I see you over there. I know you’re feeling broken down, frustrated, and overwhelmed. Sometimes this life is just way harder than you imagined, am I right?
Sure, at first it seemed a little exciting – after all, admit it: uniforms are super sexy. And you’re so proud to have a husband who’s a real-life superhero. But after the excitement wears off, it’s just flat out tough.
After all, when you said “I do” to your husband, you might not have realized he’d have another wife – one that’s much needier, that calls him at all hours of the night. One to whom he responds, every single time. It’s hard to feel treasured as a wife when there’s something else that always comes first.
And that other wife? She can be a real wench, right? She sends your husband home tired, frustrated, worn out, even traumatized at times. You can’t ever really tell what his response is going to be after a long shift, whether he’s going to shut you out and refuse to talk, or whether he’s going to need to feel close to you (even if he still doesn’t want to talk.)
She doesn’t even care what your husband is doing when she calls him in after hours, or keeps him late, or refuses to give him back. It could be a family event, it could be postpartum recovery, it could be the moment you most need your husband in the entire world – but if she comes calling with enough of an emergency, he’ll be out the door as soon as he can toss his Kevlar on.
She steals all his time and, superficially at least, gives very little back to him.
Heaven knows his commitment to the job doesn’t pay all that well. It doesn’t even give him much clout in the community. While some say thank you and wholeheartedly appreciate his effort and sacrifice, most others think of him at best as a garbage man, to take care of what they’d rather not see or think about, and at worst, a ruthless criminal who hides behind the badge (more on that here). That sucks.
I know it’s hard to see your husband go through this. It’s hard to see him being challenged and broken down at every turn, to see even the most formerly optimistic man become jaded about humanity.
I know you want to be the most supportive wife you can – even though you yourself feel lonely. After all, because of your husband’s job, you attend so many events alone (or alone with kids – which is always fun :)) and you take so much on yourself, just as far as household tasks and childcare go. Not even counting anything else you take on.
I know you’re tired of trying. I know you’re frustrated that your husband won’t open up to you, that he won’t tell you what’s wrong or how his day went. It’s so hard when you feel like there’s a wedge between you that can’t be overcome.
And boy, do I know how frustrating it is when the stress of the job gets taken out on you when you’re just trying to help. That snide comment from your husband about the *one thing* you didn’t manage to get to all day is enough to make anyone go over the edge.
But with all that being said, I just want to tell you: you’re doing better than you think you are.
Seriously – no matter how lousy you think you’re doing, no matter how little impact you think you have on the world or even your family, you’re doing a good job.
If you’re trying to be a good wife and putting forth the effort to take care of your husband, you’re probably doing a good job.
If you want to be a good mother and care enough that you feel stressed out because you don’t think you’re there yet? You’re probably doing a pretty great job.
You know how I know you’re doing a great job?
Because you care.
You care about those around you. You care about your husband. You’re proud of the work he does, even when you personally struggle with the chaos it creates. You care about your family, and you’re willing to give them all of you.
You care about the difference you and your husband can create in society, even if the difference you’re making feels impossibly small some days.
You are enough.
So please, remember to give yourself some credit. Your husband may be a real life superhero, but believe me when I say he wouldn’t be the same without his sidekick.
You are strong. You are wonderful. You have value beyond words.
And sister? I love you. My heart goes out to you every day in prayer, hoping I can make your day just a little bit better. So take this letter as a virtual hug, and an excuse to go treat yourself to something special, even if it’s just a nice bath or your favorite chocolate bar. 🙂