The Secret First Month of the Vicar’s WifePosted: August 21, 2012
Yesterday marked one month since my husband and I moved into the vicarage house. Not to sound cliche, but it’s hard to believe it’s only been a month. The life we had at the seminary seems like something that happened long ago; yet it also our future because in eleven months we will pack up our new home so that we can return to our old home. Talk about a bunch of confusing transitions.
At any rate, my expectations for the first month of vicarage has always been formed by what was left unsaid by other sem. wives. Very few wives talked about being lonely and even fewer talked about the frustrations of trying to find a job for “only a year.” No talks about how to form acquaintances within the church and no one talks about how to fill the days after your husband leaves for work. Granted, every vicarage is different and every wife’s perspective on vicarage is different, so there cannot be a set method on how to survive the first month.
Likewise, I’ve learned why wives don’t talk about the first month–it’s because there isn’t much to talk about. Yes, it’s lonely. Yes, my husband is gone a lot. Yes, I’m having trouble finding gainful employment. What is anyone going to be able to do about that?
Consequently, I fight a bitter battle with myself by myself. I clean the house. I do the weekly errands. I occasionally bake some goodies. I have dinner ready when my husband comes home from work. I diligently search for a job. All the while a little voice says, “Ah, well, aren’t you so useful, trying to keep busy. But you know that ‘keeping busy’ is just a nice way of hiding the fact that you’ve lost your purpose.” I try to point out to the voice that I am looking for a job, a new sense of purpose beyond the house. I also try to argue that a good wife learns how to sacrifice the things she wants for her husband’s well being. But the cunning little voice retorts, “It’s not much of a sacrifice if you do it so unhappily.”
The final blow comes on Sunday mornings when after a six days of near solitude I’m expected to turn into a social butterfly, to smile and talk with the congregation of strangers. Then the strangers are befuddled that the vicar’s wife doesn’t want to chat with everyone, that all she wants to do is hide from the hundred pairs of eyes staring so inquisitively at her, that their friendliness isn’t enough to make her happy. At that time I don’t even need the belittling voice to tell me I’ve failed again.
And that, friends, is the secret first month of this vicar’s wife.