I always thought I am confident. Although I´m almost entirely self-made, I enjoyed financial independence since I was twenty. I knew that my teaching career would be jeopardized after marriage and after moving to Germany (the country has a different educational system and my qualifications don´t apply), but nothing prepared me to the vulnerability of being out of work.
But I didn´t say “yes” to a German citizen without a plan. It was my dream to be able to put up my own business and work from home. Given that I probably wouldn´t be able to work as a teacher, I looked to online entrepreneurship as a solution – put up my websites, expand and monetize.
I was excited to officially start to work. It was on the second week since hubby and I arrived in Germany (hubby did fetch me up from Thailand) and his summer vacation was done. He had to go to work and so I was.
Why I Turned Insecure
Yet work for me meant getting up in the morning to prepare my husband´s breakfast, set the bed and kiss him goodbye as he leaves for work. Then I´ll settle in my working table and blog throughout the day. I was full of dreams, excited to expand my online territory. But shortly after a month, the reality sink in. Making money online isn´t an easy feat. It´s very unpredictable, very discouraging, very competitive and takes time (years) to take off.
The hardest part was facing the truth, that even if I tell myself that I´m working, that I´m not jobless, I don´t receive any paycheck at the end of the month. Insecurity started to crawl.
When I serve dinner and my husband would ask how long I deep fried the fish, I´d snap, “You have problem with the fish? You are so critical!” If he reminds me of an empty water bottle I´ve left lying beside the bed, I´d go mad telling him, “I don´t sit whole day doing nothing! I´m working!” My being over-sensitive and irritable triggered many fights.
The Effects of Insecurity to My Marriage
My husband was upset that anything he says I put negative meaning which creates clashes, ignites into fights and ending with me concluding that I´m not good enough because I don´t earn.
He was very surprised with how making money is so important for me to have self-worth. Once we both cool down he reminds me that he´s my husband and that it´s his obligation to take care of me, to provide for me, and that he doesn´t look down on me because I´m not earning. But this never pacified me.
In my B1 Deutsch class we happened to meet the female chief in our city hall who briefed us a little about Germany, the country´s politics and some history, and opened herself to questions at the end of her speech. I inquired about the possibility of me getting a job here as a teacher given my qualifications. But the answer, as expected, wasn´t favorable.
The biggest disadvantage to foreign teachers is Germany´s different educational curriculum. I may apply to international schools though, there must be a few in Berlin and in Frankfurt, but getting a job in these two cities is blurred. We live ten hours from Berlin and our city is an hour from Frankfurt by train.
If I´m to get a job, I would have to live close to my workplace. Commuting never works for me. I´ve a fragile state of health and stress due to daily commuting quickly weakens my immune system and I get sick. I´ve done that before but it never worked. Living separate from my husband however isn´t something we consider. I moved to Germany so we could be together and were sticking together. We don´t think living in separate places is healthy for marriage.
My blogs during this time were struggling to progress. I´ve chosen a niche which I love but is difficult to penetrate. From being insecure I was starting to get depressed and my behavior towards my husband wasn´t improving.
The Turning Point …
I think that my reaction to the situation where I´m in was partly due to the environment where I was exposed to, that unless you make good money, you hardly get respected and valued by the society. But isn´t that true just with any society? Your worth and value is calculated by how much money you make, by your financial status.
So consumed I was with this mentality that I also applied it to my new marriage. I forgot that my marriage isn´t like any judgemental society, that it´s my home. But I was hit and awakened when my husband, out of frustration asked me, “Would you treat me the way you think if I can´t work anymore? Would you look down on me if one day you happen to earn bigger than me?”
No, I wouldn´t do that to him! No I wouldn´t look down on him if I do earn bigger! That was my turning point.
I started to see how supportive my husband is to me and with the career that I´m carving for myself. He´s my photographer for my fashion blog, he inspires me with ideas, he advices me when I´m met with difficult decision making related to my websites, and most importantly, he encourages me whenever I feel like quiting. He´s just there beside me.
Peace came back to our relationship the moment I´ve gotten over my insecurities, and we´re happier.
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