many trying things in our marriage and I am by no means an expert, but today I’m going to let you in on the hardest thing I’ve dealt with as a wife to date.
About 2 years ago, Zach got offered a job. A really good job. A job that he was really interested in. A job that would benefit his career a great deal.
A job that would pack us up and move us to Alaska.
From the beginning I didn’t want to go. There were a lot of reasons for that decision….some legitimate and some not so legitimate (“I can’t live somewhere colder/darker than here!”) And that was the first time that being a wife ever really felt difficult to me. I did not want to go. Zach wanted to explore the option and I knew that I was no longer an independent individual making choices that only benefited me. I was a partner to someone else who had his own dreams, hopes, and ideas about his future.
Zach didn’t realize what a big deal exploring this option was for me and I made a bigger deal than I needed to about it. It was brought up and I kind of pushed it out of my mind. One morning, while we were getting ready for work, Zach mentioned that this potential boss wanted to take us out to dinner that weekend to go over some of the details.
Being the overly emotional person that I am, I accused Zach of being insensitive and “throwing this at me at the last-minute!” and then I started crying. I got to work, walked into a coworker’s room and said, “We’re supposed to have dinner with that guy about that Alaska job on Friday night and I don’t want to go.” And then I started crying some more. My coworker (and friend) immediately came over and gave me a hug. Then I uttered these honest words, “I don’t know how to be a wife in this situation.”
I remember that feeling like it was yesterday. Nobody else could make the decision for us, it was entirely up to us. The thing that was the hardest for me was that I knew my husband and I knew without a doubt that if this opportunity had come his way and I hadn’t been around, he would have taken it.
He is not afraid of things the way that I am. He is not attached to things like I am. And things like packing up, selling a house, and hauling all of our stuff for hundreds of miles to a new destination would excite him, not worry him. He and I are as opposite as two people can be when it comes to that.
I knew he would go if he didn’t have me. Was that enough of a reason to go, though? Were my concerns out of fear and selfishness or were they my gut telling me this is not the right thing to do?
I couldn’t decide. Zach would say, “Just tell me what you want and we can go from there.”
“I don’t want to go” would be my reply, followed by, “but I don’t necessarily thing that it means we shouldn’t.”
That was the big dilemma. Big choices like that, we learned, have less to do with want and more to do with timing and seeing that it would be the right thing for us in the long-term. But how can you tell what will be right in the long-term?
We prayed. We fasted. We prayed some more. We talked to family. We had dinner with the potential boss man. I asked maybe too many questions and maybe the wrong questions. I thought maybe the boss man was annoyed by my inquiries. We got into the car and I apologized to Zach, “I’m sorry, I think I made you look bad. I’m too much sometimes.”
Zach’s reply was, “Are you kidding? You make me look better than anything on a resume ever could. Just having you with me makes me look like I’m worth something.”
And then I cried for totally different reasons and I hugged Zach and I remembered something…I would follow him to the ends of the earth…I just might need some sunshine every once in a while.
It calmed me down a bit and I felt better about the decision we were faced with. We continued praying and fasting. Two members of our families (one from each side ironically) told us the same thing, “If you’re having this hard of a time deciding, I would chalk it up to being a stupor of thought and do with that as you should…”
And that’s how we made our choice. There was no clear answer and so that was our answer.
It was a difficult and trying time. We both were worried about one another and were worried about the magnitude and impact our choice would have.
Luckily the offer went to someone else after all and even though we had decided not to go, we felt better that it wasn’t our choice that ultimately made the decision. The boss man told us that he had prayed about it, too. He didn’t feel right about it for us either. And we appreciated that.
Learning how to put aside my own desires and consider my husband’s with an open mind when I had a completely different idea about what I wanted was one of the most challenging things I’ve had to do thus far. I felt a great weight upon my shoulders and I’m sure Zach felt the same way.
Through that experience, I also learned a lot about trying times in a marriage. Once I realized that I would follow my husband anywhere and in marrying him I had hoped of a life full of adventure, I was able to think a little more clearly. It was still hard. Harder than I can even put into words, but I was able to be more thoughtful as I focused on the love I have for Zach, rather than focusing on the things I would be missing if we made either choice.
If we went: I’d miss my family, my house, the sun, my job, my comfort zone, etc…If we went: We’d have to sell the house, move to Alaska (expensive), try to find a home (super expensive), and I’d have to find a new job. I focused on all the things that made me nervous.
On the flip side, if we didn’t go: We’d miss a guaranteed incredible salary for Zach and for our future, Zach would miss out on invaluable training, we may miss out on an incredible opportunity to grow stronger as we lived alone somewhere away from family, and quite frankly: maybe we were meant to be in Alaska for some reason. What if that was the case? What then if we chose to stay?
I was focusing on what I saw as the negative aspects for either choice rather than focusing on the exciting things about both and ultimately focusing on the love and excitement that marriage offers, even when it’s a scary kind of excitement. Once I shifted my thinking to, “I love this man and we will do whatever is best for us and we’ll do it together!” I was at so much more peace.