A Special Place in Heaven
In a few months, Random Writer and I will celebrate 32 years of marriage. We’ve known each other for 36 years. Over those years, I’ve had more than just a few people who know us both say to me, “You are an angel. There surely is a place in heaven for you!” I’ve never really had a suitable response ready except for the time I told a coworker that he must not really know Random Writer at all.
I know that people are just trying to be funny, ease tension, or show support, but lately I see it as an insult to both of us, as well as a misunderstanding of mental health.
To call me an angel and give me some assurance that I will be rewarded in an afterlife insinuates that I am a) only in this marriage as a caregiver to Random Writer, b) that our marriage is not rewarding, and c) that Random Writer is not bringing anything to our union. These are far from reality.
I am not an angel. I am a wife. We have always approached tasks and responsibilities in our marriage on a sliding scale. I handle all the money; he handles all the repairs. He did all the camping with our boys; I did all the doctor’s appointments. I do the laundry; he takes care of the lawn. He cooks dinner; I clean the kitchen. When the demands of our jobs or his mental health are too much, we outsource some of this work to ease the struggle. Perhaps over the years, some on the outside may have the idea that I do “more than my fair share,” but they don’t know the work that goes into trying to live and cope with depression, anxiety, and ADHD. There have been days, months, maybe even the last few years where the scale has been tipped more towards me because of med changes, depressive episodes, or the demands of outpatient therapy but the thing is, we are in charge of our marriage and we get to determine what constitutes fair.
Assuring me that I will be rewarded in an afterlife is assuming that I am not being rewarded during my life on earth. First, let me say that I married Random Writer for who he is, not who I was hoping he might change into. I knew his struggles and his flaws. I also knew his incredible capacity to love, his strength of character, and his ability to make me happy. Over the years, he has been my number one cheerleader, supporter, confidant, and ally. I have been the same for him. That’s what marriage is, and it’s been 36 years of heaven on earth.