(April 17, 2017)
I was always more ambitious and competitive than he was. He wanted a simple, happy life that did not welcome challenges other than the ones that presented themselves in the midst of getting by. I wanted to make the most of myself, while he just wanted a place to live, and to have me by his side, and someday, a few kids.
He didn’t want to climb the ladders of bureaucracy to escape the marginal life, but I did. I grew up in that pit, and I never want to go back. I remember the times we couldn’t pay the electricity bill. I remember being a burden to the rest of our family. I remember living on government assistance. I remember feeling trapped in my own family. Why would I set myself up for the same lifestyle, all over again, when I have worked so hard to overcome it?
He didn’t want me to finish college, but to this day, I am still desperate to do so. He wanted me to take a gap year and marry him, and to distract me long enough to allow that gap year to melt into a lifetime of wifery and child rearing and being his big supporter. That, or he would take on the role of a stay at home father who pastored on the side, and I was burdened with the responsibility of magically providing the yearly one hundred thousand dollar salary it takes to raise a family, with no degree to support my employability.
That, and he had this illusion that we would not need that much to survive. He just assumed that our future hospital bills would pay themselves for every child he wanted me to have for him. He assumed we would make enough for us to have a place to live with entry level jobs, and that God would provide. In his eyes, striving for a life to make more meant that you did not have enough faith in God to provide for you.
But he has never calculated the costs of living the way that I have, on endless excel documents, comparing different areas of the world and living expenses. His electricity never went out. His family never climbed out of the hopelessness of government assistance.
I did not mind the idea of being the main breadwinner, but I was offended at his refusal work alongside with me in the endeavors to take care of ourselves. I was insulted at the idea of having to do this all alone. I was disturbed at his insistence on being poor “in the name of Jesus.” I was repulsed by his abuse of my religion, and his lack of grip on reality.
I felt dirty, and shameful for wanting him to pursue a job that made more money. I felt like a gold digger, but I was never asking for excessively nice things, I just wanted us to have the mild standard of middle-lower class. Like him, I just wanted us, with our combined income, to make enough to get by. Unlike him, I saw the reality of how challenging that is and was willing to do what it takes to succeed.