What do you do if your husband has a passion in life that you don’t share? Maybe a dream job? A hobby? A calling?
I want to tell you the story today of comedian/actor Leland Klassen. He’s a good friend of mine, and we actually have been on tour together several times. When I was speaking at the Girls Night Out events across Canada, Leland had a comedy routine that would open the night.
I’ve seen how dedicated Leland is to being a good husband and dad–but it’s hard when you’re in a job that takes you on the road a lot.
And he’s tried to find the balance. Right now Leland is starring in a new movie that opens for one day only on September 7, and I’m so excited for him! And Extraordinary (that’s the movie!) has quite an interesting marriage story that is worth delving into and thinking about–and that kind of mirrors his real-life marriage.
I invited Leland and his wife Carrie to share their hearts today about what it’s like for a couple when one is pursuing a passion. Here’s Leland:
I am a stand up comedian and actor. I played ultra-marathon runner David Horton in the movie “Extraordinary” coming to theaters nationwide for one night only on September 7. The story of David and Nancy Horton was eerily similar to my wife and I’s story. Well…not the running, I hate running. In the movie, every time I was supposed to look like I was in pain while running, I actually was in pain. The similarity, however, was that I too, like David Horton struggled (and still struggle) with the balance between pursuing my passion and my family life. I asked my wife Carrie to talk a little bit about what we’ve learned from her perspective:
Being married to someone who has clear direction, passion and purpose in life is a wonderful thing and something to be thankful for … but it can also have some drawbacks.
Leland and I have been married for just over 22 years and Leland has been doing stand up full time for about 20 of those years. Supporting my husband as he has pursued his passion, in some ways, has been an easy decision. He is doing what God created him to do and to the best of his abilities is using his talent to further God’s Kingdom. That alone should be enough. But I confess, there have been many days when I have doubted and questioned that calling, as well as prayed for other (more traditional) career opportunities for him. Not wanting the hardships that come with the life of an entertainer, I wanted an easier road. Don’t get me wrong, there are many fun things that come with his job besides being married to a funny, creative spouse. When I can, I have been able to travel with Leland and have had the opportunity to meet interesting people and go to events and visit cities that I would never have been able to otherwise. On the flip side, there are also things that have made it challenging. Financial instability, an unpredictable future at best, and having a husband who is away more than he is home, just to name a few. More than missing important events and milestones Leland has missed a lot of just living life as a family … and we have missed him.
Our life is far from perfect and we definitely don’t have everything all figured out but we have learned a few things over the years that have helped us and even though the circumstances in your life may be different, my hope is that they will help you too:
Adjust your Expectations
Chances are your marriage and/or family life, will in some way be very different than you had imagined. I would never have guessed that this is how my life was going to play out. But ultimately when I married my husband, his dreams became mine. His sorrows are my sorrows, his joy is my joy. Life may not be the way I pictured it and not all of those differences are positive but if I have learnt nothing else it is that you can trust God with ALL of the details of your life. In the past when I have pushed and pulled and manipulated my way in situations, it has rarely if ever turned out well. His plans for you are greater than you can imagine! When we rest in that knowledge it is so much easier to ride the waves of life.
I know this seems obvious but it is hard to do when what you are going to say may cause conflict in your marriage. Leland is better at this than I am, he seems to know how much to say and when to say it. I on the other hand, tend to hold it all in and then blurt it out at exactly the wrong moment. Thankfully I’m married to a communicator who is more than willing to hash things out with me whenever I’m ready, but regardless of my tact or timing this is probably the most important element in keeping our marriage on track. If I am concerned about a business decision he is making or if I’m feeling sorry for myself because I have to go to an event alone, I tell Leland all of it. The act of sharing my thoughts and feelings and knowing that I have a partner that cares about what I think and feel goes a long way.
I have been struggling with this one lately, my friends’ lives look so much easier. They go to work during the week and seem to fill their weekends with friends and fun. I want to do that too! Instead, my typical week is filled with work, making meals, shuttling kids from one sporting event to another and then making more meals. Weekends I’m often home alone – cleaning, shopping for groceries or doing yard work. When Leland is home, he brings with him laundry, jet lag and a fresh perspective on how dysfunctional our family is … which I don’t find helpful to say the least. It’s not exactly the most exciting life. Instagram and Facebook haven’t done me any favours in this regard either. Friends are constantly posting pictures of their kids’ accomplishments, family vacations and perfect, organic, whole food lives.
The problem with this kind of thinking is that it never takes you anywhere good. Discontentment is poison that will quickly drive a wedge in your marriage. No one gets through life without struggles, no one’s life is as easy as it seems on the outside. Limit your social media intake if you find it’s affecting your attitude and focus instead on all the good things that God has blessed you with.
It is so easy to forget this. Life gets busy and, yeah sure, I love my husband but I don’t have time to dwell on that and he knows that anyway, right? Maybe it is because we spend so much time apart, but even though I’m not always good at expressing it, I definitely feel it. Marriage should never be taken for granted, it is a gift to share your life with someone, to not have to walk it alone, to have someone who cares about the little things in your day as well as the big. To rejoice with you when things go well and to cry with you when they don’t. I’m sure most marriages are like mine, full of imperfection but also forgiveness and grace. It is a beautiful thing when we do get it right.
Protecting your marriage ties in closely with cherishing it. One follows the other, when you cherish your marriage, you instinctively protect it. That can look different for everyone but because Leland is away so much we feel that we are left a little more vulnerable than most marriages. There are times when it would be easy to look outside of our marriage for emotional or physical comfort. When our spouse is literally (and figuratively) just not there for us. We have had to learn how to protect ourselves from temptation and how to read the signs that we may need to correct our path. Whether it be our thought life or physically doing something different. Earlier in our marriage we were naive and not as self aware, it took time, experience and some mistakes to learn how to honour each other in this way. It is a painful lesson to learn the hard way and one that I hope you will be able to figure out as early as possible in your marriage.
This is surprisingly such a big part of marriage. I’m not sure why it surprised me but I guess it’s because it’s rarely a theme that seems to be valued anymore. Instead our world tells us that we deserve to be happy and that if someone wrongs us, we have every right to wash our hands of it and walk away. After all, if we don’t take care of ourselves, who will? As Christians we have a different perspective – how can we not forgive when we have been forgiven so much? There have been times in my marriage when I felt that Leland had wronged me and I have cried out to God asking Him what I should do, His perfect, clear and sometimes loud answer has always been “Forgive!”.
I’m ashamed to admit how many times I run around doing everything I can and it is only until I exhaust all options that I consider prayer. It is so simple a thing to do that sometimes I think it seems too easy and I’m not content unless I feel like I’m doing something … anything. Thankfully it is not up to me and I am not ultimately in control. This is not rocket science – just talk to God. Tell him how thankful you are for each of the blessings in your life, ask Him to show you what areas of your marriage and life you need to work on. Tell him how you feel, your problems and your worries and then leave those burdens with Him.
Having someone in your life who is passionate about what they do is incredibly inspiring. Being married to Leland has taught me not to settle for the easy road but instead to challenge myself to use the gifts that God has given me to the fullest of my ability. It reminds me how desperately I too want to hear my Master say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”. Mat 25:21
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” Hebrews 12:1, 2a
Just like Leland and Carrie, in Extraordinary, the couple learns how to fight to stay together–and discovers important truths about their marriage that helps keep it strong.
Looking for a great date night? Don’t miss Extraordinary–the movie. Leland’s awesome, and this movie is great to just enjoy together, but also to get you thinking about the bigger purpose of your marriage.
I really hope a ton of you see Extraordinary! It’s a great movie, and I want to encourage more of these to be made. And it’s really cool to see this couple that I’ve walked with for almost a decade now get this big chance!
Let me know: Have you ever had to come to terms with your husband pursuing a passion? How did that go for you? Let’s talk in the comments!