Today (well, not today but on the day I started writing this blog post), as I toiled away spring cleaning the stove, a thought popped into my head. As per usual when these things happen, the thought nagged and refused to leave until I’d pressurized it and beaten it into oblivion with my mental broom.
The thought was, what do you do when you are married to someone whose ambitions have resulted in a marriage of lacklustre and neglect? You see, we millennials have risen to the daunting challenge of work, life and achieving balance with astonishing ferocity. The foundations and social structures of our society weren’t built on the premise of two people being ambitious in a marriage. It favoured one (we all know which one) going out and making the bacon. Whether or not the had time to be a spouse of help with the rearing of children wasn’t really a consideration. But we have broken moulds and barriers. We demand more than dull, passing existences.
There are many children walking around who don’t know their parents as individuals. Sure the have an idea of who they are, but may not know them.
The imaginary situation in my head had one partner feeling neglected for an extended period…, years if you will. Let’s give our (they’re yours’ now too because I’m subjecting you to them ) imaginary couple Kate and Ken.
Our fictitious couple
Ken is super ambitious. He’s always working and doesn’t have time for much else. He works long hours and is laser-focused on his goals. He is prepared to grind hard for the next few year. In fact, he wants so badly to give Kate the life he thinks she deserves, he has built himself blinders, and developed tunnel vision.
Kate has her own ambitions too, though they aren’t nearly as demanding as Ken’s. Nonetheless, she tries to make time for Ken. But more often than not finds herself last on Ken’s list of priorities. She feels she is constantly giving, having to be understanding and gets very little love and attention in return. She begins to feel she is carrying the marriage on her back.
When Kate tries to talk about how she feels with Ken, she shares that she feels neglected. Ken’s response is an annoyance. He feels that since he’s working as hard as he does so they can both have a good life, Kate shouldn’t feel the way she does. After all, he’s not out idling or being unfaithful. She should understand and just push through.
In consideration of the above scenario, my own marriage comes into focus. For the most part, I’m a Kate. But, my Ken understands that I need him, and while I actively support his ambitions, our marriage requires participation from two. So, he actively pursues balance, as much as he can manage to stay present and ensures I don’t feel like the Kate in our story.
Several months ago, a friend of mine’s husband made a comment, and though he’d been speaking on long distance relationships at the the time, his comment was one of those things your brain clutches and refuses to let go of. He said,
Sometimes, you have to delay/lengthen the timeline of the goals, in order to preserve that thing you’re working so hard for.Mr.Xo
I instantly recognised this to be true and connected with other people’s experiences where they work hard, for a number of years, and one day they realise, the person they wanted to be sharing success so deservingly earned with, was no longer there, which is ultimately where I’m going with this.
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Neglect in a relationship, no matter the reason, is still neglect. It’s unfair to ask a person to rename or ignore their feelings because of your reasons. You have to be willing the spend the time and effort to clean the house, even if it’s to tidy up every now and again, otherwise, it will begin to wear the dust heavily, and eventually succumb to a lack of care. It’s why we spring clean every few months or paint the house every Christmas. It’s why unworn shoes dry rot and fall apart when you do wear them.
The truth is, if you are ambitious, truly ambitious, it never ends. Every goal secured will give rise to another, and before you know it, a decade has passed. A decade of excuses and reasons.
So, my tip to us ambitious millennials is, stop and polish your marriage often enough to keep your spouse happy, and dammit, wear those shoes around the house, or they’ll be rotted by the time this pandemic is over.
Until next time,
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