When your wife says ‘no’

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I like it when people say YES to my suggestions, ideas and desires. I like it even more when my wife says YES to my suggestions, ideas and desires.

On the contrary, I don’t like to hear the dreaded two letter, one syllable, heavy weighted word, “no”.

Though I would hope years of maturing would curb the sting of being dumbfounded by a less than agreeable answer to my requests, I feel no further ahead in this area of my life. I still don’t like “no” as an answer. It feels terminal – it means forever.

Maybe, it’s that I don’t think the respondents reason for saying no is as good as the reason for them to say “yes”. Or maybe, it’s because my pride enables me to think the unthinkable, “no one should say no to me.” Whatever the case, I’ve never been good with, “no”. Insert these words into the context of marriage and major life change, and you have a recipe for some challenging conversation and humble posturing.

As a teenager I had been advised to make sure I understood the future dreams and hopes of the person I’d marry. So, I did my homework, asked the questions, confirmed it with peers, had it challenged by family and friends, and then sealed the deal by marrying the one I had fallen in love with. Twenty-three years of grossly inflated self proclaimed maturity and understanding of relationships lead me to believe something that wasn’t true: we would never have conflict over our futures because they were the same. Gee, was I wrong.

My over-romantic and unrealistic thoughts of, “this is a match made in heaven,”… “no one can stop this dynamic duo”… “we actually have the exact same plans for our lives” were common enough to convince me of unending marital bliss… sort of.

Our sameness stemmed from shared experiences and conversations with God, each other, and life. Our education and professional work paths aligned themselves for a dynamic duo approach to service in Canada and then another nation.

It only made sense – we were meant to be together, and when the time came the conversation to pack up life and family would be an easy one. Gee, was I wrong.

The initial conversation(s), which would repeat itself over the last two and a half years of our marriage, went something like this:


ZACH: “I feel like God is saying change in our life is coming. I’m not sure what, or when, but I’m confident it’s coming.”

MEGAN: “Interesting. What does what or when mean?”

ZACH: “I think it’s time to start considering life beyond Canada.   I don’t know specifics, but I do know it’s not here.”

MEGAN: “Our family is here. Our life is here. Our future is here.”

ZACH: “I thought we were on the same page? I thought we both wanted to ‘go’…”

MEGAN: “I didn’t picture living overseas with a child. I want to pursue more education here. I don’t want to give up life here in Canada yet.”

ZACH: “But I feel called to go”

MEGAN: “I don’t feel called right now”

Not the response I was hoping for.

…to be continued…

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