So you married a musician?

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Let me preface this post with I am married to a musician and we have 3 children which I home school. One child was born while my husband was on tour. We live 7 hours away from family. My family has traveled by car, van, bus, plane, and boat. I have attended a Grammy Nomination Concert with a 3 week old baby strapped to me. We use a road case to house our baby chicks. The kids sleep in various band tees. I have stood backstage at the Ryman and the Opry. So, I fully feel that I have reached the status as a “musician’s wife” which I believe qualifies me to write this post. 🙂

My husband and I met prior to him being a musician. When we met and married we were both barely out of high school so his “career” was about as far along as being the drummer in the church praise band. I think this fact has helped me so much with this lifestyle.

Since the start of my husband’s career it was “our dream”. I pushed, sacrificed, and believed right along side of him and therefore I have a better understanding of what my husband (the actual musician) has done and is doing to make this dream a reality.

I see so many women place this role their husband is in above their husband himself. They define their man by their ability to be present, their public recognition, their ability to name drop, personal style, financial income, and so on. This is horrible for your marriage. If his career defines how you treat him, your husband will feel a constant need to perform for you. The fake, polite smile he has to keep for others will begin to become all you see, if your husband’s livelihood is under constant critique. Do you want him to not share his life with you for fear of you being angry or you telling him it’s not good enough?

Obviously, if your husband is providing, doing a job that is so unpredictable than he is worthy of more praise than being corrected constantly. I see the sweat and hard work my husband puts into this as something I adore about him. Not from a perspective of “he is self-fish and is always on the road leaving me at home to do everything.” Or even “poor me I’m married to a musician”. If you seek pity for being married to a musician instead of being proud then you are sending your husband a message that you should be pitied for being married to him.

And my husband is not self-fish when he drives all night to a venue, eats chips for dinner, talks to a line of waiting fans, misses his son’s baseball game, doesn’t get good-night kisses, loads and unloads gear, sits for hours with nothing to do before shows, and then does it all again the next day. Just because he gets 30 minutes to visit a close-by tourist attraction doesn’t define him as self-fish. When you begin to experience this feeling, remember the real reason it exists is because you simply miss your man. Your honest, compassionate, hard-working man. And for those wives whose husband is living a little more luxurious these days remember they worked hard to reach that level and they fully deserve it.

During my first year of marriage alone my husband worked at Publix, Pizza Hut, painting tractors, doing landscaping, in telemarketing, at a daycare, and in electrical work. We barely made our $250 rent each month. My perspective on a musician’s work is from a blessing standpoint. The world outside of “being married to a musician” is hard as well ladies. Women everywhere struggle with missing their husbands due to their job, to pay their bills due to lack of work, to go on vacations, to start a family, to attend church together, etc.. The list goes on and on of the things married women as a whole deal with and to be really honest with you, the ones not married to musicians do it with a sense of pride for their husbands more than those married to musicians. I think the stereotype placed on musicians claiming they are lazy, irresponsible, uninvolved, flirty, etc. has rubbed off on us more than we would like to admit.

My husband’s work is “different”, but it is still work. He is working to provide for me and our three children. He is working so that I can home school as we both wanted for our children. He is working to give us a better life, that many of you complain is not happening fast enough. So as a wife, I choose not to discredit his work by being bitter or resenting his job. I want a man who works hard and I married him to stand by his side while he did it.

Do you know the saying “behind every great man, is a great woman”? Well, your husband’s chance of success is limited when he is under constant opposition from the person who he looks to for support. Women underestimate the influence they have on their husbands. Let’s learn to celebrate “our” victories and grieve “our” failures as one.  Not their victory and their failure.

I fully agree that this is hard. It takes work.

But when our status as a “musician’s wife” is constantly defined by the struggles, this begins to create a very “sucky” life for everyone involved. Let’s try to join our men in this lifestyle. When they say “I’m a musician” it’s in celebration, that is how I choose to be “a musician’s wife.”

So, did I marry a musician? No, I married my high school sweetheart. With a lot of hard work and sacrifices from both of us, he became a musician.We are blessed. I am lucky enough to call myself “a musician’s wife”.

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xoxo

April Walker

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19 thoughts on “So you married a musician?

  1. April ,
    I found your post So you married a musician? fascinating and well written .
    I am so happy for you both and have been following the growth of your children Rhetts career and music from very early on . You are so blessed and your letter speaks to the way you are counting each and every blessing that comes your way .
    .
    The strangest thought came to me last night for no reason at all that I can recall , I was thinking about you both and how your life will be changing and growing fuller , it was not the music playing or a choice to think about you and Rhett but a need to pray and be happy for you and your family and I know that the road will be long and full of trials and blessings , but please know that this your calling as a married couple and a christian family , I really feel that God has such an awesome plan for the whole outcome especially looking back at your small beginning .

    I think that you are brave, beautiful and a great example of what a christian wife and mother should be , standing right next to your high school sweetheart and showing your children how to keep the foundation of home and fanily and love strong .
    All of my best to you , I am so happy for you and I really enjoy seeing your family photos that you share .
    Be Blessed and know that God has a grand plan & even I can feel it from where I sit in my own home . Stay humble and remember you are both awesome because of your love together .
    My Kindest Regards
    Cheri T.

  2. Love your heart, April! Thank you setting an example by your humility and devotion! I will remember this post.

  3. “I want a man who works hard and I married him to stand by his side while he did it.” 🙂 Good for you. I think that’s what God had in mind with marriage, but couples forget that sometimes as the years go by. Great post.

    1. Thank you. Yes ma’am, it’s so easy to take our spouses for granted. Everyone needs constant reminders to work on the things that matter in life, one being marriage. Glad you enjoyed it.

  4. That is an awesome testimony!! My wife is working part time at the church and i work a factory job that keeps me 8 to 12 hours a day..We struggle a bit with not seeing each other and the kids a bit but we know that God is in control and thats what I have to do. We just started home schooling our 4 year old boy and have a 17 month old lil girl. We totally understand and respect you for the great and Godly attitude you have. We love the Rhett Walker band, his music is an inspiration!!! Keep up the good work. The Lord will supply all the strength you need!!!

    God bless,
    Jason

    1. Thank you! Best of luck in your homeschooling adventures! Thanks for sharing your story. It’s easy for us to forget we aren’t alone! Glad to hear y’all are making it work! Hope things get easier for y’all and you see the blessings from all of your hard work and sacrifice! God Bless! April

  5. I absolutely love this! Shared it on Road Widows Facebook page. My husband has played a few festivals with yours and I think they’ve met. I bought a Rhett Walker coozie at a festival in California last year! I would LOVE to connect. Sorry for stalking you. haha!

    xo

  6. Hi. I found your blog via a friends page. I have been struggling a lot with this the past 6 years. My husband tried a lot of ways to provide for our family and in the process, I still am working, although now it is part time. Currently my husband is a professional musician, works at a local music store here in Nashville and is attending SAE on a great scholarship. I know that our situation will change again once he has graduated from SAE in audio engineering. I am constantly clinging to the progression that our life together has. To that, I am so thankful. He does long for not being more than to be respected, supported, loved and to provide for his family-as a musician. It’s taken some time and I still have a ways to go, but I am learning more and more to be thankful that I married someone with such passion and talent with music that he can actually strive to provide completely.
    Thanks for your thoughts. It’s good to know that this is a very common journey for many and that there’s nothing wrong with this career as a husband and provider. Period.

    1. Hey! I’m sorry to hear you are struggling. It’s hard! Just know you are not alone. I still struggle. But I have come to find that couples in all types of lifestyles struggle with something. Life is hard and we have to choose to make the best of it. It is possible to make a marriage work as long as both parties are willing to work for it. I agree, things will be easier for y’all when he is out of school. I hope that Rhett and I can encourage you some. We have been married 10 years and we have 3 kids whom I homeschool, 9,7, and 2 years old. We have figured out the music business enough to know how to plan around it. That has helped so much. My husband is a great musician and I would be heartbroken as much as he would be if we had to quit music. We started our marriage with me pregnant at ages 18 and 17. After surviving that, a job that requires traveling is a lot less intimidating. I hope things become easier for you! Just remember a blessing of this career is that things could change for the better really quickly!

  7. Hi April,

    I’m a musician’s wife but having a very difficult time with it, maybe you have some insight. I don’t know if you had kids before your husband was able to make music his occupation, though I know that adds a lot to it.

    My husband right now is working a full time job and his band has started having an increased level of success. I believe that they have what it takes to make it. I think my problem is this – when I married him, he wasn’t pursuing music… and he didn’t until after we had kids.

    We have three young kids, and between his job (he’s gone for 14 hours a day 4 days a week) and the time spent travelling for his band, and then the amounts of money it costs, I am near to my wit’s end. I want to be supportive, but we live an off grid homesteading life which involves a lot of work and I find myself so resentful and feeling so abandoned because he chose this after we already had kids and were on the path to this life and now I feel like I’m doing it alone, always holding down the fort.

    I’m terrified because as time goes on, it requires more and more of his time and our family’s money will be spent (and we’re living without some basic necessities, just need the money to finish certain things) and it is wearing me down into nothing.

    I guess I need some perspective. Like I said, I want to be supportive and I think they could make it but I don’t know how much longer I can last. I imagine if he DID make it, then he could quit his job and then that would be a huge burden off us but then at the same time, I am very concerned about our three daughters growing up with a father who is often absent. How did you do it, to get to the point you are at?

    1. Hi Bethany,
      We all do! lol. No seriously, being a musician’s wife takes a very strong, confident woman. But even the best of us have our moments. We actually were expecting our first child when we got married. I was 18 and he was 17. We now have 3 kids who I homeschool. Rhett was not a “musician” when I married him. He wasn’t even a senior in high school yet. 😉
      About 2 years into our marriage, with our daughter being 2 and son a newborn, we packed up everything and moved to Raleigh, NC for Rhett to travel as a worship leader. It was horrible. I was 6 hours from family (first time ever), in a completely foreign place, and had 2 babies in diapers (I was only 20). He was gone a lot for little pay, went to school, and had a job. We eventually realized we needed to readjust so we moved to Charlotte (still not “home”) near some of our family for help. Rhett was a worship leader at church and stopped traveling for a year. I think this was our growing period. We had a chance for our age to catch up with our lifestyle.
      We both knew in our hearts we weren’t done with music outside of the church. So, we made a decision to move to Nashville and within a week we were moved. And I cannot tell you all of the ups and downs over the past 10 years but trust me when I say we encountered our fair share of obstacles. But it has made us so much stronger. As individuals and as a couple.
      It takes sacrifices from both sides but it does pay off. My husband only does Rhett Walker Band. No side jobs or school. And I do not work anymore so that I can be 100% for maintaining our home life. We live very comfortable. He is home for seasons and then there are tour seasons (spring and fall).
      Rhett had a family through his entire climb to become a musician. He turned down a lot if it didn’t work for us as a whole. But he also had to work his butt off! I was a part of every decision. But thats because I was his biggest supporter and he knew I’d push more than him at times. I wanted it just as bad as he did. I didn’t want to go back to him working 3 jobs just to pay the bills. So, we just did one day at a time. And eventually we ended up here.
      It sounds like y’all are in the growing phase. You are building a foundation. It will be hard but its doable. Even with kids.
      As babies, my kids never noticed his absence. It wasn’t until here recently that they began to struggle with it. They are 9, 7 and 2 years old. But when I heard them ask him not to go, I decided to change their perspective. We read books such as the little house books or founders of america books. They are all about the dads leaving to provide for their families but under extreme circumstances and no contact with the family. Then I told my kids we have a role in providing for our family just like dad and thats supporting him so he can do his role. We send him off into the world with encouragement and praise. We now make the accomplishments together with each of us doing our part. They still miss him but they know that we need money to pay the bills. So we make the best of it.
      I hope this helps some. If you have any questions please ask! I will do my best at answering!! Just know you are not alone. There are so many of us out there doing the same thing you are. Army wives, single mothers, trucker’s wives, and doctors are just some of the other careers/roles that require sacrifice to pursue. Every job has it’s struggles.
      xoxo
      April

      1. April you are such an encouragement – thank you! We have been going through a very rough patch in the last few weeks and yesterday I realized… we haven’t been really working on our marriage itself, just been trying to survive! But he had been feeling the same, so I think we’re feeling a lot more cohesive now. It is good to talk to other wives in the same situation – so much of the unspoken attitude from others in our life towards his dream is that it is immature (and he’s 35) and so that makes my struggle even harder because he’s an amazing artist in many ways and I really do believe he can make a success but I have such a hard time seeing how musical success would fit in with the other goals in our life.

        He always points me to someone (can’t remember who) that is in Slayer and also has a big homestead/ranch somewhere, so in theory it can be done! Just I think mostly hard for me to sit here while he goes off out of state to play shows while I’m having to heat water on the stove because we don’t have olumbing or a hot water heater in our house yet 😦 But each individual issue aside, I think I just need to come to terms with it… that and we need to work together to get our house in a more comfortable place and then I think I’d be fine.

        I think about it from a practical standpoint, and I know we have what it takes to be successful in our marriage with this… I’m a very independent person and I don’t require him to be around, and he is a very hard working man who does his best to contribute here on the homestead while working and doing his band. We’re both Christians but he’s in a secular band, and he never has a problem not indulging in the “rock and roll lifestyle” that so often comes with it… I look at those things and I Know we could make it work. I just wish he could make the switch to full time or actually making money at it!

      2. Anytime! There aren’t many how-to’s for musicians or their families. It makes it so much harder than it should be. If only there were traded secrets, stories, and lessons from experience that were accessible for others… Wow, you heat your own water!? Go woman! I can imagine that being difficult. I have chickens and a big yard to maintain and I thought that was hard enough! I do agree though that anything you want for your family is possible. It just takes adapting and some hard work. It’s hard to see it because it’s not common but families with untraditional living situations are that much more remarkable. When heating that water, feel empowerment, because you are holding up your end for your family in ways he can’t at the moment. And that….. is a strong foundation for any family.

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