Taking turns seems like such a simple concept. One that we were all taught at a very early age. However, as with most things in life, it’s much easier said than done. I’ve found that this is something I continue to struggle with even in my marriage.
A little over a year and a half ago, my husband was struggling professionally. Although he was doing really well in his line of work, he was completely unfulfilled and his discontentment was beginning to affect our marriage. Despite him recently receiving a major promotion he was still unhappy and for the first time in our relationship, there seemed to be nothing I could do to help.
What did prove to be helpful was that I had a unique perspective of the issues that he was facing on a daily basis. When my husband and I met fifteen years ago we were simply co-workers and in complete honesty, I didn’t care for him. I found him to be sarcastic, hard-nosed, and a bit of a know it all. I easily got along with all of my co-workers (to be honest, some days I socialized more than I worked), but he seemed all business all the time. It wasn’t until much later that we became attracted to one another. Get ready, here comes the shameless plug, if you listen to my podcast “Let’s Just Not..,” episode #2 you can hear our full story.
Glancing across the office one day I see my husband sitting at his desk running his hands through his hair for the fifth time in as many minutes. He’s frustrated and tired, which are two words that are the complete opposite of his normal mood. My normally “go with the flow” guy has been letting the little things get to him and our usual communication has become a series of snarky remarks.
Finally, I decide to simply ask him to be honest with me and tell me what’s going on.
Because for the most part, our lives have been going along well with little to no hiccups. We have a great marriage, two beautiful children, and great careers. I mean, your commute isn’t that bad when you get to start and end your day with your best friend. This shift in the usual has thrown us off our game and every day continues to get worse.
Hesitantly my husband tells me that he’s received a job offer which normally would be a good thing. However, this offer comes with a major change. We will need to move our family all the way across the country. Moving from everything that we know and love, even considering it seems like a major sacrifice. Our parents, friends, my job, our children’s schools …everything that we have built our lives around will change. As he tells me the details of the offer and I see a light in his eyes that hasn’t been there in a long time.
I hear four words repeating over and over in my head, “it’s not your turn.”
When I married my husband we wrote our own vows and one of the promises that we made to one another was to always support the others dreams. We’ve always held true to that vow championing one another through our goals. With that said, had this move intuitively felt wrong I would have never even entertained it. What do I mean by that? It means that if I had felt at any point that this career change and a major move did not align with our goals as a family, I would have quickly shut that shit down. But, it didn’t. So, we did.
It is inherently uncomfortable to give up the familiar.
Nonetheless, within a few months I found myself adjusting from humidity and tropical storms to mountain ranges, views of the Las Vegas strip and some of the most intense heat you will ever feel in your life. Everything that we knew had changed and we found ourselves in a new city with no friends or family. I reminded myself every day that it was Chris’ turn and I needed to support him. But, I am not a saint and there were days when I had to swallow my resentment which went down as easy as a shard of glass.
We affectionately begun calling it “the change” in our house. Yes, I know that term is usually reserved for menopause. But, I think this transition qualifies as pretty fucking dramatic until I actually go through menopause. Any who… “the change” required more than just a physical move. It required us to really show what we were made of. Things have gotten better. My husband is happy with his job, the kids adjusted better than we could have imagined and I have finally decided to pursue my passion. I quit my job and have dedicated myself to finally doing what makes me happy.
Oh, and that cheering that you hear in the background? Yeah, that’s my husband telling me it’s my turn.