Carrying the Load

Today, I need to get something off my chest, but it’s not a rant like my July 14 “Stealing Time” post. I find myself thinking about stress a lot, and how it dovetails with faith (or sometimes lack thereof). And I’m thinking about it a lot in terms of my marriage.

I’m pretty laid back most of the time. I do get stressed over things, but it rarely lasts long. I sleep fine at night, I don’t have high blood pressure, I don’t get anxiety attacks. Mostly, I trust in God to deliver me from crap. And I daresay that Mrs. Blue and I have more crap to deal with than 90% of the people in our socioecomic cohort. For the most part, even when I feel a vague sense of unease, I mostly feel OK about life in general. Now, conflicts with people I love and who are close to me, those can mess me up, but most stressors in life just don’t knock my ass to the ground. I don’t think of myself as particularly strong in and of myself; I credit God for giving me much of the resources that I have to weather the storms.

And yet.

Mrs. Blue also has normal blood pressure and she maintains a pretty chipper face to people outside our family even when the stresses are high in our life. But she does get anxious and bummed and this translates into aches and pains and lack of sleep and sometimes just really, really bad moods. I realize there is nothing necessarily odd about this, nor is it bad per se that my wife and I operate differently in how we respond to stress. With me, it seems to roll off more; with her, it seems to stick more, and often build higher and higher with little relief.

My wife is no less faithful than I am. One could argue she is more so, I suspect. She prays more and she is in the Bible more often than I am. Yet she ends up with the greater stress.

And I wonder, is it my fault? My wife has always been the more organized of the two of us. I joke that she is the CEO and CFO of this family to my president and chairman of the board. She had always had more aptitude with figures and planning and dealing with people that we have to deal with. I’ve always been better doing my work, which at the moment still earns most of the money in this household, in supporting her in her work by being her sounding board and proofreader, and in accommodating our little girl’s most outrageous physical and emotional demands so that mommy won’t have child clinging to her every moment of the day.

And yet.

Have I dropped the ball? In thinking that my wife and I simply deal with stress differently and in thinking that we have an equitable split of the household duties, have I intepreted things wrong?

We are comparable in our faith in God and in our willingness to turn things over to God and ask for strength and help in times of trouble. Yet I seem to be the one who is least stressed.

Have I, through lack of action or lack of awareness, saddled Mrs. Blue with too much of the administrative work in this family? Is she so laden with having to look at the problems that we face that she can never look away from them? Does she lack for sleep and peace of mind because she just cannot let go of the stress and because there are just too many stressors that hit home for her…or is it because I’m not picking up some kind of slack?

I don’t know the answer. Once Mrs. Blue reads this, I don’t know that she’ll know either. I’m sure we’ll talk about it. Maybe we’ll even find answers. Maybe I’ll discover there is something I can do better.

We husbands and wives are supposed to be helpmates to one another. I think that too often, it’s easy to get caught up in ourselves and not be there as much as we should for the other person. That’s not the way it should be. Those of us who are married and who, I presume, still love our spouses…we need to do better to be there for them. Even when we think we’re doing enough, I suspect that most of us on both sides of the marriage still aren’t doing enough.

And if we don’t challenge ourselves and accept that fact that, “I might be the problem” instead of saying “I think you’re the problem” we are going to be very poor helpmates indeed.


6 Responses to “Carrying the Load”

  1. July 17, 2008 at 4:41 pm

    #1 i enjoyed reading this immensely!!
    #2 women and men have always and always will deal with stress differently.
    #3 women naturally want to “mother”, to make everything all right….and when we can’t, we feel like we are failing.
    #4 we, as women, tend to take things more personally, more to heart if you will, than men do.
    #5 i think if you are there to listen, offer advice, help(physically,mentally, emotionally, etc), whatever she is requesting in that moment, you will be picking up any slack there may be.
    #6 i also believe we are to be helpmates to our spouses. the Bible tells us that. and in order to be the helpmate we wshould be, we need to search ourselves first and make sure we are where we are supposed to be, doing what we are supposed to be doing to the best of our abilities before we look at our spouse and blame them for any problems we may be having. often times we will find the solution staring us in the face.
    and lastly #6 i now its kind of cheesy, but……the couple that prays together…stays together. the same can be said of Church attendace, Bible reading and probably a lot more!

  2. 2 Deacon Blue
    July 17, 2008 at 4:47 pm

    #6 is probably one of the items we most need to work on. We both pray, but we so rarely pray together. I don’t know why. It seems like something that should be so easy, yet it is so hard for us to manage.

    Thanks, Jsprik.

  3. July 17, 2008 at 5:04 pm

    lol….glad u didnt notice that should have been #7…..lol we need to work on it, too. we probably all do. i just have to say i have been reading a lot of your stuff and its great!! I have been struggling with how much i really want to get into “religion” on here because there are a lot of judgemental people out there who will view me as a hypocrit or carnal or “not a good Christian”, but reading some of your posts and the comments related to them gives me courage in some way that i cant really explain. i thank you for that!

  4. July 17, 2008 at 5:14 pm

    don’t know why my link takes you to myspace but this is my blog….http://jsprik.wordpress.com

  5. July 17, 2008 at 6:32 pm

    Liked this one. My wife and I have a similar dynamic. I don’t think it’s because of something I do, it’s more of personality trait passed on by her parents.

    It causes problems, but I’m trying to get better at being patient and understanding.

    Wish y’all well.

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Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

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