Mark’s work at NoExcuse Photography is my inspiration for this post, check out his work at noexcusephotography.com. If you find something you like click the purchase link.
When Mark and I got married Minnesota was NOT on Mark’s radar to plant roots and settle down and in fact moving was something he had in the forefront of his mind most of our married life together. He had his sights and hopes on packing our bags and hitting the road as soon as we could, even after we had kid’s he had his sights on a place that had oceans, mountains, preferably both, and Minnesota has neither of those.
In the course of getting married, having kids, and trying to provide for both had taken it’s toll on Mark. He began to loose himself in his new role of provider. He struggled through three years of school, trying to fit in home work, working full time, and trying to spend time with a growing family. Photography, nature, and his smile began to take a back burner as he pressed through what needed to be finished. I wanted him to go to school so that in theory he could get in a career that he loved to do, that would not only put food on the table, but would also help fulfill him as an artist.
Even though Mark has been done with school for three years, I can still see him struggle to figure out who he is in the midst of being a husband, father, and provider. I can see him struggling to figure out how to successfully do all three and still find time for his passions of nature and wildlife photography, painting, hiking, fishing, and all the other outlets that allow him to be a better husband, father, and provider. This last year I began praying for Mark and his passions, I began praying about how I could help him have more him time. The Lord brought it to my attention to ask Mark and to ask him what he needed from me to make them possible. I am so glad I did. Now, it’s not always easy to let him go off in the middle of the woods by himself to get the photographs he needs. It means I will probably be left with the kids by myself, which is usually fine, but as a stay at home mom I desire adult conversation and Mark is my best friend in the whole world, and I want time with him as well. So, to let him go means a sacrifice of time and conversation. However, that sacrifice becomes completely worth it when Mark comes home with a huge smile on his face and more relaxed because he was able to go to a place by himself that allowed him to be closer to the God he loves. Being closer to the God he loves, allows God the time and silence needed to speak to Mark’s heart. When Mark becomes fulfilled, he becomes an amazing husband and daddy!
Sometimes Mark wants me to go with him and honestly it can be frustrating to go along. Because it usually means hours of silence as he concentrates on all the different shots he is hoping to get. I am not very good at silence and I’m not very good at sitting in one place for hours. The funny thing about all of this is after not talking for hours and just sitting there, some how just being with him fills his bucket to the brim. It’s odd to me, because if it was him coming along on something I wanted to do, it would probably be talking his ear off and me wanting him to respond. But, Mark is different than I am and I need to not only appreciate this, but learn to embrace it about the man I married.
I have learned over the course of eight and half years of marriage that I can either fight who Mark is and try to change him into what I think he should look like, nag him, and send him running for cover or I can choose to enter into his world. I can choose to pray and ask the Lord to give me a passion and appreciation for the desires and dreams that Mark has. As I have prayed through wanting to help Mark fulfill what makes him come alive I have been able to give Mark both the time alone in the woods and time with me sitting in silence with him in the woods (I have learned to bring a good book with me to occupy the silence and a comfy chair), he has come alive, our relationship has deepened, and he is now able to walk forward in hopefully allowing his passion and dreams to bring in a little income or at least that is the hope. I have gained a husband who appreciates me deeper, has become more patient with the kids (I think because he has a place to blow off steam), and who’s eye wrinkles are back as his smile and love of life has returned.
I want to encourage you as wives and girlfriends to not hang onto your man in your life so tightly or expect him to be something he was never meant to be. Instead of fighting his passions and what he loves, pray and ask the Lord to give you a desire for what he enjoys. Also, talk with him about what makes him tick and how you can help give him the time he needs and let him know that you would like to be apart of what he’s doing. I say ask, because I have learned from experience it is way less frustrating to get the correct information, instead of assuming it’s what he wants/needs and then it turns out to be wasted energy as it wasn’t what he needed or wanted at all. Assuming what Mark wants and needs often leaves him and I both frustrated and hurt. I have learned to listen to his wants both in the gifts department and his desires for life and I have learned to write them down. Then as I’m rummaging or shopping and come across whatever he’s wanting at an amazing price I can put it up for a present or I can give him the time he is craving.
Watching Mark come alive has been worth all the extra time I have had to spend with the kid’s, the sacrifice of time with him, and it has been way more worth it than I could have ever imagined!