Recently a family member I respect very much asked me a question I didn’t expect.
He said, “do you think your marriage is strong enough for you to be the primary breadwinner now?”
I laughed. I got it, though. It was a big change, after all. Since my firstborn was six months old I had been working part-time. In fact, for the past year and a half, I hadn’t worked more than a day a week. So for roughly six years or more I hadn’t worked a full-time job. Well, actually I had. Being a stay-at-home mom is definitely a full-time job. Overtime even. What I meant was I had not worked full-time outside of the home since I realized that motherhood was my calling in life. I loved being home with my babies! But sometimes often times motherhood means providing for your babies.
My husband has been holding the role of provider very well for many years now, and for the past few he had owned his own business in the way of a local, small restaurant. When he first was afforded the opportunity to switch from head cook to owner I was ecstatic. In retrospect, I know I probably wanted him to own the store more than he did. I often feel guilt over that. I wanted to have a husband who owned a restaurant, not just one who cooked there. I’m ashamed to admit that, but it’s true. The problem was I didn’t realize the toll it would take on him.
It started out well enough, but fairly quickly I saw the stress he was under. He ran a popular business, but even a popular business in a small town struggles. I watched stores in our rural town go out of business all the time and I could see why. Customers are fickle, and times are hard for everyone. The string of business wasn’t always what it needed to be. I watched my spouse take out numerous small business loans over the years to keep things afloat when business was slow, and many, many times I watched him work 60 hour weeks and not bring home a dime to our family. He’d pay his workers but not himself. I know that my Rodan + Field’s business kept us going, but much more it was the Lord providing when he didn’t pay himself a salary.
It’s not that I wish to air our laundry for all the world to see, but it becomes important in where we now stand to share how hard he tried to make things work. I am proud of him. He felt like he was failing us and failing his employees. He held on for that reason much longer than he should have. In the end, we were losing money, going in the hole, and he had to close the doors. Even when he finally did we still found ourselves in multiple debts to the business that couldn’t even feed our family. My breadwinning, hardworking husband found himself without a job. You might wonder how I felt about that?
I felt relief.
When I was asked if our relationship could survive a reversal of roles I had to laugh. I had to laugh because it didn’t bother me at all to go back to work full-time as an RN. It didn’t even bother me that I would need to travel nurse to supplement his lost income. It was my idea, in fact. We had very specific goals for our family, such as homeschooling our children, and only one, full-time working parent was what worked with our goals and desires. It was simply my turn.
I had watched my husband for years provide for us with a smile on his face, even when what he was doing sadly no longer provided. He never complained, and even when I saw the stress wearing on him, he remained upbeat and loving towards us. He did what he did for his family, and I do what I’m doing now for our family. We’re a partnership, and this is the season we are in now.
We love to share the gospel and consider it our top calling. We have felt and known God has a ministry calling on our life for over twenty years now. As we enter a new season in life that necessitates me working from the road, we consider it an open door to go where God would have us to go to share His love, for His Kingdom purposes. Call it a silver lining.
When you pray for open and closed doors, be prepared for what you’ll get. Then go through the open doors with an attitude of praise, and let the clanging of the closed ones not distract you from God’s blessings for your life.