Quit doing your husband’s job! I know this is a somewhat bossy and presumptuous statement, but I have never been accused of being indirect.
I have been thinking about this for months, but after this weekend it all became clear to me. I just spent 3 days and 2 nights away from my family at a conference for writers. It was an amazing time where I was inspired, equipped, and educated. I loved every minute of it! Driving home from the event I realized that I would never have enjoyed this life-changing experience if I hadn’t quit doing my husband’s job.
I know that might sound weird, but it’s true. When Michael and I were first married, before we knew that he had Bipolar disorder, I slowly began doing his job for him. Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about things like, guys take out the trash and girls do the house work; Michael and I have found a way to work together as a team in our home and with our children. I’m talking about something much more subtle and yet vitally important.
In those early years of marriage I felt things were unstable with Michael. My feelings were valid: I wasn’t sure who I would be waking up with in the morning. I thought if I made things as simple as possible for him, he would be less burdened, and therefore happier. This was a huge mistake. I began depending less and less on him and depending solely on myself.
The kind of “help” that I was offering actually left Michael feeling worthless. Maybe he didn’t have anything to contribute, he thought. It sure seemed like I had it all wrapped up.
All of my frantic over-functioning left me feeling abandoned. I was doing and doing because I thought I had to, but I didn’t really want to. In the end Michael became detached from our life together, and I was resentful.
I can never say enough about the difference Michael’s diagnosis and subsequent treatment has made on our marriage. But when I quit doing my husband’s job some equally amazing things happened. Michael stepped up to do the job he was called to do. And guess what? He does it better than I do.
I asked Michael, “How do you view your job as a husband and a father?”
He answered without pause, “My job is to guide, to provide and to support. That’s how I serve my family.”
And that’s exactly what he did when he encouraged me to pursue my dreams at the writer’s conference. He provided, guided, and supported me in every way possible. I couldn’t be happier that I quit doing my husband’s job and finally gave him the chance to do it himself!
The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways…Proverbs 14:8 (NIV)
Do you and your spouse agree on your roles or jobs within the marriage? Do you struggle with jumping in and doing your spouse’s “job” when you don’t think they are doing it well?