People often ask me when I am going to get married. I imagine any single person over 30 years old gets asked that question. It’s especially awkward when you’re dating someone new and you bring them around your family for the first time. My brothers are probably the best at the art of intimidating “the new guy.”
To be honest, I know not to offer married women advice about their husbands or their relationships. Clearly, I am no expert. So for the most part, I observe my married friends’ triumphs and tragedies with friendly disconnect. This weekend that was not exactly possible.
My friend Connie has been married for five years. Recently, she got into a disagreement with her husband, Joe, over going back to work and, I must say, I was perplexed to be in the midst of it.
Their son, Eli, was turning 5 and going to school. So Connie was ready to go back to work. In fact, she had been talking to me with excitement about it for months. She’d asked me for job leads and, like any well-meaning friend, I gave them to her. I was beyond excited when she told me she would be starting work in a few days.
I was excited, that is, until her husband called to ask me why I had not mentioned helping his wife get a job. It never occurred to me to mention it to him. Isn’t that what being equally yoked is about? It also never occurred to me to ask whether she had shared this with her husband. I assumed that married couples discuss things before making a decision.
“Cher,” he sighed, “I really don’t want her going back to work.”
In my mind I was thinking, “What caveman thinking is that?” but my reply was “Shouldn’t you be discussing this with her?” Yes, he said and hung up. I was annoyed, but more than that, I was worried that this was a big deal.
A few days later, Connie apologized for getting me involved in their disagreement. She said she’d made the decision to work again and her husband didn’t want her to. She said she loves nursing and would not give it up.
When I asked how they would resolve the matter, she said, “Cher, I love my husband and he loves me. This is not a deal-breaker. In all relationships, sometimes you must compromise and sometimes you must stand your ground. This time, I’m standing my ground and he’ll have to compromise. Next time it might be the other way around. I know that you make those decisions yourself in your household. Sometimes I miss my single days. I envy you that.”
I smiled and said, “I’m glad you guys are cool.”
As I hung up the phone, I thought it might be cool not to have to make all the decisions all the time and to have someone be the voice of discontent. Perhaps that married thing might not be so bad after all.