Husband Versus Wife, Wife Versus Husband

The more I listen and watch people, the more I see a frustration in marriages that just doesn’t need to be there at all.

Maybe I see it because I’ve been in a unique position most of my life. Maybe it’s so apparent because it’s just so different from my own marriage. Whatever the reason, it honestly makes me sad to see what could be an amazing experience, end up being a hurtful competition or a neglectful, negative situation.

Recently my husband had an interaction on a social network with someone who said it is awful for Christians to live the Biblical description of marriage where “…wives submit to your husbands…” *gasp!**howoldfashionedancientandbackwards!*

Ok, at face value, that taken out of context description of a wife’s “role” does seem a bit antiquated or third world-ish. So, I guess I want to take just a moment to address that specifically.

In what ways do I personally “submit” to my own husband? Do I ever resent “having” to be submissive? Does that mean he “rules” over me and our children? Am I afraid to be independent, or modern, with a “healthy” perspective on my own self-esteem and self-reliance? The answer to this last question is, No, I am not afraid to be any of those. In fact, there is no fear at all in my marriage. He doesn’t keep me ” in check”, or “barefoot and pregnant, in the kitchen”.

I practice “submission” by not hiding things from him. I do that because I don’t want hindrances in our relationship, or stumbling blocks. I can’t think of anything I haven’t told him about my past, or things I’ve done since he and I married. I am open and honest with him. I don’t resent living a submissive life with him, because he also reciprocates. He doesn’t hide things from me.

This is actually what got me thinking about this subject: I see a lot of women get hurt because of things their husband’s or boyfriend’s have hidden from them. I see so many marriages break down because of this lack of communication, and a rise of this competitive “spirit” that often sets them up as each other’s enemy.

My husband is not my enemy, he’s my very best friend. In fact, most of our marriage he has been my only real, true friend. He knows me better than anyone else, except our Creator.

My husband treats me with dignity, kindness, respect, generosity, equality, and love. Why does he do that? Because that’s how our God has taught him to treat me. I choose to submit things to him because he sees things from a different perspective than I do. I choose to be submissive because he is fair, honest, and he’s accountable to our God for me and our children. I choose to submit to him because we are equals, and he chooses to submit himself to me. We share our lives, our burdens, our concerns, with each other. We don’t consult with friends outside of our marriage, we don’t gossip with our complaints about one another. We don’t hold value of a friendship above each other, we are each other’s best friend.

That’s exactly what I see missing in the marriages that end in divorce and hatred. They forget to be friends.

Who Controls Your Time?

This is painfully honest, but it’s “real”.

There are some days when I have a heightened sense of awareness concerning how very little control and input I have in my daily life’s circumstances. I am writing this as I sit in our one vehicle waiting for my husband to finish something he’s volunteered to do for our church. I have no issues with his having volunteered. What I am continually frustrated about are my lack choices in my own life. Some days it’s apparent that nothing about my life is about me.

As a Christian, I remind myself that that’s the way my life is supposed to go. Putting others before myself. This is the “season” I am in, and the lesson of learning to be content in all things, it’s a doozy some days.

As a military spouse and veteran, I remind myself that serving our country is an honor. Supporting my husband as he serves, is some days a more difficult sacrifice than my own military service was. He has people telling him what to do and where to be pretty much every minute of his work day. He’s scheduled for meetings without any communication with him about it, and he has no say, nor does he even get to take real vacation time. There is often little to no consideration or concern for how his work affects his home life, by his leadership. He wasn’t issued a family, so his family isn’t important to them. I do my best to keep things under control at home, but I have reached a near breaking point a few times since we moved to this assignment 1 year ago. Service before self, that’s what is expected, even from military families. When he gets orders just days before he’s sent away, I just have to go through the motions of having it all together. If I’m sick or stressed, it doesn’t matter, his duty comes before my life, in every way possible. That’s just the way it is. When he flies, I drop him off so I won’t be without the car if he gets stuck somewhere over night, or for several days. Everything revolves around his schedule, and truth be told: I don’t often feel much like running errands just because his work schedule makes our car available for me to actually go somewhere.
I cannot plan anything. When he comes home from work, he tries not to bring his frustration home too, and he plays with the kids when he can. Sometimes he lays down and falls asleep. Ok, lots of times he does that. I get the leftover exhaustion that’s a result of all the junk he deals with, or exhaustion from his flying 6-10 hours a day.

As a home educating mom, I remind myself that my kids educational needs are priority. They have to learn, we have to stick to a schedule to fit in the State mandated number of hours required, even though the school system certainly doesn’t follow that guideline very strictly. The school system gives kids 5 days off over Valentine’s Day and Presidents Day, alone. My kids can’t take that amount of time off without having to make up time over a weekend or extra long schooldays. Even though they will beg me to go play with their friends, they have to do schoolwork, because of those mandated hours I signed my name before a Notary Republic agreeing to enforce. Normally I enjoy the kids staying home to learn, but I honestly despise that box of “time” everyday that this state has inflicted on us. I have consistently been strict concerning their education from day 1 of their schooling, that mandate is unnecessary, and it’s too restricting.

I have no one to talk to that really understands where I’m coming from. There is nothing that is about “me”, at all right now. When people ask what I like to do, I’m at a loss. I don’t even know anymore. I try to write, but I’m only motivated by getting stuff off of my chest, encouraging others one-on-one, or politics. I play my violin for church sometimes, but that’s another part of my life that is scheduled for me, which isn’t a big deal in and of itself, but when I look at the whole picture, I just get overwhelmed by how lost I am in everyone’s scheduling that affects me but isn’t ever about me. I very much want to play my violin and bless others, just some days I feel crushed by “overwhelm”. Thankfully God never lets it really crush me, and He gives me the strength to get out from under it, and rise above it. I am no good at anything without God’s help.

Nothing about my life is my own right now. I sometimes stay up too late just to get peace and quiet time to myself, but that comes with a price, too. I cannot ever get away from responsibility, or everything being planned for me while not including me in the planning.

I just follow the schedule.

The Reality Of My Life

I have something heavy on my mind, stirred up by a sermon I recently heard.

Part of the message was about community, not being isolated, having people you can talk with about stuff who will pray with you.

I have prayed about this, and I feel I should share openly. So, here are my thoughts on this, and I will confess up front: this is a sensitive issue for me. I will start by asking a question, or two. Maybe more:

Where was community while I was being molested? Where was community when I struggled through years of eating disorders, as I blamed myself for all the horror of what happened to me? Where was community in the aftermath of a close family member almost purposely killing another close family member, as I watched?  Where has church community been in the 30+ years of my fight to survive, muddling through all the confusion and pain, wounds and scars, trying to make sense of it all, struggling to learn how to live a healthy life, while learning I could trust others?

I’d like to tell you where community has been for me, for the most part. It has been ignoring me because it doesn’t know what to do with me, doesn’t want to see what I’ve been through, doesn’t want to get its hands dirty trying to help me. It’s been unapproachable and out of my reach. It’s been there for others, but not me. I’ve been “too intense”, or “too sensitive”, and I have never fit into those boxes of “acceptable things” it has tried to stuff me into.

I am different. I was shaped differently because my life has not been anything like most people’s. I have walked hard roads, learned lessons the most difficult ways, hit rock bottom more than once, in different ways. I am unique. I love people, value them with a passion and intensity that I have never experienced. I hurt when others hurt, I cry when others cry, I rejoice when others are blessed. That is what God has formed from the ashes of my life, the beauty He has given to me. I am uniquely and wonderfully made, and if you don’t get to know me, if you don’t hear my story, you will miss out on some amazing things. Most of my story can only be told one-on-one. Someday it will be written in a book for all to read, but you won’t know it’s my story.

I am not bitter or angry, I’m sad. I can’t pretend the things in my past have never happened to me. I can’t pretend I never went down the wrong road, reacted badly, have never been sinful as a result of having so little human guidance readily available for me.

So, I find I am expected to rise up and be there to reach out to others, despite that not being a viable option for me, and I will because I want to be for others what I have needed others to be for me.  I understand things from a perspective that is sometimes lacking in the church community: God doesn’t look at people the way we do.