Yesterday marked the halfway point of my pregnancy; twenty weeks down, twenty more to go! I never thought I would get to celebrate this halfway marker. I had been warned years ago that I may never be able to get pregnant from a few minor health issues and family medical history. Yet here I sit, feeling my son squirm every few minutes.
Knowing that by the beginning of summer I would no longer be responsible for just myself forced to truly consider how I lived, what I actually enjoyed, what my values were. How could I still be the person I want to be and be the mom I hoped to be? Those deep thoughts stuck with me throughout my classes, planning our honeymoon, and finally, in our hotel room. I couldn't deny it anymore. Nestled in a safe place, with only my husband to hear what was about to be said, I finally admitted the troubles that had been weighing on me; I didn't want to be a lawyer.
I took the rest of my winter break to really reflect on my last year and half. What should have been some of my happiest moments (engagement, wedding, and my first pregnancy) were marred by this ugly shadow of what I had once considered my dream. It wasn't my dream anymore, but how could I possibly admit that to myself, let alone everyone around me? I had walked a big talk in undergrad and at reunions with old friends, raved about Kansas City, law school, and my adventures. But the reality was, I was drinking more than I ever had, Josh and I fought over petty things. I had no interest in social interactions. And the real hallmark that something was wrong, I hadn't pick up and a read book for the joy of reading in months. I wasn't happy. And with my child on the way, I knew I had to make the changes.
I threw my hands and heart up to God not too long ago, desperate and afraid of where to go next. And God answered me, calming the storms in my heart. I stepped out of the boat and onto the waves, putting my faith in God's love for me instead of world I could see around me. I swallowed my pride and gave up my identity I had longed for; I am no longer a law student. My identity as a Child of God, one of God's Daughters in Faith has grown each day that I was able to set aside who I thought I should be and embrace who I already was; His.
I never dreamed of a day that I would not be a "self-sufficient woman", never imagined myself as a stay-at-home mom or housewife. I have been a live-in nanny, and know firsthand how lonely it can be at times to have your social interactions predominantly with children. I have also provided for myself, with only a some help from my parents (thank you Mom and Dad!), since graduating high school.
But since getting married, Josh has been our steady source of income. And while I wouldn't describe myself as a housewife, I also wouldn't describe myself as the bread-winner of our family. And for the last three or four months, this reality has stung my pride. I didn't marry this man for his earning potential! I didn't marry Josh so he could put me through school! But there I was, realizing the pretty stark differences in our incomes and feeling pretty small because of it.
But marriage is not a fifty-fifty arrangement. We are not team of two identical people and we are not intended to be. Our partnership is called to be 100%, all of the time. To give ourselves to the other person, completely, every day. Josh gives of himself by working long hours in a occupation I could never do. I give of myself by creating a home for him to feel proud of. Are we in a set of gender roles I never pictured for myself? Absolutely! But I also never pictured myself pregnant this young; life's funny like that.
But more importantly, this is not about my pride. Josh is giving me a gift each day, an opportunity to pursue my dreams and to take the next six months and make them as healthy, relaxing, and productive as possible before we become parents. And while my pride may sting here and there, I realize that this is just growing pains, no different than my aching muscles after a good stretch. A good marriage requires us to die to ourselves, to put aside our pride and our wants for another's. That sting will fade, but the love we share with our partner will grow as we put aside our own visions of our future and embrace the necessity of teamwork. While one may be earning more money, the other is doing something equally important for the marriage.
Reflect on Corinthians 4:13, which reminds us what love is not. It is not proud or envious or angry or boastful. Our marriage is not our self, it is not about seeking our own way, but about seeking what is best for the other. And if we are both looking for the other's best interest, no one is lost in the mix.