The fine line between persuasive and pushy

The Zen Master is an extremely intelligent man. Clearly, he married me.

That sounds totally conceited. How about this… Clearly, I married him.

You see, I am intelligent. Not a rocket scientist genius-type, but I’m pretty smart. And I don’t think I would have fallen so profoundly in love with The Zen Master if he wasn’t smart too. Smart enough to keep my interest after that initial flood of hormones has worn off. Smart enough to challenge me, my brain, to send me scurrying to Wikipedia to figure out something he just said. Smart enough to hold a conversation about something other than what the weather is going to be tomorrow or a stimulating discussion about favorite sexual positions. Not that we don’t talk about that… Heh.  He has intelligence and wisdom (although not always common sense).

But the thing that really makes him shine in that intellectual arena? He questions. He learns. He wants to learn. He soaks up information like a sponge and maintains interests that are both wondrous and totally weird. I listen to NIN and The Dixie Chicks and Carmina Burana and The Eagles while I clean. Eclectic right? Not compared to his playlist.  The Zen Master listens to everything. Classical and rock and pop and some hip-hop and a lot of stuff in various other languages. Mostly Japanese I think, but definitely some Korean and French and maybe some German? If he isn’t listening to music, he’s listening to lectures he’s downloaded. Like college lectures about genetics and biology and history and economics. Even when he’s not cleaning, it isn’t uncommon to find him sitting down at his computer, watching a lecture on YouTube about genetic traits and how they affect behavior. Or something equally banal.

Heehee… banal.  

He has a high school diploma. Some vocational training in culinary arts. But that’s it. He cooks breakfast at a resort in Stowe. But that’s it.

I really could care less about what my man does for a job. I’m perfectly fine in my current role as “breadwinner.” If he loved his job and really desired to do that and be the best damn breakfast cook he can be? Sure. Whatever babe, if it makes you happy, I’m all for it.  But it’s just a job. It’s familiar and easy and it’s a job.

I want The Zen Master to go back to school. Take a few classes, look at a few new directions. I think he would make an extraordinary early education teacher. But even if he doesn’t pursue a degree, I want him to step outside his comfortable little box and see if there might be a career out there that he could be passionate about. Not just a job. Because he’s brilliant and he has the opportunity to have that.

Therein lies my dilemma… I’ve mentioned it. A couple of times. He balks every time, in his own quiet way. I don’t want to pressure him, or change him or improve him. He’s perfect the way he is. Truly. I don’t want him to earn more money or even change jobs if he doesn’t want to. But I want him to just see if going back to school, pursuing something new is even something he wants to do.

And now I don’t know what more I can do. Because if I keep pestering him about it, I’ll be nagging. And it will be especially uncomfortable for him. Because (although he’s only ever hinted at it), I’m pretty sure he feels some sense of inadequacy because of the disparity between his background and my own. Both my parents have graduate degrees. I have a BA (and an AA and an AS, but who’s counting). His parents are both (incredibly smart) blue-collar, high school educated, as is his sister. He’s just as intelligent as I am (and, I suspect, more so in some ways) and he can hold a conversation with any college grad like it was nothing. But he’s said, about both of my parents on separate occasions, and about some family friends, that he feels intimidated sometimes because they’re so smart (read; college-educated).

So I don’t want him to think that I care about whether or not he has any letters after his name. Or that he makes (a lot) less money than I do. Because I really, REALLY don’t. I love him just the way he is. He’s my Zen Master. Compassionate and patient and loving and funny and the best father I have ever known. But it’s because I love him that I want him to be… fulfilled. I have a job and a career that I love and excel at. I just want him to have that too.

Maybe I should just leave it alone.

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