A friend's husband had heart surgery this week. He was in his early thirties. Luckily the procedure went well. He was released twenty four hours later in very stable condition.
Many of us married folks will never undergo the extreme of open heart surgery, but we've had many a heart ache none the less. Perhaps our spouse is consistently losing his job. Maybe he's taken up drinking. What if he's not the parent you expected or, on a smaller note, he's a slob around the house? (How hard is it to hang wet towels anyway?)
Each of the above scenarios is as vastly different as our spouses. What's equally different is how we react to them.
For me, the most difficult quality I've encountered in Rex is his narrow minded work focus. Whether he's painting a house or climbing the corporate ladder, he won't stop until every item on his list is checked off. While this might make him a great provider financially, it's frustrating on an emotional level when I want a partner around to laugh or chat with - not to mention a break from the often grueling demands of parenting young kids.
I used to get my heart broken fairly easily. My high expectations never seemed to be met. "Why am I always last on the list?" I'd think, once again cleaning dishes alone long after the kids had gone to bed.
I sat him down last month, despite his long night at work. I didn't scream. I didn't nag. I didn't cry. I stated the facts. "I need help," I offered plainly. "I can't do this alone anymore."
Part of the reason I hadn't said anything earlier was my pride. "I'm a big girl. I can handle this." Also, he is a stubborn stubborn STUBBORN man. I didn't feel like hearing the excuses why he was at work, or why he couldn't make the school play. But I put aside my fears of rejection - of heartache - to put myself first. Even if he fought me on it, I knew I was worth it.
Like my friend's husband, I'm thrilled to say that Rex has stepped up to the plate more than I ever dreamed possible. It wasn't some magic surgery on his heart. It was my own transformation. I put myself first. If he had resisted, I had a back up plan. (Next post!)
As I type this on the couch in my cabin, the kids are fast asleep after hearing a bedtime story from Papa.
"What can I get you, Love?" he offers, before plunking down with a tech book.
"Nothing," I smile back. And I mean it. These days my heart, like my friend's husband, is in very stable condition.
PS: I don't anticipate any heart attacks tonight, but I do forsee some strokes.
Posted by Andrea Frazer
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