Marriage

5 Ways to Help Your Marriage Survive the Season

A couple of days ago I was unbuckling our oldest when she looked up at me and said, “Daddy’s never coming back.”

“What?” I was so confused.

Then through tear-filled eyes, she whispered, “He’s always at work.”

My heart broke into a million pieces. It was true. He had just worked a 90+ hour week and she was usually asleep by the time he got home. I promised her we would take him lunch the next day at school so she could see him. She nodded her head and said, “Okay. That sounds good.”

We’re in season. We knew it was coming, but this kind of thing is hard to prepare for. You can say, “This is going to be hard” a million times but when life is actually BEING really hard, it’s tricky to know how to make it un-hard.

Of course, being a coach’s wife has its plusses.

You become a part of a network, a family, a club. You watch your husband spend thousands of hours pouring motivation and encouragement, wisdom and strength into young men who may or may not ever have a positive male presence in their lives again. You experience the high of a win as if you were actually padded up.

But most days are not characterized by these things.

Most days are just me. All by myself. Or scratch that. With three little hoodlums that I have to take care of … all by myself.  During the day, I am not thinking of the excitement of playoffs or the impact my husband is making on his players, but mostly how my 1-year-old keeps waking up at 5 am coughing and how my three-year-old is dropping her nap and whether or not I should call a therapist for my four-year-old or when I’m going to make dinner because I can’t afford not to cook. Again.

The grand things — the lessons and the friendships and the influence and the being-apart-of-something-bigger — they make it so worth it.

But the daily grind blurs my vision sometimes.

Your spouse is doing something that matters, that demands so much of him, so much of his soul, that sometimes it doesn’t feel like there’s anything left for you.

And sometimes your leftover life, everything he’s left behind, the slack you’ve had to pick up, the cross you didn’t necessarily choose to bear, demands so much of you, so much of your soul, that you don’t have much left for him either.

And sometimes you get used to life without that person. You adjust your schedule to fit the needs of the rest of you, not him, because that’s what survival looks like. Life goes on, incomplete, but it goes on.

And sometimes, it’s harder when he’s there. Everyone has gotten into a routine. Expectations have been set based on the ones always present, so things get confusing when there are new expectations present.

And you creep into a really scary place.

Wives become head of household. Husbands become outsiders in their own home.

We have so been there. Sometimes we are still there. But I’ve learned a few things:

Let him lead. Not because men are better than women at leading their families, but because in the depths of a man’s being, he craves respect. He needs it more than anything.

Let him parent. I tend to think I parent better because I parent the most, and therefore think I should be in charge of all things parenting. But I cannot contradict his yeses and nos (and vice versa). You have to show a united front, lest your children get the idea that what Dad says doesn’t matter.

Go to him. Be a part of his world. Go to practice. Go to the field house. (Obviously, this is specific to coaching… insert appropriate places here). Go to pep rallies. Take him lunch at school (if you don’t work). He can’t leave, but maybe you can. Even if he doesn’t say it, he needs to see his family. He needs to feel supported and cheered for and being present is a good way of showing that.

Communicate. Text him. Email him. Send him pictures and videos of the kids throughout the day. Tell him you’re proud of him and you love him. Give him those compliments you’re too awkward to say in person. The beauty of this day and age is you can still talk to each other even if you never see each other.

Make your minutes precious. We are so bad at this. We are so dead at the end of the day that the only thing we want to do is nothing. But this is your ONE CHANCE to connect. Put away the technology. Stop looking at your phones. Make what little time you have together meaningful.

 

This is a season of sacrifice and service, which is incredibly draining.

And it’s so hard because I am naturally a selfish person, and the refining process is a very painful one. It’s like God is taking a huge torch (called football season) and burning away all the crust that has coated my heart (called this-life-is-all-about-me).

But, lean in closely so you don’t miss this part, don’t forget yourself. Give yourself time and priority. Connect with people and connect with God. Ask for help and give yourself grace.

You are worth nothing to no one if you are worn and empty.

And you are worth far more than nothing. You are worth so much. You are worthy of so much. There is no guilt in self-care, only strength and refreshment.

Don’t forget your worth. And don’t forget you’re worthy.

5 WAYS TO LOVE YOUR SPOUSE WELL DURING THE BUSIEST SEASON OF THE YEAR
  1. utterimperfection

    November 17, 2017 at 3:42 pm

    Jordan, I read your story and in so many parts I could insert my own story of being married to a police officer. I could cut and paste and it would be hard to spot any differences. It is excruciatingly hard to give your husband up to his career and stay positive about it. I think it’s doubly hard when we choose to be stay-at-home moms who say goodbye to their husbands each work day. Mommin’ is a notoriously thankless career; we don’t get annual reviews or promotions, we don’t get pats on the back or pay increases or holiday bonuses, we don’t get traditional perks or benefits or comraderie with co-workers and this adds to the pile of ick we find ourselves wading through during the often isloating and lonely child rearing years. My husband and I handled his careeer and its demands on our family all wrong and we paid the price of growing apart and failing to love each other like we promised to when the going got tough. We let our hearts harden and our commitment wane and we almost didn’t make it through. The hard-won wisdom you share from being in that scary place in your marriage and making it through is solid and doable and will help so many others that will also find themselves in that scary spot at some point, as most married couples do. You’re a beautiful example of two imperfect people taking an imperfect situation and working with what you’ve got to get what you want, what you need. I love knowing that you’re out their soldiering on, gaining more ground every day and inspiring others to do the same. Y’all sound like you have clear eyes, full hearts and so then, you can’t lose!

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