Today is my husband’s birthday. He took the day off work and we headed off to enjoy a lovely lunch together. We ordered some tapas, a glass of wine each … perfection. That is, until I started discussing contracts.
To be clear, it was not my intention to discuss contracts of any description with him. And I must admit that I have no idea what he said that inspired my train of thought. I suspect I have been dwelling on contracts for some time and the words just happened to spill out of my mouth when we both stopped long enough to look at one another.
I hear you asking, what contracts? The contracts that we write as a couple. Much of the time they are verbal, somewhat vague and the details not fully fleshed out. That’s my experience anyway. They are also rarely reviewed. They might receive the odd addendum, a slight change in wording but no major overhauls. Until today.
When we decided to move back to Australia, we imagined all kinds of scenarios. Moving home with employment. Moving home without employment. Renting. Buying a house. Where would the kids go to school? These scenarios all focused on different reconfigurations of the current setup. The man working, the kids schooling and the wife … making the best of the situation she was in.
I must say that I personally think that I do quite a good job at that. However, one of the scenarios that began to form at the back of my mind was the end of the status quo. I talked about the opportunity to go back to work but always in the abstract. We definitely did not look beyond the actual getting a job part. You know, to the bit where my having a job might actually impact on the rest of the family. We never touched on a redistribution of the current responsibilities to allow this to work out satisfactorily for everyone.
I never began to think beyond “getting a job”. Never began to think about what my desires were. Where my passions lay.
If I had have been in the mood, I would have liked to have captured the look on my dear hubby’s face when I dumped these thoughts into his lap. Gobsmacked would be an understatement. Thankfully I did wait till we had finished eating. Unfortunately for him this is an academic conversation for the time being. I did point out that it is better to lay the foundations for this discussion at this point rather than when we are bogged down in the miry mess. The details will need to be worked out as the picture becomes clearer.
So this is our next step. To work towards a reworking of the unwritten contract that has guided our family up til this point. To rewrite it so that it allows for both of us to enjoy the new opportunities that await us.
To succeed without bloodshed.