I’ve been struggling these past couple of weeks to understand why Pete is so at peace with his move back to engineering. I know that it’s partly about providing for us, but I would still expect to see a little twinge of regret. We’ve had disappointments in the past, and I have seen Pete’s heartbreak and frustration. There is no hint of that here.
I think I figured it out this morning. As I was getting ready (translation: brushing my wet hair back into a ponytail), I was also pondering the whole thing. I thought about how much his dreams have meant to him, to be in full-time ministry. I thought about all that we have sacrificed over the years to make that dream a reality. I thought about things he’s said in the past about how much it means to him that I’ve supported all those sacrifices and the changes and the uncertainty.
And that’s when it hit me, so suddenly that I stopped with the ponytail holder wrapped halfway around my hand, cutting off the blood supply. But I had to keep still to let the thought sink all the way in.
Pete is at peace with this change because it will allow me to pursue my dreams. For the past several months, I have had to take time away from my novel and other writing in order to try to earn money for our family through independent sales. I never realized until today how much that has bothered him.
Over the years that Pete was in seminary, I wasn’t trying to pursue writing. I had put it on the back burner, with my girls and Pete up front. Pete encouraged me back then to return to writing, but I shoo’ed him away, insisting that there wasn’t time. But steadily, over the past two and a half years, I have started to write again, and Pete has faithfully supported that dream. He has taken the girls away from the house for hours at a time so I could get my rough draft finished. He has bragged about my little milestones to his friends here, his friends back in California, to pretty much anyone that would listen. He has stepped in and argued with me when I’ve insisted that I should just give up, that it’s all a waste of time.
All of these things, as I thought of them, sounded eerily familiar. They are echoes of what I’ve tried to do for Pete in supporting his dreams. I never thought about it, and I certainly don’t intend to boast about it here. I only did those things out of love for him and a desire to see him happy.
The more I think about it, the more certain I become that this is a key to a strong marriage: supporting the dreams of your spouse, in word and in deed. “Two are better than one, for they have a good return for their work; when one falls down, the other can lift him up” (Ecclesiastes 4:9).
I pray that I will continue to be aware of and grateful for Pete’s support of my dreams. And I pray that I will continue to support him in his.