"....... for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust" Psalm 103:14

Married to a not-9-to-5-er

Photo by Hunters Race on Unsplash

For many, many years I was married to a man who worked the equivalent of a "9 to 5" job. The fact that it was more like 7.30 to 4 was largely irrelevant. He left the house at the same time each day, and got home at the same time. His job was the kind that almost never interrupted "after hours" and created a steady rhythm of life that really worked amazingly well during our child-rearing years.

His regular, steady, permanent, secure, full-time 9-to-5 job enabled me to come and go from the workforce as we raised our children. My career lends itself well to part-time work, even just little bits of "dabbling" to keep my hand in at times. And this is what I did, for years, confident in the knowledge that his job meant we didn't really need mine, and nor did we really need my income. It was just a nice bonus, and allowed us a bit of breathing space, especially when home loan interest rates took a serious hike in the late 80s (who remembers THAT???).

Exit that man.

The "many and varied" kind of guy
Enter a new man (some time later). One who has had at least 13 jobs in his life - from shelf-stacker for a supermarket, to tax clerk, to lab analyst, to brick paver, to youth worker, to head hunter, to sales rep, to designer and installer of glass pool fences, to counsellor - to name just some. One who has rarely stayed in the same job for more than a few years. One who has had almost as many self-employed-small-business ventures as he has "employee" situations.

When we met, my husband was running his successful small business, and had been doing so for about 6 years. It was doing well, and on the dating site on which we met, he described his financial situation as "comfortable". I was working full-time at that stage, in the same career I'd had since completing university in 1985.

Since then, he has wound up the business and taken a complete change of direction. He now works 3 jobs, all in the same field, two on an employee basis, and the rest essentially freelance, otherwise known as "private practice".

Adjusting to a new paradigm
I love that he loves what he does. And he and this new kind of work fit hand in glove. But it does bring an element of financial insecurity into our world that doesn't always sit comfortably for me. I've been very used to a regular and predictable amount going into the bank account each fortnight. Without fail. I'm used to knowing the budget within which we operate, more or less, the "wriggle room" we have, or don't have, as the case may be depending on stage of life.

These days there are times of feast and times of famine, when it comes to his income. There are lean weeks, and there are weeks of plenty. With the private practice, if he doesn't work, he doesn't earn. If we're away on holidays, there is quite a bit less coming in. It's a challenge for me!! It's that pesky issue of control again. And it makes me leery of reducing my own work hours just yet, even though I'd dearly love to do so. It challenges me in the area of trusting God with our circumstances, and wouldn't you know it, I'm still not very good at that!!!

Sometimes there's no escape 
The other thing about this new career is that it follows him home. Often. And it follows him to church quite a bit too. Some days there are phone calls and desperate text messages at odd hours. And there are times I spot him across the church deep in conversation with someone, for quite a long time. In these moments I know that no matter how keen I might be to get home, I just need to be patient.

And most of the time that's okay, and I get it. Counselling involves hurting people who are right in the midst of their struggles, and my compassionate heart does go out to them as they seek help to get through their days and nights. But then my selfish heart sometimes often cries "What about me??"

And then there are those times when it's late on a Friday evening, or early on a Saturday morning (our one and only opportunity for a sleep-in) and the phone rings.......... and my frustrated heart screams "Excuse me, do you mind???" (and, ummm, sometimes out loud too).

My report card might very well say "Sue needs to learn how to share with others"!!

Adjusting.......... again!!
It's not a surprise to anyone that new relationships bring lots of new adjustments. Changing circumstances bring yet more. I only have myself to blame really - it was me who encouraged him to make the move into counselling, to use the gifts he's been given.

And he is. And I'm really glad about that.

And I know that this adjustment is one more way that God is growing me, changing me, making me more like Jesus. It's not always an easy or comfortable process - more like a refiner's fire, one could say - but when I remember that bigger purpose, I can more readily repent of my need for control, my need to keep him all to myself, and my tendency towards annoyance, frustration and exasperation.

He's no "9-to-5-er" these days, that's for sure, and I'm learning how to be okay with that.

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. (2 Corinthians 4:17, NIV)

No comments

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this post. Please feel free to leave a comment!