This is the kind of man I’m married to:
- He’s kind.
- He’s generous.
- He’s compassionate.
- He’s honoring.
- He’s smart.
- He’s so unorthodox
- And irreverent…
- And funny as HELL…
- …sometimes I worry he’ll end up there…
- …and even enjoy it!
It’s true that in most happy moments, many wives married to a generally good man will attest to the same. But we’ve had some rough moments of late. There are the obvious differences: male and female, of different ages, from different cultures and continents.
In addition, we’re both life and business partners… which means we’re together almost all day, everyday, all hours of the day, bar the occasional event, meeting or girl/boy hangouts etc.
We work together, eat together, sleep together, shower together (only sometimes). You get the point – we spend a lot more time together than the average career couple.
Some days it’s great, and some days it’s grating.
The friction of change and growth and adaptation and low energy levels and “I’m in above my head” and “sometimes I want my spouse not my business partner”, and visa versa.
The reality is that even in our marriage – which, in my bias, I think is amazing – stress, cash and deadlines can coalesce into tense, unfriendly moments where harsh words are spoken, and expectations are broken, and hearts are crushed as despair, discouragement, defensiveness, denial, and demanding and/or defeatist attitudes creep in.
This year especially, there’s been an acceleration in leaps of complexity and growth spurts in almost every aspect of our lives. In the midst of it, we’ve both said things, felt things, and thought things we’d never have imagined when we were getting married. Some good. Some bad. Some painful. Some necessary.
While we’ve grown and matured in our marriage and business partnership over the years, in the last few months we’ve had so much more change and activity and goals and pressure.
We’re starting from zero, but at a higher level.
Moving into a new office. Hiring and training additional staff. Dealing with staff drama. Starting business coaching. Reading the Compound Effect by Darren Hardy. Reading the 10x Rule by Grant Cardone. Planning for new business partnerships. Running events. Training up our management team to run the business without us! Planning for regional growth and expansion! Becoming the respective authors of our (upcoming) books! Managing cashflow!
Marriage is tough. We bring a lot of fairytales to the picture when it comes to marriage. We bring them to the altar with us [thinking]: ‘This is going to be perfect. We don’t have to be apart. We can just wake up together every morning and no one is going to have morning breath. We’re not going to have any problems.’ And then the problems hit and you don’t know where to file those into your picture…
It’s been good, and exciting, and overwhelming, and scary, and crazy, and fun, and painful. In our own ways, sometimes misunderstood even by each other, we’ve scrambled to hold on to each other on this crazy ride.
Today was another full day of coaching and spending time with other entrepreneurs, and as I sat here on the couch after yet another full day, I found myself thinking back through the years. Thinking about my husband. Thinking about this man I’ve married and the unconventional path we’ve found ourselves on…
It brought tears to my eyes now just as it did back then.
So I found myself thinking about the time before we got married… I was broke. Dead broke. The economy back home had tanked and my dad hadn’t sent me money in ages, and what little I had, had run out. I was behind on my rent and was fortunate to have a landlord who preferred to know where I live so he could chase after me for his rent, so he didn’t kick me out, although it got pretty close a few times.
During that time, I fasted at lot, not just because I was spiritual, although there’s nothing like being in a tight spot to inspire the seeking of miraculous divine intervention, but because I had no money for meals and I had no idea when the next bank transfer would come through.
My then boyfriend would come back from work and drop by my house, regardless of what time he’d finish work. He’d call me out and pick me up under the guise of wanting to meet me to hang out over dinner, but also because he knew some days, that was my only meal.
When I was really desperate, I’d borrow a few dollars from him here and there to make ends meet, but my broke-ness was an unspoken understanding that we’d sometimes briefly allude to in conversations about my family or school as we avoided talking much about my as yet unpaid uni fees for med school… Mostly because those conversations often ended with one (or both) of us in a puddle of tears.
One evening, we were sitting in my house after he’d just returned from a trip where he’d spent time with his family when he awkwardly handed me an envelope with 900 in it and told me it was a gift from his parents.
I looked at him askance.
While I was certain they were nice people and that like most normal people, they probably could be generous given the right circumstances, I seriously doubted they’d send that much money to me for no reason whatsoever. I’d meet them several times but I was barely a stranger to them all things considered, the foreign girl their son had taken a fancy to.
So of course, my guileless boyfriend soon crumbled under interrogation to confess that “the entire amount hadn’t actually come from his parents..” Ha! Understatement for sure. Thereby confirming my suspicions.
l couldn’t be mad with him. I was embarrassed and honored and touched and emotional at his generosity. At his compassion for me. At his respect for me. At how much time and thought he must have put into this singularly bold but ridiculous action. At how much he wanted to help me without embarrassing me like he was fulfilling the stereotypical charity act and giving me a handout.
When we:d started dating a few months earlier, my boyfriend decided “to be accountable “. That meant he sat us down with our senior pastor. I was terrified; I’d only ever shook his hand as I tried to get deftly past him as he stood welcoming or saying bye to people at the front doors.
And now, here I was. Newly girl (boy?)friended and telling him I was dating this boy I’d met barely 4 months prior, and he in turn was was asking me if this was serious, and I was saying, with heartfelt sincerity that yeah, I could see us EVENTUALLY getting married. The plan was to do that only four years later, although it eventually turned out to be one and a half.
But in that moment, that evening when he sneakily tried to hoodwink me into thinking his parents had thought of me in my lowest moment when I had nothing left but the scraps of my pride and dignity and no one else to turn to, I knew how how much he’d sacrificed to bail me out. I knew he’d really searched his heart to find a way to help me without humiliating me. I was humbled. I looked in his eyes and I saw selfless love.
By that time, he’d already proposed (badly and needed to do it again properly, but anyway) I’d accepted.
But in that moment, sitting there, looking in his eyes, I knew: despite my not having a visa and the prospect of a long distance engagement across continents and our cultural differences and everything else that stood in between, I knew that this was the man I’d spend the rest of my life with.
And I’m glad we ignorantly leapt into this adventure, not knowing where life would lead us but happily choosing to walk the path together anyway. In the highs and in the lows, the joys and the anger, I’m always glad that this is the kind of man I’m married to.
We’re not perfect and life is crazy and I love you. Through the rest of our lives and come what may, may we always continue to not just grow together but to continue to learn to be broken together, and to love each other through thick and thin, in humility and honesty and vulnerability.
Broken Together by Casting Crowns. Description: