Yesterday's post about Tim got a comment that took me back. It began like so:
"So. Your husband, who you've pretty much maligned in this blog..."
I responded to it in the comments, but it's been eating at me for the day. It bothers me, because I think that I am, by nature, a pretty practical person. I married Tim knowing that he was not demonstrative, and to be honest, I do not need flowery displays of love. They're plenty nice, and I take them when I get them, but I think that I know Tim's heart well enough that our relationship doesn't depend on the 'displays'. We've plodded along, working well together for nearly 11 years. We are to all outward appearances, a close couple. I talk a lot. I'm the communicator. Tim talks a lot more than he did at the beginning, but he is what he is. We're a fairly good and hardworking team.
Suddenly along comes this bump in the road called cancer. Believe me, it set me back on my haunches. Re-evaluating, staring down the barrel at my own mortality, trying to explain it to 5 kids, one of whom is mentally ill, trying to process a huge amount of information very quickly. Some of this information had very large (and unfamiliar) words. I was trying to comfort the people who were comforting me, and I was trying to behave as a woman of faith would behave. I think I've been doing a fairly good job at this.
While I am fairly straight forward, Tim ignores things that he doesn't want to deal with. He simply doesn't acknowledge them. This is not to say that he doesn't worry inside, but he will not show it. It's all business as usual, and he finds comfort in his routine.Tim has a pretty bad case of scoliosis. It's bad enough that it actually stunted his growth. At 5'4", he's exactly the same height as me. I say this because his height had made him the butt of practical jokes growing up, because people perceived him as weak. Surprisingly, one of his greatest tormentors was his father (a preacher). Tim had pretty low self esteem when we met. I've spent a lot of time nurturing my husband, and he's come a long way. He'll tell you that, himself. He's a lot more asssertive. He's more of a risk taker, because he's begun to view himself as competant. There, in a nutshell, is the dynamics of our relationship.
This time around, I needed a little bit more. Initially, he balked. After all, I am the care taker. I am the person who nurtures. That's what it says in my profile, and it is true. So Tim dragged his heels and I insisted. I need my support, and it's what he promised in our wedding. At no time in our relationship, have I ever been 'needy'. Now I am. I need to know that I was valued, and I need to know that if the worst happens, he will be able to step out of his shell to comfort our children. I need to know that if I was weak for a while, he'd be strong. Sometimes I need a hug without asking for one, or without giving it first. Sometimes, I simply need him to cut me a bit of slack. I need him to understand that some days are difficult, and not to give me guff if I cry, or if I'm quiet, or if supper is slap dash, etc. I need to know that I'm more important than his routine.
In last month, Tim has begun to 'get it'. He is not perfect, nor do I expect him to be. But we've cried together (a first in our marriage), and we've begun to cling to one another (consolation sex is pretty...well...consoling, I'm embarrassed to say). We pray with one heart. All these things are good things, and like I said, we're all learning valuable lessons and will be better for it. I know that what Tim and I have had has always been strong, but we are becoming stronger. I just wanted to make it perfectly clear: my posts have never been intended to malign my husband, but to highlight the challenges any relationship faces when it hits a bump in the road.