AN UNMET EXPECTATION - HAVING A NINE TO FIVE HUSBAND

It's time to replace the unmet expectation of a 9-5 husband with the reality that the man I married likes to be more flexible - and that can work really well too. #marriage

EXPECTING HIM TO DO THE 9-5 ROUTINE

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, but 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.

WHAT THE REALITY WAS

So for 30 or so years of marriage, he has jumped from job to job, to being self employed, to freelancing, 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 this being an unmet expectation.

ACKNOWLEDGING THE DIFFERENCES

I've finally come to see that my husband is a man who marches to the beat of a completely different drum to mine. He is a deep thinker, he has a creative mind, and he doesn’t thrive in a 9-5 work environment. He isn’t cut out for an office job where he answers to the whims of those in the hierarchy above him – and because of that he changes jobs on a fairly regular basis. The latest change was when he hit 50 and took a redundancy - choosing to return to study. He is now a Family Counsellor working from home and mixes seeing his clients with a bit of tutoring and mentoring for the organization he got his qualifications through. It works beautifully for him and I’m happy that he’s happy (and earning some money in the process!)

Life isn't always what you expect, marriage isn't always what you expect. The secret is to roll with the punches, to drop those unreal expectations and start enjoying life for what it is, rather than what you'd imagined it would be. Once you recalibrate and look for the positives in your situation, it becomes so much easier to accept and to enjoy. Life is short, marriage is forever (hopefully) so it's up to us to make the best of our differences, rather than fighting the unchangeable.

roll with the punches, to drop those unreal expectations and start enjoying life for what it is, rather than what you'd imagined it would be. #quote

AN UPDATE

When I wrote this post I was still adjusting to 30 years of things not being quite as I'd planned. Since then I've opened my eyes to the fact that (through all the ups and downs) we've managed to live frugally, not miss out on anything, become debt free, own our home, and be set up for a comfortable retirement.

We've worked hard and it's paid off - it might not be a conventional 9-5 for either of us, but it's worked. And now the shoe is on the other foot because I left my job (not once, but twice!) in the last few years and now I'm considering early retirement because my very flexible husband is happy to be the main breadwinner this time. It might have taken 37 years, but I'm happy with how things are - sharing the workload, sharing the love, and being kind to each other and compromising where we need to.


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It's time to replace the unmet expectation of a 9-5 husband with the reality that the man I married likes to be more flexible - and that can work really well too. #marriage

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