If you’ve ever wanted your relationship to die a long slow death then having your partner study for 10 years is the way to do it. This year has been by far the hardest that our marriage and family unit has ever faced.
Study has become a degrading, slow and agonising torture that we must all endure in our house.
It’s the first time in our marriage where I’ve well and truly been at rock bottom, and wanted to get the f*ck off the dreadful study-train. “Oi, mister. You just went past my stop. Let me off this thing before it self-destructs!” Or maybe before I self-destruct. I’ve well and truly hit burn-out.
I used to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Of course over the years, as we near the end of study, that light should be getting brighter. We are getting closer, right? I swear someone changed the bright neon bulb to a pathetic little LED glimmer because I can barely see it. I think when we had been priced out of the housing market, of the city we’ve always planned on living in, is when I started to change my thinking.
I started to question why my husband still needed to have the highest qualification you can have in his industry. What for? We live in a smaller city than the one we wanted to move to. There are only two other people here who have that qualification.
I sat with him on the lounge one night. I could see the pressure and panic building in him as though I could read his thoughts saying “I don’t have time to have this heart to heart with Jade**. I should be using this time to study. I need to study.” Tears were threatening to slide down my cheeks and reveal just how hurt I really was.
I finally said to him “Why are we doing this? What if we get to the end and you have this amazing qualification but we have no family?”
Everything my husband is doing is for us.
He’s working every night and weekend (after full time work) to study. But what if there is no “us” by the time he is done?
My husband and I have always been great communicators. We talk about almost everything together.
We are well and truly each other’s best friends. But this year I haven’t felt like that. I have felt lonely, and isolated. I’ve felt rejected and desperate. I’ve felt a deep sadness that hangs around me almost every day. The fear of losing my best friend. I’ve felt him slipping away. I felt a distance growing between us that I couldn’t name. I felt it physically. I felt it spiritually. I can’t go into all the details with you. No matter how honest I love to be with the world I have to draw a line at the details of my marriage. I need to protect this sacred, beautiful, and (for the moment) delicate creature. However, I have felt resentment grow inside me like a bitter disease.
How do we come back from this?
We’ve needed to be painfully honest. We needed outside help. We needed a couple’s shrink.
We needed our own shrinks. We needed to spend the money to get our marriage serviced.
I needed to walk the walk… The advice I’ve written in many an engagement or wedding card has always been “If you’re willing to spend $500 getting your car serviced then you better be willing to spend that much and more getting your marriage serviced.”
Why not? Why should we be embarrassed that we hit a blip. Of course we were bound to end up here. The hours (or months) spent apart. The hours I have spent parenting alone. Doing all the domestic duties alone. Going through life without the other but living under the same roof. It’s actually amazing the (temporary divide) in our relationship isn’t greater. Because we have 100% willingness to see this through, to make our relationship truly happy and healthy I know we’ll come through this. I’m not going to bullshit you though, I have dark moments where I just can’t see it. Marriage is not a fairytale, it’s a commitment. Yes, many of my dreams have come true being married to this lovely man, but it’s taken a willingness over and over to work through the hard things to make our dreams a reality.
I hope in another 10 years I can look back on this period of our lives and see how it made us stronger and more intimate with each other. How we ran to each other when it got hard instead of running away …
* The writer of this post is known to me but has chosen to remain anonymous.
** Name has been changed.