Before I was married, when I’d think about the kind of guy I wanted for a husband, I pictured myself with someone that was a little bit older. He’d be loving, kind, and somewhat distinguished…a college professor type of guy. And he would be more than happy to do all the cooking, because I didn’t really cook.
Well, I did marry an older, distinguished and wonderful guy who loved to cook, but he definitely wasn’t a college professor. In fact, he was a former high school counselor turned associate pastor, which was completely fine with me, because we were just right for each other.
One day, after we had been married for a few years, we started talking about dreams and goals we wanted to accomplish. For some reason, I shared with him about how I’d always pictured myself marrying a college professor type of guy. That’s when he shared with me how he’d always wanted to go back to school and get his doctorate. This desire went all the way back to his undergraduate days.
Of course, I wanted to do everything I could to help make this dream a reality for him. At the time, we both worked full time and our kids were 16 and 17. We weren’t in any hurry to have a baby, but knew we’d eventually like to expand our family. However, after Chris was accepted into his doctoral program, we knew our family plans would be put on hold until after he was finished.
I learned a lot about myself and my husband during that challenging, growing and stretching season of our marriage. He was working and taking on the added responsibility of school. I so admired his drive, determination and courage to go after something he had wanted for so long. And I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything. All of my husband’s hard work paid off and he earned his PhD in counseling.
Here are some takeaways I experienced when it came to supporting my husband while he chased his dream.
- Be flexible. As I mentioned earlier, I didn’t really cook before I got married, and my husband had no problem handling all of the cooking. But when he decided to go back to school, I suddenly realized that if our family was going to eat, I’d need to brush up on my cooking skills. My mom always told me that, “if you can read, you can cook.” Turns out, she was right. And I discovered I loved the process of trying new recipes, feeding my family meals they enjoyed and improving my skills. In fact, I loved it so much that I still do the majority of our cooking now!
- Compromise. I remember saying “no” to lots of things during that season, like parties, dinners with friends, etc. Sometimes I would go solo to different events, but that can be hard when you don’t have your spouse to enjoy it with you, or know that your friends miss seeing them. Time was a very precious commodity.
- Sacrifice. This will be different for everyone. It could be financial, physical, emotional…all of the above. We put expanding our family on hold, because we knew that adding a baby to the mix would definitely add it’s own set of challenges. What are you willing to put on hold and what are your dealbreakers?
Supporting a spouse while they go after their goals or dreams is no joke. But we knew it wouldn’t be easy, and talked about the pros and cons before deciding to embark on that journey. The key for us was knowing that we had to do it together, as a team.