Sunday, 14 December 2014

#2 Expectation: A Nine to Five Husband

unmet expectations - the 9 - 5 husband

Somewhere in my upbringing and also from what I’ve observed in general around me, I expected I would have a husband who worked nine to five and stayed in the same job through several sets of long service leave.

I somehow managed to meet, fall in love with, and marry a man who is far away from this “ideal”. He is creative and introverted – good at marketing and advertising, not so good at staying in a job that doesn’t engage him. I should have twigged to what I was in for when he told me that he’d had 17 jobs in his life prior to the one he was in now (I just thought he was working his way up the ladder). The fact that these jobs were diverse and unrelated should have been a clue too.

So for 30 or so years of marriage, he has jumped from job to job, to being “self employed”, to studying, to house-hubanding, to writing the Great Australian novel and many other pursuits. Meanwhile I have diligently worked away at whatever job I happened to have to help keep the home fires burning.

If my expectation was that I would be the primary earner, this wouldn’t have been a problem. Instead I had it in my head that it was up to the husband to do this – as the majority of husbands tend to do and this has led to a lot of disgruntlement on my part. We have always managed to pay the bills and have a home and raise our children and have an occasional holiday, so there is no reason for me to be bothered, other than unmet expectation #2.

As we head to another job ending for my husband in a few weeks I can let the disappointment in my expectation of a working husband continue to bother me, or I can be grateful I have a job and can contribute and we can share the journey (and the housework). We can support each other (which is easier to do if one person isn’t simmering with resentment at unmet expectations) and face the future together and wait to see what new opportunity presents itself – my husband is quick to point out that something does tend to turn up sooner or later.

I also need to remind myself of the alternative – which is to leave and still only have one income and to be alone instead of being with the person that I committed to for richer and for poorer. If I’d expected the “poorer” part rather than the “richer” part my acceptance of our situation would have been so much simpler and less fraught with worries for the future – after all we don’t need anywhere near as much money as we think we do to have a very happy and contented life together.

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