The choice we had to make was difficult, but clear: because Thomas Rhett’s career was already moving so fast, and he was already so far ahead of where I was, it just made sense to put his career first. Which meant we needed to put my career on hold.
That was the moment Lauren Akins, mother, philanthropist, and wife of Grammy Award-winning country music star Thomas Rhett, put her professional dreams aside for her future husband’s. In her book, Live in Love, she says that while she didn’t regret the decision, she definitely struggled with it. “It’s not that I’m not happy for you,” she told him. “It’s that I feel like I’m dying. I feel like my soul is empty.”
Even though our culture tells us women can have what men have, we all know one person often has to sacrifice for the good of the family. So what do you do when your dreams have taken a back seat to your husband’s? Here are 7 ways Lauren and Thomas Rhett overcame this mountain and even opened doors so new dreams could come true.
They named what mattered.
You have to ask yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing. And if the why is to make your life better, and the job is hurting your life, maybe something’s wrong.
What matters most to you and your husband? Is it living close to relatives? Then accepting a transfer is out of the question. Is it family dinners? Then he has to pass on the late shift. Agree on what matters and you’ll always have your compass.
They were honest with each other.
At what point is it enough? Like, at what point is getting ahead not gonna be the only thing we talk about? There is just no resting and I feel like I don’t have a choice, or that any part of my life feels like my own.
Even though you might willingly put your husband’s career first, you still have a voice and can be open about your needs. Sacrificing is not made better with silence, but rather with honest communication.
They picked their sacred day.
Even he recognized that he’d been obsessing about his career a little too much, and so taking one purposeful day each week to set his job aside and reconnect with family and rest and spend some more time with God was definitely a healthy choice. For both of us.
If you feel like your husband’s job is ruining your marriage or your family life, it might be because he hasn’t set agreed-upon boundaries. Nothing interferes with Friday night pizza night! Or Saturdays are for fun and getting the to-do list knocked out. Pick a day and protect it.
They went to counseling.
We wanted to make sure our marriage was healthy, instead of waiting and trying to fix it after something broke.
If you’ve bought into the stigma surrounding counseling, let it go. Juggling careers, a busy family, and the challenges of marriage is tough, even for the closest couples. If you’re holding on to any bitterness because of your husband’s career, talking it out with a counselor could be the relief you’re looking for.
They surrounded themselves with good people.
Having some industry wives as friends definitely helped me adjust. Some of them understood exactly where we were coming from and what we were dealing with. Others were trying to create a balance of family life, and raising kids, and all kinds of things I hoped were in my future.
You’re not the only wife who is silently screaming, “My husband’s job is ruining our marriage and family.” We aren’t meant to live in a bubble, even when we voluntarily sacrifice for our spouse. A friend or a mentor who has gone through what you’re going through can provide wisdom and perspective.
Lauren looked for God’s direction for her life.
I fully committed to Him—not to myself, or to Thomas Rhett, or to our marriage, or to my parents, but to God—“God, I’m making a promise to you that if you will just tell me what it is you want me to do, I will do it.”
When a woman makes a big sacrifice for her husband’s career, it’s easy to dwell on the desires she had to give up. That’s what Lauren did until she opened herself up to what God wanted for her life. He still had plans for her.
Have you had to make sacrifices for your husband’s career? Tell us what you’ve done to maintain a healthy, happy marriage and family life through all of it.
If you want to know how God answered Lauren’s prayer, you can purchase her book, Live in Love, through this link.