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For some reason the other morning I found myself reflecting upon the people in my life who’ve ‘believed in me’ throughout the years.
I thought of my Mom and her never-ending encouragement over art projects or creative ideas, or for listening to my class president candidate speech for the hundred and fiftieth time. I also pictured my little brothers cheering me on before my seventh grade cheerleader audition. (Yes, one of them even would take pictures of me with his newly beloved Polaroid camera as I practiced my toe-touches). Or my Dad for all the times he said, “Baby, you don’t need to be worried about (fill in the blank), you can do anything, you can stand on your head for two weeks if you have to.” Not sure of that logic but it always sounded encouraging…especially when I had two weeks left to finish an exhausting thesis project and no more belief in myself.
I thought about our family friend Lisa and how she trusted me with her kids as their first babysitter when I was still a kid myself. I gained so much courage from being trusted in and believed in by her and her children.
I thought of my friend Katherine and how she believed in me during college and trusted me with a platform to use some of my creative gifts and thus gave me a chance to blossom and shine in what I was created to do.
I reflected on my first employer Doug and how I truly wouldn’t be who I am today if not for his belief in me and the opportunities he offered me by hiring me to help him start a non-profit. I never dreamed of doing some of the large-scale events I was able to do for him. He had tremendous faith in me, and I was given a chance to really flourish.
I then started to think of my husband. I could picture faces of people who I knew had believed in him and shaped him along the way. His mother, his old boss, his camp counselor, his master’s thesis advisor, and then….you guessed it…my face came to mind. (At least I hope he has felt me believing in him). And then the incredible challenge and joy of getting to ‘believe in him’ really hit me. We as grad wives have a profound mission of encouraging and believing in our husbands during this season of grad school. If we aren’t there for them, encouraging them, supporting them, cheering them on, who is? If we aren’t the ones offering to take Polaroid pictures to make sure toes are pointed, then who will?
I realized that maybe some of the darker/harder days over the past few terms could have been helped if I had just believed in my husband better. Not just in my head, but in my heart and in my actions towards him. I started to think through opportunities to show how much I believe in him and how much I trust him. In the world of PhDs confidence among students is rarely encountered (as many of you know), and I began to think about how I could remind and encourage that confidence in him. I started thinking about how people ‘believed’ me into flourishing…believed in me enough for me to shine…and how I could do that for him.
I read a quote recently about the bestest of friends being the ones who don’t necessarily have all the answers to offer you, but are the ones willing to sit through hard times with you, the ones willing to reach out and touch your pain, and the ones walking beside you in it. I realize that maybe that is what ‘believing in him’ looks like right now. Not trying to ‘believe’ in him in my way…micromanaging his work or our timetables, but trying to simply walk alongside him. Letting him know all along that I trust him and support him and am on his team. Believing in him enough so that he can believe in himself.
What do you think? How have you lived out your support and ‘belief’ in your husband? How do you do it?
2 thoughts on “Believing in Him”
This is so encouraging! My hubby’s PhD viva is on Monday and I need to send him THIS message. Going through his life and picturing all the people who believe in him is such a wonderful exercise. We will for sure be doing this!
This is so beautiful, and so essential, M.C. Thank you for posting. I think one byproduct of believing in your spouse is that it also helps you to have a more positive outlook. I have seen it happen where grad spouses get resentful or bitter about the timeline or shifting focus of a student spouse’s program, and the truth is that helps no one. Ever. Just like anything else in life, if we treat our grad student with care, patience, hope, and love, it reflects the blessings onto us, too. I also remember a piece of advice from one of my sisters as well, which is somewhat relevant: “Treat him like he’s the person you wish he was, and often he’ll rise to the occasion.” However silly and misguided that may sound, I’ve found myself unconsciously doing that sometimes, and experiencing that result, which is even better because I didn’t nag or irritate anyone in the process!