So this morning as I'm dropping my son off at school, something my husband's been doing since he redefined his life's expectations (a lovely way to say that he decided he could no longer practice medicine- right?!) and this woman I know said, “Where's your husband?”
To which I replied, “Oh he's off training for his Chandler job. She looked at me like I had two heads and said, “Wow you really didn't sign up for this when you got married… did you?”
I just smiled and said, “Well, everyone's got their path and then my voice trailed off, because the truth is– no this is not quite what I signed up for in theory. I married a man who spent 11 years after college pursuing a double board certified degree in medicine- as a Nephrologist and an Internist and now he is no longer practicing medicine.
In a perfect world, I would have believed when I met him at the tender age of 22- and had stars in my eyes as I fast forwarded 20 years into the future- him at a successful medical practice and me enjoying the fruits of being a “doctor's wife.” Of course what I wanted at 22- is nothing even remotely what I hoped for at 37.
I think back to my inflated sense of what my marriage was going to provide for me- and my firm belief that it would be all roses, unicorns and rainbow bursts. I never imagined a time that he wouldn't be practicing medicine and that he'd feel the need to reinvent himself in his mid-life (and here I was thinking I was his mid-life crisis!). But that's the thing about marriage– there are so many unknowns, and like life no certainties. And every day you need to work at it to keep it intact even when you feel like cutting out… and heading for the hills.
Sure I guess I could've stomped around, like a petulant child, and demanded that he stay firmly planted in a career that he spent the better part of his twenties and thirties working towards but –ultimately I can't be the person who makes him go to work. He needs to wake up every morning and feel good about what he's doing- he needs to find his niche. And as his wife and his partner I know I need to support him and reinvent our marriage as well- because of course this is not what I signed up for– but honestly- do any of us- really get what we signed up for in our marriage?