I’m in the middle of some serious angst. I think I’m through the worst of it, but I just wanted to thank you all for your kind comments on my column last Friday–I Need a Wife. I was sharing how life was just BUSY–my writing is taking off, and my husband’s career is taking off, and I feel like I don’t have margins in my life to protect against feeling overwhelmed.
I didn’t participate in the comments section (I was trying to give myself a break this weekend!) but I did appreciate the suggestions. I think my plan will be to post on Mondays (I love the Reader Questions!), Wednesdays (Wifey Wednesday), and Fridays (my column). I may do some guest posts for Wifey Wednesday, as I’ve been doing recently, and I may even throw a guest post up on Tuesdays or Thursdays, too. And sometimes I have companies run a sponsored post, which I’ll likely do on Tuesdays or Thursdays. That’s what pays the bills, and I only take things that I think will actually help you, my readers, so I don’t want to say no to those. But I’m only going to write “big picture” things three times a week. Oh, and I’m definitely shutting down over Christmas! Thanks for giving me “permission” to do that (sometimes I need you guys to give me a kick upside the head, too).
Anyway, in all of my thinking about why I was feeling so overwhelmed, one thought occurred to me, and I thought I’d share it today.
One hundred and fifty years ago almost everyone lived on farms. The family business was the farm–and they were all in on it together. They might do different things–he may work in the fields, and she may do most of the cooking–but it was a family endeavour, and they each knew what the other was doing.
By and large, the couple spent their lives TOGETHER.
Now, a few families had other businesses, like a store. But again, it tended to be a family thing, where everyone worked at it. So they had a common goal, but perhaps more importantly, they had common experiences. They knew what was going on in each other’s lives because they were there.
As men started to leave the home to work all of that changed. Suddenly the outside world was his domain, and the home was her domain, and the “housewife” was born (which is really a rather modern phenomenon). She kept the home fires burning while the kids went to school and husband went to work. Now all the members of the family no longer had that common experience. They were each doing different things. And so advice started being given about how to help your husband deal with the stress in his job. We heard about how to listen without prying; how to support without trying to tell him what to do. We learned about being sounding boards, but also about creating a place that was a haven for him so that the stress would disappear.
Now many women work, too–or at least they have a wide range of experiences during the day as well, like homeschooling, or ministries they’re involved in.
And the problem is that this separation gets reinforced–he has his life, and she has her life, and they really don’t understand the others’ days that much.
This is where I’m at. I may work from home, but I’m still making decisions and deep in thought throughout the day, and I don’t have anyone to share that with. At least in an office situation you could bounce it off people. For those of us who work at home, we’re really dealing with much of this alone.
And it’s hard to share it. If you’re faced with stressful situations, or with decisions, or planning that you have to do, and you try to involve the spouse who doesn’t see the big picture, it’s often just frustrating. You want help, but they don’t quite get it. I know my husband often finds this frustrating, when he tries to share about decisions in his job and I don’t see all the issues. But he doesn’t see mine, either.
Here’s where the danger comes. The problem I’ve been making recently is that I have tried to keep being the sounding board for him (though I haven’t succeeded very well), but I haven’t let him be the sounding board for me. I’ve been keeping a whole lot inside. This just solidifies you feeling alone.
The couple is supposed to be a unit, but increasingly we’re not functioning like that because we’re leading very fragmented lives. If our lives don’t have much in common, it’s hard to feel that intimacy we really need, that feeling like someone has my back, I’m not in this alone, and we’ll make it through together.
So how do you foster that? That’s what I’m thinking about today, and that’s what I’ll likely write about for Wifey Wednesday tomorrow. So in the meantime, if you have any ideas, I’d love to hear them! This is something my husband and I have been talking about a lot lately, and I want to find a solution.
Thanks for your support everyone, and I’d love to hear the combined wisdom of you readers!
How YOU Can Help ME
One other thing. So many of you were so kind in the comments and asked what you could do to help. I do have a few requests! One of the things going on behind the scenes is that my agent is “shopping around” two book deals for me, and there’s definite interest from publishers. One of the things publishers like is how big my blog is. So here’s what you can do:
When you read a post you like, can you pin it or share it on Facebook? I’d love for this blog to grow even more and for more women to hear some great, down to earth but scriptural marriage advice.
The other thing going on behind the scenes is that I’m trying to plan my spring speaking tours. We’re trying to figure out what geographical areas to concentrate on, but it’s really a first come, first serve basis.
If your church is looking to host an exciting women’s event, could you mention Girl Talk to them? I’ll come and give a hilarious but very practical and inspirational talk about sex, intimacy, and marriage. You can get more information by emailing my booking agent Tim (who would love to hear from you!).
Thank you so much! And now I look forward to your comments on keeping your marriage feeling like a unit…