Wednesday, August 20, 2008
"Do you hate your wife/life?"
Meir, that was an interesting question. "Do you hate your wife/life?" Obviously, the answer is an emphatic NO.
My understanding about love and hate when it comes to my wife (who is my partner in life) is that love or hate is determined based on the CHARACTER of the person you are loving or hating. When I dated my wife (albeit briefly per the shidduch model as opposed to to the secular dating model), my four-part criteria for marriage was 1) whether she is a good person, 2) whether she has a good heart, 3) whether she has good or selfish intentions, and 4) whether she would be a good mother / wife.
My wife is a loving, caring woman who while she obviously has her flaws (as I certainly do too,) is a good person with a good heart and a good character. Her intentions are for the most part good. She is an excellent mother, and she tries her hardest to be a good wife. Where I take issue with her is her organization skills and her openness to dealing with my criticisms, even when they are constructive (which they usually are first and it upsets me that I feel that she responds better to anger and fights rather than loving suggestions.) I have strong expectations for how a family should run (clean house, things in order) and while I believe in a relatively high maintenance household, she does not share that high maintenance attitude and is more lax and chill about things which frustrates me and is the root of most of our problems. We are the "odd couple," me being Felix and her being Oscar, and most of our fights come from this point.
The problems arise from the fact that I try to be understanding about her mentality and I give her a lot of slack but that doesn't change my expectations or my willingness to live in a dirty, unorganized, or messy home. I won't and I cannot live in a messy home and I know that many people are comfortable or happy in this environment, but not me. I absolutely will NOT live in a home like this and I will make problems and even pick a fight if and when this escalates past my level of acceptible discomfort. My wife tries her hardest to keep everything clean and to have everything done, but I suspect that she doesn't yet have the organization skills to maintain the house in this condition. I also suspect that she wastes time daily on facebook and on other websites when she should be running the household and taking care of things that will move our family forward rather than cause us to slide backwards. So yes, this is a big weakness on her part, but then again, look at me now -- I am writing this when I should be working and so I will have to stay extra hours to make up for the time I am wasting now writing this blog entry.
So in short, yes, I love my wife. As for my life, I value the fact that I have a caring wife who is a good person and who I love dearly. I also cherish the fact that I have a cute and loving child who she is raising into a wonderful little boy, and that we have a second on the way. I am relieved and happy that I have a job that pays our bills and contributes to paying down debt (albeit slowly), and that we have our health and are living a semi-comfortable lifestyle.
What I do not like is the fact that I often feel physically dirty after being in our house, and that my clothes and other parts of my life are not in order. I hate the fact that I am 40 pounds overweight, and I hate the fact that my busy disorganized life does not give me the time or the money to pursue any of my interests. I hate the fact that my wife and I are over $160,000 in school loan debt, and I hate the fact that my job barely pays my bills and that it minimally pays down my debt and that there is barely anything left over for the comforts in life. I hate the fact that I always feel poor, and I hate the fact that EVERYTHING is getting more expensive and that our cost of living only increases and this bugs me to no end, especially because I am trying my hardest to conserve. I also hate the fact that I worked so hard for a law degree and that I have not been given the chance to use it, yet I still have to make my blood payments towards those loans every month. Most of all, I hate the fact that it will take at least 4-5 years to get out of this mess at a minimum, and then we will be left with only $100,000 in federal loans which we can pay the minimum at 3.125% for the next 20 years (even though our payments keep increasing and will continue to increase until we pay it off based on our current payment plan.)
So you see, I love my life, and I hate my life. The most important thing is that I [for the most part] wake up every morning, I go to shul and pray, I spend some time with my wife and my son before I go to work, I work hard, and in the evenings I try to rest (even though this almost never happens.) I am taking steps to remedy the "no technical science degree" issue by taking classes online which will get me into a degree program which will take me a few years to complete. At the minimum, I am happy this plan is in motion. Lastly, my wife and I are working together to build an orderly house, and we each are working on bettering ourselves both physically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually. I wish there would be a quick fix for our problems, but they all take time, care, and effort which we are giving them.