My Better (Different) Half
by Travis Thrasher
It’s not easy being a novelist’s wife.
If you want to start with a classic case of this, ask Tabitha King, the better half of Stephen King. She was the one who pulled his first novel out of the garbage and encouraged him to sell it. She was also the one who pulled him out of the gutter and encouraged him to get his life back in order. Well, maybe “encouraged” isn’t quite the word.
Thank God for patient wives who stay by their husbands’ sides. Even when they’re not the easiest to live with.
I’m a writer living the dream. I’ve been writing fulltime for almost seven years. This means I gaze at rivers and study birds and spend lots of time tanning on my yacht. Right?
I’m the kind who’s writing all the time. And when I say all the time, I mean all the time.
There are Sunday mornings when the pastor is sharing something and I’m scribbling an idea down on the NOTES section on the back of the bulletin. This may or may not have anything to do with the actual sermon.
There are times when I’m surrounded by our three daughters who are seven, three, and three. I might be outnumbered but I’m also focusing on a galaxy far, far away.
There are mornings I’m working, and afternoons, and nighttimes, and weekends. And then some.
My wife is a realist. She’s practical. She’s black and white. She’s also an angel in disguise. Truly.
There are times when I wonder why in the world I’m with someone like her. Why I can’t I be married to someone who appreciates the band The National and who is fascinated with second-person fiction and who thinks in terms of stories and fictional characters?
But no. My wife is focused on the here and now. Dealing with our three pink cyclones. Figuring out our budget (we finally got one this year). Thinking about tomorrow, not five years down the road.
It’s funny talking about the whole five-years-down-the-road sort of thing. My wife and I managed to get away for a night for her recent birthday. Away from the house and the girls and the realities that all brings. We didn’t go very far away but we were away in a nice hotel. Enough said. (And this is something that’s happened maybe two other times since our twins were born).
So at dinner, I was quite excited and talkative and I suggested we do something fun. I suggested we think five years to the future. Where would we be and what would we be doing? What about the girls? What about life in general? I wanted to dream a little bit and have some fun goals to strive for. This is the sort of thing I’ve been doing in my writing since I was sixteen.
Sharon looked perplexed. First off, she said she never thought that far into the future. Secondly, she said it sounded like a lot of work. She wanted to relax. She wanted to take a break from reality.
I’ve thought about that ever since and it shows just how different we really are. She’s living in today while I’m looking ahead to the future. I realized that I’ve spent my whole life doing this. What will I be doing in college? Where will I be once I graduate college? Will I ever get a book published? How can I make a living as a writer?
God knew the sort of wife I needed. She needed to be patient. And sane. And frugal. (She also needed to dance but Sharon doesn’t seem to want to do that the older she gets). Okay, joking aside, God knew from the beginning who I would end up with. It wasn’t that there was some Nicholas Sparks soulmate that I needed who would listen to my poetry and laugh at all my jokes. Sharon has done both and that’s maybe one reason she fell in love with me. But love poems can feel childish (though I still write them!). And jokes can get old (though I never give up telling them!).
God knew who this creative, always searching, always-looking-ahead author needed to be his complement. And I’m thankful that Sharon happened to be that person.
I’m no Gary Chapman. I do know my love language is words of affirmation (so please for the love of all that’s holy write some nice comments!). I know my wife’s love language is quality time (though I know sometimes I’m not quite at the level of quality she would like). I also know that God picks your spouse for a reason. I used to think it was for the windswept romantic rendezvous on the beach sort of reason. I guess I’m a little older now and realize there’s something far better than that.
Proverbs 18:22 says “The man who finds a wife finds a treasure, and he receives favor from the LORD.”
I’m thankful that I’ve found a treasure who keeps me sane (and who stays with an often insane husband). God knew what he was doing when he put Sharon and me together. I can’t imagine who else could deal with my “living the dream” for a tough seven years. But we continue to be in this ship together. And I also believe we continue to find favor in unexpected places.
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