Me: Is it ok if I write my next UVenus post on you?
Husband: Do you have to?
Me: Well, no I don’t have to, but I’d like to write a post celebrating your unwavering support of me, my work, and my professional aspirations.
Husband: Why do you have to do that? I’m your husband; it’s kinda part of the job description, no?
Me: Not necessarily. You didn’t know you were marrying a Twitter-obsessive, adjunct-faculty supporting, blogging, semi-public figure. You thought you were getting a plain, old, academic spouse. Twitter didn’t even exist in 2003 (or was it 2004?) when we got engaged!
Husband: You don’t remember when we got engaged?
Me: It was after you got back from Ireland. Do YOU remember when that was?
Me: Exactly. Anyway, back to my point. We’re not where we thought we would be when we got married, and you have encouraged me to do whatever I needed to do to make the best of things. When things get ugly in the comments of my blog, or when Twitter isn’t so kind to me, a lot of our friends tell me to just stop writing or get off of Twitter. You remind me that if I’m making people angry (however irrationally), I must be doing something right.
Husband: I wish sometimes you were on Twitter less.
Me: Tweet that at me.
Me: Ok, so I still struggle with balance. But you’re patient with me. You respect my aspirations and ambition. You always put our family first. It’s so important for me to know that we’re in this together, no matter what.
Husband: I’m still not seeing why you need to write about this. We’re a family, it’s what we do. Anything that has happened or changed is professional, not personal. I married you, not your job.
Me: You’ve always been much better at separating the professional and the personal than I am. But, even though what you’re saying is all true, I can’t help but think that it’s not as obvious or easy for everyone. Look at all of our friends who are separating or getting divorced because some of them can’t overcome some of these issues. The people we know whose spouses don’t support their career aspirations or that sometimes, those goals and aspirations change over time.
Husband: You make a good point.
Me: It has been known to happen…Academia can be such a thankless profession for dual-academic couples, and I’m grateful that you never bought into “the only success is the tenure-track” narrative, for either of us.
Husband: Again, you are not your job. We are not our jobs. And I’m not surprised that you embraced Twitter or became an advocate for adjuncts or an avid blogger; these personality traits were there all along. Remember when you became Graduate Student President when everyone told you it was a bad idea? And I’ve been around you when you feel cut off from people, or if you’re not writing. It’s unpleasant, so obviously I’m going to encourage you to do those things that make you less miserable.
Me: You’re right. But, to me, it’s still worth appreciating, and like everything I do, doing it publicly.
Husband: Sigh. Go ahead.
Me: If there has been one constant in our relationship, it’s been movement and change –
Me: And a lot of that change hasn’t been easy, especially for me. I’ve had to completely re-evaluate who I am professionally. Thank you for being so supportive of me and for helping me figure all this stuff out.
Husband: You’re welcome.