School and marriage; two things that, when put place in the same life scenario, sends people running for the hills filled with fear. Occupational Therapy Assisstant school is single handedly the hardest schooling I have ever endured, and 90% of that is totally my fault. I put all of this unnecessary pressure on myself to be the perfect student with the perfect grades, to know as much as I can about as many things as I can so that when I graduate I can provide skilled services and help improve people’s lives. Where does that leave me? Better yet, where does that leave my marriage?
There are literally days where I am gone from 7:45 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., give or take a little. During that time my mind is filled with all of the assignments I have due, upcoming projects, and tests for the week. Meanwhile, I wonder what’s for dinner, am I going to get QUALITY/UNINTERRUPTED time with my husband, how am I going to straighten up the yard and garden…and the list goes on, and on, and on.
Often, I am so spent at the end of the day that I turn off my radio on the drive home and I make a blanket statement of “I literally can’t talk about my day” to my husband because my brain feels overloaded. Which I hate, sometimes really awesome things happen in my day and even though my wheels are turning and I am really excited to just have learned something, I physically and emotionally do not have the energy to express those feelings.
The biggest game changer for these past 10 months has been the support and patience of my husband. We all experience those days where we just aren’t ourselves; the day has taken its toll, your short-tempered, snappy, even distant– that is where your spouse can either help or hinder.
My husband is a helper, and instead of envying him for his insane patience and kindness even when I feel like I am failing as a wife and homemaker; I learn from him. There are times for him to where he has just worked a 17 hour shift 3 days in a row and missed a meal here and there. In those times, he’s tired and he’s even said to me “I just want to come home and do nothing. Not talk and not do house work.” Now, that doesn’t mean there aren’t 27943 things to be done around the house. But, instead of getting mad or frustrated; I show him the same TLC that he shows me endless amounts of times.
You have to put in work in your marriage. I feel like it is often misunderstood the term of “marriage is hard”…when you love someone, it is not the marriage that is hard (most times). It is when you are totally spent from the day and want nothing but to come home and be a couch burrito and isolate yourself for 5 hours BUT you have a relationship to put effort into. You have to care more about the other person than you do yourself because how easy it would be to shut the other out during those times.
If it weren’t for the support and understanding of my spouse, I’m not sure I would have made it this far in the program. I’m not sure our house would be in as much order as it is (not that is is perfect, but we try). And I’m definitely not sure my mental health would be as positive as it is.
This is my hope and call to action for you; if you see your spouse overwhelmed and struggling, do not be frustrated or upset with them. Support them. Be their laugh for the day. Split the responsibility of dinner. Talk a walk if it’s out of the normal routine and delve into relaxation that will have a positive, harmonious effect on your relationship.
With love, Elizabeth.