Dear Young Chef Wife,
This month my chef/husband and I will be celebrating our 19th wedding anniversary. It’s hard to believe it’s been that long. I’m not quite sure where the time went.
As I look back on our marriage, there are so many things I would have done differently as a chef’s wife, if I only knew what I do now.
I know you love your husband and would do anything for him. I also know that his career as a chef is tough on your marriage. I’m writing to you today to encourage you to not give up. It’s not easy. I’ve been there. Wait . . . I’m still there! I’ve learned so much in 19 years and still have so much more to learn in the next 19+ years to come.
I would love to sit down and talk with you, share with you, laugh with you and cry with you about what life is like being married to a chef. But since I have 3 young children, we would probably be interrupted (politely, of course) about 800 times during our chat. So for the moment, I’ve come up with 11 things that I really wish I would have known early on in my marriage to a chef. I would love to share them with you. You might have already figured them out or they might be something you never thought about. There’s even a chance you might not agree with all of them. Whatever the case, I hope and pray that they will be helpful to you in your marriage.
1. He’s going to work a lot of hours and those hours are going to change at a moment’s notice. You’ll have to change plans often, reschedule dinners, celebrations and maybe even vacations. Don’t take it personally. He’s not doing it to get away from you and avoid you. He’s working to support you and pay your bills! Support him even when it’s tough and don’t nag him about his hours. Nagging will not work! It will only cause problems in your marriage. Trust me!
2. Do not worry about him, especially when it’s late at night and you expected him to be home. Worrying will not change anything. Even if he falls asleep on the way home while driving, worrying would not have stopped it. Trust that God will protect him and that He will be with you if you something does happen. (I have lost many sleepless hours worrying and it hasn’t helped or made our lives better in any way.)
3. Be his #1 cheerleader from the beginning. Never talk badly about him to others. There are enough people in the world that will talk about him behind his back. Don’t be one of them. If you have something to say about him, say it to him directly. Encourage him and support him in every way that you can.
5. Create a peaceful home that he wants to come home to. The kitchen is a fast paced environment with a lot of stress. Do everything you can to create a home where your chef desires to be and where he can relax and not think about work(if that’s possible.) This is a MILLION times harder when you have kids. Many days I fail at this miserably. But there’s always the next day to try again (and again, and again, and again . . .) Don’t give up.
6. Get used to going to social functions by yourself and be OK with it. He will be working during most of the events and parties you are invited too. Don’t turn down an invitation just because you don’t want to go by yourself or you will be sitting at home all by yourself most evenings and holidays.
7. After you have kids, his days off are not your days off. Thinking this way is a big mistake!! Things will turn into chaos with the kids and the days will be horrible. Enjoy the help, but don’t sleep in and slack off every time he’s off. Your family will suffer. If you need a break, talk about it with your chef/husband and make it happen. Just don’t assume he will take over everything around the house and with the kids just because he is off. He is not there for a large part of the time and has no idea what goes on in the home and what the daily routine is. Don’t expect him to know those things. Talk about the day when it begins and make sure he feels like part of the family.
8. Don’t wait for him to be off to do things you want to do. Start traditions, enjoy life and have fun. If you wait for him to do everything you want to do, you’ll miss out on a lot. If he’s off, he’ll be a part of what you are doing. But if not, don’t sit home and mope.
9. No matter how tired you are, chances are he is more tired. I’ve been tired from work. I’ve been tired from being up all night with a baby. I’ve been tired from taking care of 3 sick kids for days. But I’ve never been as tired as I have seen my husband in the month of December or when opening a new restaurant. He’s going to sleep and rest a lot on his days off. Be understanding and don’t be upset with him. Don’t resent him when he’s taking a nap on the couch and you are doing the dishes and taking care of the kids. He’s tired. If he spent time with you instead of sleeping, it probably wouldn’t be quality time anyways! Let him rest and then enjoy time later in the day.
10. You’re going to do 99.9% of the things around the house. Even if you think it’s something your husband should do, you will probably end up doing it. No matter what job you have, he will still work more hours than you. Remember he is working hard to provide for you so show him how much you appreciate that by taking care of him and things around the house joyfully. (Joyfully being the key word.)
11. Pray for him daily. This really should be the #1 thing you do for your husband. Pray for his safety (during the commute and while at work.) Pray for wisdom as he makes decisions. Pray for stamina to physically get through the day. Pray for him every time you think about him.
Young chef wife, I wish you and your chef/husband all the best. The road ahead of you is not easy, but you can do it! If you ever want to sit down in person and chat or talk over the phone, you know how to contact me.
From one chef wife to another,
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