I was sobbing uncontrollably into the phone. I was feeling angry and hurt and alone. I heard myself saying horrible things like, “If work is so important to you, just sleep on the couch at the office!” and “I feel like I’m not even a priority!” Really horrible things to say to the man I loved who was about 8 time zones away…
And why? Because my husband dared to travel across the globe, for work, to film mission projects. He was doing what he has always wanted to do, what he has a passion for, what God called him to do. And I was treating him like dirt. We were very early in our marriage, and I was definitely not being a Biblical wife, hardly even a kind wife.
Of course I loved my husband, and we were happy a lot of the time. But his work then (and still now) demanded a lot of his time. It was a small start up non-profit at the time. I think they had three full-time employees, including Jordan. He was willing to do whatever he needed to do to finish the job. That’s a trait I admired when it was convenient for me. But when he had to travel out of the country, or work late into the night or early morning, I was left alone and jealous. It eventually affected other areas of our marriage.
One day I woke up and realized that I was a vindictive, manipulating, jealous wife. Somehow over our dating relationship and into the first year or so of our marriage, I had wrapped myself up so completely in Jordan, that I had no identity left of my own. And when he wasn’t around, there was nothing left of me. I was angry that he had his own life apart from me. I was incredibly jealous of his passion. I felt I had nothing, no drive, no passion, no meaning.
I think when things finally changed was when I was given the opportunity to go back to the summer camp where Jordan and I had worked when we first started dating. They needed a photographer last minute and I would be gone for 2 weeks. This time I was the one leaving. This time I was the one doing something that I enjoyed. And this time I was alone. I didn’t have Jordan to lean on, I had to stand on my own two feet and figure out how to be my own person apart from him.
I feel like we were able to turn over a new leaf in our marriage when I came back home. I made the choice to be OK with Jordan’s job. We soon found ourselves pregnant with our first daughter. While I was pregnant, I got a job writing and editing a newsletter for a small ministry. That lead to another newsletter. It wasn’t much, but it was something I could be proud of. When our daughter was born, my new passion was being a mom. It fit so perfectly, and I fell in love with every moment. Being a mother gave me my own identity, it was something I was good at, something that I knew made a difference. Then I learned how to crochet, and a whole world of new hobbies opened up for me.
Now we have two girls. Jordan still works long hours sometimes, he still travels around the world for weeks at a time. But I’m not lonely or angry. I’m now able to see beyond those long hours or days or weeks apart. I know that things will settle down and he will be home for supper again.
Many people have heard of the Proverbs 31 Woman. For some, those verses can be an unattainable goal. I re-read those verses with a friend tonight, and we came to the conclusion that they are not a cookie-cutter formula for what the perfect woman should be, but are rather a poem about the author’s woman, who was perfect for him. The praise written in those verses was obviously personal, and the fact that it was an acrostic poem in the original language makes me think it was meant as a love note of sorts.
Still, when I came to verses 11 and 12, I read something that resonated with me.
“The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.” (Proverbs 31:11-12 ESV)
In our early years, I was doing much more harm than good. I was discouraging him, and causing him to pull away from me. I don’t ever want to fall back into that. I want my husband to say of me, “My heart trusts in her.”