Friday, February 03, 2012

Married to a Traveller, or Thoughts about Courage

A little while ago, Marc wrote about being married and traveling for work. I responded with a he said/she said blog post. At that time I realized (again) that I have so much to say about being married to a traveller.

One of the most common responses I get from people when they hear that Marc is traveling AGAIN is 'how haaarrrrd' that must be for me. There are a number of assumptions that people are making when they say this.

(isn't he cute?)
The first assumption is that I had no or little input into the decision that Marc would travel. This couldn't be a further from the truth. If anything, my input weighed more than his desire. In each opportunity, it has been talked through, prayed through, talked through some more. I know that if I sense a 'no', a 'not now', or a 'it's too much' that that matters a great deal to Marc.

The second assumption is that this is a new habit of his. But in reality - he has been traveling as long as we have been married. I have been doing the married to a traveller thing for 17 years.

The third assumption is that it is helpful and empathetic to tell me how haarrdd that must be. Does that even make sense? What if, when you told me you had to take the kids to the doctor, then take the dog to the vet,  and then had to make supper for you and Great Aunt Louise I turned to you and said 'That must be so haarrd.' How would you feel if, when you told me you had to do laundry, finish an article, and get to the gym I turned around and said 'that must be so haarrrd'.

The reality is, we all do hard things. For some of us, getting out of bed in the morning takes a great act of perseverance and courage. For some of us, we send our kids to school or we homeschool our kids. We write in places where people we don't know and people we do know are able to read it.

Yes, our lifestyle is hard. It is much harder now that we have three kids that are home schooled. Even when Marc is home, it is hard.

We have made the choice to not be stopped by hard. We have built a history of hard things we did that turned out really well and some not so well. In every hard thing we grew - as individuals, as a couple, as disciples. Even in this hard season, we are holding to the expectation that we are strong and that God is stronger.

The next reality is that we are all strong people. We have learned to sit, crawl, walk, feed ourselves, read, talk, engage. No, we don't necessarily celebrate all of those things in our daily lives now, but those are our roots of strength and greatness.

Each day we get to choose what courageous thing we will do. Dealing with a client or a 6 year old, having an honest conversation with a loved one, choosing not to have a conversation with another loved one, stopping the endless office work to do something that we love. All acts of courage. And courage builds upon courage builds upon courage.


renee @ FIMBY said...

This was excellent for me to read.

Because I'm the same way. I say that to people, heck, I'd say that to you - because being without Damien would be very hard for me.

But then people say it me about, oh, everything we've done, and I don't always appreciate the sentiment.

Because yeah, good things are hard but they are so worth it!

I am going to remember your words the next time I am tempted to say, that must be so haaarrd

Natalia said...

I totally get where you are from - my husband is in the Army and travels alot - whether it is 12 months in Afghanistan or this week where he is away for a week (in France). People do assume that a) it is so hard b) I am somehow brave because I 'have to put up with it' and c) I have no say. While sometimes I just want to go 'uh-huh' and not bother setting people straight, I feel that I really should, so people don't assume that when one spouse travels a lot for work, the other one is suffering or has had no say.

Emily said...

Thank you, Renee. That felt like a hug.

Hi Natalia. Thank you for serving our country with your family. Thank you for 'getting me'. : )

renee @ FIMBY said...

Natalia is in the UK but we can appreciate her husband serving that country, because well... we like the UK. (smile).

Lisa said...

Em, your words are powerful and strong. Like who you are in Christ. And they are also transparent and compassion-seeking and giving, which is what I love about you! Thanks for taking the time to put in words a message for all of us to heed.

Love to you,

Emily said...

Oy, Natalia. Please forgive me. Yeah... we like our UK friends - and still thank you. I know your family gives a lot to serve both the UK and the world.

naswanson said...

We got the questions when Andrew was traveling with the band. "That must be so haaard on his marriage. When is he going to quit and be home with his wife?" He knew when it was time to close the door on that chapter, and now he's happy to be working close to home.
Living life takes courage if we're going to make it meaningful; trusting God in the journey gives peace that you're doing the right thing.
Thanks, Em, for once again sharing your from your heart.