Tuesday Truth - Spouse/CareGiver

"Oh, you're such a great guy!"  "She's just so lucky."  "She must love you very much."  "You did her makeup?"  "You did her hair?"  "You could work at a salon!" 

These are things people say when they get the five minute version of both how my wife and I met, or a general rundown of our lives.  I must be some kind of saint, right, to voluntarily take on the burden of a wife with a Diverse Ability, volunteering to take on the physical responsibilities of two parents in our family?  Wrong.  I'm kind of part husband, part home health aide, and whatever problems you can imagine occurring with either station, we've had them. 

What are some possible issues you could imagine having with a husband, all you wives out there?  Neglectful or forgetful behavior?  Not spending enough time with you, or not interested in what goes on in your life?  Too focused on his own stuff to want to focus on your stuff, too?  Spending too much time trying to spend time doing stuff with you, instead of spending time with you?  How about when he gets bored, or feels sad by your relationship, for any reason?  Maybe he looks at girls in ways you're not entirely comfortable with, or he doesn't realize, at least not consciously, when he sometimes sounds flirtatious.  Yeah, we've been there.

Now, how about all our DiversAble readers who've had aides at home?  Ever find that they can split hairs, about what they're supposed to help with and what they're not?  Or that they don't take initiative, they just sit in a corner until asked to do something, never seeing an opportunity to help before asked?  Or, maybe they never outright deny service, but have a kind of general attitude that while they do actually do what you ask them to, they seem reluctant, like they have better things to do with their time and you're a bother?  Or, maybe, they spend too much time on the phone, being disruptive, and in an effort to be less "bothersome", they leave the room, maybe find an isolated place they can continue their conversation, and don't return for hours.  Yeah, we've been there, too.

What I'm trying to say is that even though I volunteered for these positions, there are plenty of people who do.  All kinds of men get married.  All kinds of people become health aides.  Does that make every husband a good husband?  No.  Does that make every aide a good aide?  Oh, no.  This isn't one sided, either, just because I'm not a saint for volunteering for this, neither is she for putting up with this.

For all those husbands out there, what kinds of things would you consider to be frustrating?  You ever want to share something you think is awesome or incredible with your wives, and find she has little to no interest?  You ever feel like she demands so much of your emotions, you end up exhausted some times, but when she goes to someone else for emotional gratification, you feel slightly betrayed?  How about those husbands whose wives make more than they do?  I know you're out there.  You ever find that while out in the open, the money is "yours" plural, collectively, but when she wants to spend a little extra on something, there's not a second word, and when you do the same, you're not considering how hard it is to make that money?  You ever feel like arguments like "this is my house," or something like that, deflate when you most need them?  Yeah, we've been there.

I have often felt at odds with her aides, too.  Ever since my wife was pregnant, the only person who can transfer her has been me.  Earlier, it was because she got heavier with the baby.  Now, it's because having the baby severely hurt her hip, and her aides typically didn't transfer; they helped her transfer herself, which she can't do anymore because of that pain.  One of her transfer chairs is also broken, and can't support her.  So I do more of the physical work than I used to.  My wife, to her defense, has a strong sense of dignity, and modesty.  She prefers a small group of people to help her when she needs it, because she feels violated to be exposed to too many strangers.  Wouldn't all of us?  Also, her aides have been there for us in ways none need to be, officially, and she's grateful for that, as am I.  Finally, she finds that I take care of her the best in a lot of ways, so she thinks about me when she needs something, because I do it so well.  That's kind of a complement, and I'm grateful for it, but with the increased work load I mentioned above, that means I'm still doing things her aides could be doing. 

So, the final verdict, is that we love each other.  I bit off a lot to chew when I decided I wanted to live my life with a strong woman with physical Diverse Abilities.  She bit off a lot to chew when she decided to spend her life with a guy with some emotional Diverse Abilities and some character flaws.  We're both human, and we have enough problems individually not to have problems with each other.  But God has blessed this marriage, this shared life, and I am ever thankful for it.  I only see it as something worth celebrating.  So, am I a saint?  No, but neither is she.  We're just people, and in that way, we're just like everyone else.  And also just like everyone else, we're working on it. 

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