Being single wasn’t a cake walk but it takes a little more effort on my part to be a wife. It adds another level to every decision I make. Sneaking treats at the gas station? That used to only screw up my own budget but now it affects more than just me. Sisters are going to Hawaii? Sister trips are now part of my good old days. Sure, Jake tells me to go if I want to but it seems like a selfish way to use vacation leave and our family’s savings. Sit on the couch and veg after work? Seems like a great idea but it squanders the few minutes a day I see my husband. Even if I’m not in the mood to appreciate the garden he just tilled or make him another packed lunch, vegging is a selfish way to spend the 20 minutes we are both at home and awake. I know the little effort I put into being Jake’s wife is a double effort for him being my husband.
But, of course, every day we try again. We try to be better. We enjoy the work of being together. The payoff of being together beats any single day I spent on my own. Pretty much.
Looking back, it took more work to become a wife than it takes to be one. It took making a conscience decision, and a lot of thought and purposeful effort to become a wife. I had to have an extreme paradigm shift. All of this even after I had met Jake. All of this even after I knew I loved him. And, even more when we decided together that we wanted to get married. The most concerted effort I put into becoming a wife was learning about myself.
What did I learn? Two things: 1 – I have a hard time communicating my actual thoughts and feelings. B – I was a Red Flag Thrower.
You’ve seen the ref who can throw a flag so quickly you don’t even know why until the replay. I used to throw a lot of flags on relationships. It became a habit, even a hobby. I couldn’t let any relationship go too far before I threw a flag. Some flags went flying after a flagrant foul. Other flags went up after I dug up some reason. And, other flags went up and even I didn’t see the flag until I studied the replay.
How did I get control of the red flags raining down on my relationships? When I got a glimpse, a hint, that I had a problem, I sat down and wrote which red flags, which fouls, were important to me. I decided which ones were deal breakers. After compiling a list, I put it away. I decided to trust that I had identified what was important and so I would not waste any time coming up with more. I would date and have fun and when a relationship developed, I would trust myself and my list. I knew where it was if I needed to see it again.
The other thing I learned about myself was my problem with communication. That’s a topic for another day and time. Obviously, I’m still working on it.
I had to work on myself before I was able to even meet Jake, let alone be apart of the relationship it turned into. So is “The Work of Wives” an appropriate topic or should it have been, “The Work of Joey?”
Thankfully, I met a man who is patient while I go through “The Work of Joey.” He works with me. We work together. And, now we can celebrate our milestones, our progress, while we look forward to our future.
Happy Anniversary, Jake!