Faith · Marriage

When It Feels Like You’re The Only One

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I haven’t actually kept track, but if I had to guess I would say that in over 5 years of marriage I’ve eaten supper alone half of the time. My husband’s job doesn’t often require that he travel overnight, but he frequently works until several hours after the normal supper hour has come and gone. I didn’t mind being single – but I wasn’t a fan of eating meals alone. I anticipated being married and enjoying nightly supper meals at a table set with pretty linens and lit candles, laughing and talking until well after the food was gone.

Last night I made supper, carried my plate to the breakfast bar and watched YouTube while I ate. It was a delicious meal, but I ate it alone. Again. My husband came home several hours later and while we did talk and laugh as he ate, I still had to eat my meal alone.

About a year ago I had a revelation. One of my friends posted on social media that she was eating supper alone. Again. I commented and said, “Me too! I’m eating supper alone too!” I had extreme sympathy in my heart for this friend – because I knew exactly how she felt. At the same time, I had a triumphant moment of revelation:  I am not the only wife who has a husband working something other than an 8-5 M-F schedule!

Since that moment, I try to make myself aware of other women who live with a husband working a weird schedule. I do this for two reasons:

  1. I want advice on how they manage it!
  2. I want to encourage them in their walk.

For example: my hair stylist’s husband is in medical school. He works long hours and his schedule is always changing. Each month when I go in to get my hair cut, I make sure to ask her how things are going with his current rotation. We talk about finding recipes that reheat well and fitting in date night when you’re on different sleep schedules. By the time she’s done with my hair, we both end up encouraged to support our husbands in their careers!

Whatever hard situation you find yourself in today, look around. Ask God to open your eyes to others who are walking that road – and then do what you can to learn from them and encourage them!

If you need encouragement or have advice about this particular situation, I would love to hear from you! Send me an email or contact me here.

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21 thoughts on “When It Feels Like You’re The Only One

  1. Well, this made me grateful that me and my wife have the same work schedule! I imagine that has to be extremely difficult, but you have a wise outlook on it. It’s something I need to remember to pray for understanding when people go through difficult times that I can’t relate to. This really got me thinking. Great post!

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  2. My husband and I work different schedules too, which used to mean we both missed dinners a lot. Now that I have changed jobs I am eating dinner alone while he works later. So far I’ve viewed it as a chance to eat things he doesn’t enjoy, indian and Mexican food specifically! But I am sure a day will come where it annoys me more than I can find a silver lining for.

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  3. Love this! Chauncey used to wotk craxy hours like that. I always took the time to savor eating alone, usually reading a book. I tried to savor that time and enjoy it instead of dwelling on the fact that I was alone. I don’t know if you know this, but Chauncey and I spent almost a year living between 2 different places, when I was pregnant. It was tough.

    Tif
    http://www.brightonabudget.com

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  4. I rarely eat completely alone anymore, since I have the boys to keep me company, but I’ve eaten well over half of my meals without my hubby over the last 14 years. He’s never had a M-F day shift job and now he works 12 hour swing shifts, so he rotates between days and nights. And works different days every week. (And to be honest, I don’t mind eating alone sometimes, and I actually look forward to it once in a while.)

    My biggest struggle is having the desire to cook a meal when it’s just me & the boys. Sandwiches or salads or snack-type foods are just so much easier, especially when he’s on nights & won’t be coming home later in the evening.

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  5. This is good counsel, Whitney! I love your perspective. I think of a dear widow, Mattie Jacobs who cooked a meal for herself every day after her husband passed away. She delighted in cooking it, and of course, she always ate alone at home, but she always had such a bright spirit. I loved that in her. Thanks for posting this good reminder to encourage others!

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  6. Such a good reminder! I felt like we were on weird work schedules for so many years when Kevin was in graduate school. He’d work early or late and I was teaching full time trying to keep normal hours. Now we’re in a regular routine, but it took a while to get here and I’m extra thankful for it. My sister’s husband works crazy hours always changing shifts, his “weekends” are not typically sat/sun and she always makes the best of it. She focuses more on the good things about his schedule – he’s often home for lunch so she’ll fix a big meal for her family at lunch and dinner is a smaller meal or she doesn’t let his work schedule prevent her from doing things in the evenings. She’ll go to family gatherings or invite friends to have dinner at her house since she knows she enjoys the company. It’s tricky and I love your perspective on being able to encourage others in your same situation. Does Paul get home early enough where you could enjoy dessert together? Breakfast together on the weekends or an occasional lunch date?

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    1. Thanks for those ideas from your sister! Paul’s weekends are usually a random weekday (if at all) so I totally understand that. We do breakfast on the days he’s home in the morning and try to do lunch dates when at all possible.

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  7. I love this post as it reminds me . . . I’m not the only one! When my husband and I first got married, he worked a job that didn’t have him home until almost 9:30 4-5 nights a week. Although he no longer has that job, I still have several nights (or even entire Sundays) when I eat my meals alone because he’s a firefighter and has 12 hour shifts. It can be lonely to sit down to the table by myself , but it has made me appreciate our mealtimes together SO much more & we’ve incorporated some Saturday morning breakfast dates (both at home and going out) that have been really special and fun! 🙂

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    1. I’ve spent a lot of entire Sundays alone too – and you’re right, it makes you even more thankful for the times you are able to be together. You are not the only one – and I hope that encourages you as it does me!

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  8. Nontraditional work schedules can definitely be a challenge. My dad used to be on-call various days and weekends, and it was tough seeing him have to leave at a moment’s notice, sometimes during dinner! One of the local TV anchors here just took a different job because she wanted to spend more time with her children. The news business definitely isn’t kind to family life. Some jobs are a huge sacrifice. I guess in the long run it makes the time you share together even more special. 🙂

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