For the first year of our life overseas, I watched my husband work 12 to 15 hours, day after day, overloaded with lesson preparation and grading, committee work, and efforts to build a research program. Sleeping, eating and family time were all de-prioritized. What troubled me most was how hard it was for him to find time for prayer, devotion, and rest in the midst of work demands. And the progress, or lack of it, at the university was very disappointing for him. Although we live in a wealthy nation that is modern in many ways, the people here don’t have a long history of scholarship or even literacy. My husband found many of his students woefully underprepared, especially as they were being taught in a second language. On top of these challenges, officials at the university lacked a clear vision for healthy management and growth. They often went back on promises made to faculty, and seemed to value flashy displays more than real quality and consistency.
So what does all this mean for me as a professor’s wife? It means having to learn patience and initiative: patience with my husband’s long absences, tiredness, and discouragement; patience with our two rambunctious boys; and patience with myself as I struggle to adapt. But I’m also pushed forward to action by our hope in Christ and by our daily, small victories. I’ve needed initiative to encourage and exhort my husband, to seek out friends and activities for myself and the boys, and to work for domestic stability. And there are numerous benefits to being a professor’s wife here, such as material blessings and the natural beauty of this exotic—if hot!—land. I’m thankful for meetings with students through my husband and opportunities to use the library and hear accomplished speakers. Whereas many workers come to this country and leave their families at home, I’m extremely grateful my husband can return to us each night. Finally, I’m thankful for our Father’s promise to complete the good work he started in us, and I’m hopeful that our on-the-job training here will grow into good work for Him and His kingdom.