The Role of a Supportive Spouse When Redefining After 50Aug 20, 2020
Many of us after 50 are at a point where are stopping to take a look at our past 50 years, looking ahead, and asking ourselves “What’s Next?” We’ve got years ahead of us and we may find ourselves wanting to dive in and do “that thing” we’ve always wanted to do but never got around to. Our family continues to be a priority but with our kids grown and gone, we aren’t needed 24/7 as we have been in the past. We have time to pursue “the thing!”
A big factor when making decisions to redefine a part of one’s life at any stage is how our spouse will feel about our choices and changes. We are strong women and don’t necessarily require “permission” to make these changes. However, knowing that we have the support of our spouse matters, nonetheless.
I would go so far as to argue that the support of our spouse while we work on pursuing our passion is instrumental to our success and most importantly, our happiness. Having been in a marriage where I was constantly having to defend my life choice of being a stay at home mom, I speak from experience on this. I made it happen, but it was difficult when I knew that my significant other wasn’t supportive of my priorities.
Fast Forward to Present
I returned from moving my mom, having made the decision to write and start my blog, and was extremely nervous to share my dream and excitement with my husband. What if he laughed at me? Or figured I wasn’t serious and would never see this through? When I look back on that fear, I know that that stemmed from within me 100%. He’s never been anything other than supportive and I should have known better. When I told him and he said “Go for it” and encouraged me, I thought I would burst. He even supported my paying for a fairly expensive course to help me start to learn all things blogging.
I’ve learned so much since February when I embarked on this journey. I’ve stretched my comfort level way beyond what I thought I was capable of both in terms of technology and being vulnerable with my writing. Perhaps most importantly, I’ve learned just how much further I can go with the encouragement of a supportive partner. And how much more enjoyable it makes everything along the way.
I Achieve More With and Because of his Support Than I Would Without It
In short, he is my biggest cheerleader. He patiently subscribes and unsubscribes to my blog while I test things out. He constantly tells me how impressed he is with the strides I’ve made with technology and means it.
When I’m cursing at the computer and talking out loud to myself, he tells me to get up and walk around and take a break. Which actually works.
He’s a smart man and has great advice on anything that I ask him about. Unsolicited advice is offered only when absolutely necessary. Each time it’s been correct and important.
His advice always comes free of judgement. This is not my history. It means more to me than I could have known.
I think his coup de grace occurred this past month when our credit card bill came. I’d put a little more money into the blog than I had intended to. His response? “It’s an investment.” And “you love it. It makes you happy.” Without even missing a beat or blinking an eye.
He Reminds Me Constantly That I Deserve This
I try to thank him every day for being so supportive. Not only in terms of my writing but with respect to all of my life choices. Each time I thank him, he reminds me that I deserve to be happy. And I know that I do but it’s still nice to be reminded of it.
He also reminds me of how I’ve always supported him in whatever it is that he has wanted to do because I want him to be happy. So why wouldn’t he do the same? Which makes perfect sense!
It’s important for us to take a step back at times, and treat ourselves the way we treat everyone else.
He Loves That We Each Have Our Own Interests (And So Do I)
Neither one of us is that part of a couple that feels the need to share all of the same interests and spend all of our free time together. He loves tinkering with his cars and airplanes and riding around our property on the tractor. I love reading, writing, and spending time with our grands.
We each bring a strong sense of individual self to the table which seems to strengthen our relationship and the research confirms that this is the case. We are two very different people and it works.
He is My Best Friend and With Him I Can Share My Victories and Defeats
It is invaluable to me to have my “safe person” with whom I can share it all at the end of the day. The good, the bad, and the ugly. We laugh together at some of the stories and he calms me down if I’m freaking out about something (which happens more times than I care to admit).
I’ve been writing open letters on my blog – one to my first husband who died when we were very young, one to my grandchildren, and one to my younger self. My husband jokingly one day said, “Where’s my open letter?”
It got me thinking. I tell him every single day what I’m happy and worried about. He is in the know constantly, so I’m not “feeling” a letter for him at the moment. But, it did cause me to reflect on how much of a role he has played in my work on the blog thus far – simply by being by my side, lending an ear and a shoulder, and cheering me on.
And, extreme gratitude followed closely behind that reflection.
When a Spouse is Not Supportive of our Redefining
If you are in a happy, healthy relationship and your spouse is not supportive of a life change that you are making, hear him out. He may have some valid concerns. Balance it all out. If and when you decide to move forward with your plan, be sure that he feels heard and included along the way. This is important for the continuation of a healthy relationship.
It’s not necessary or possible to agree on everything. But, having the loving support and encouragement of our spouses as we move forward on our journeys is paramount to our happiness and contentment with whatever we decide to undertake – especially after 50!