In recent weeks, I have spent a lot of time writing about myself. Obviously, this blog has been part of that writing, but it has also included personal statements and essays, descriptions of myself and my work for job applications, and many other types of writing. In order to write about myself, I have to know who I am…and for one of the first times in my life, I really feel like I do. I’m a bundle of contradictions, but I think most people are. The biggest change in my concept of my identity has been my new “role” as a wife.
Before we got married, we had pre-marital counseling like many couples do. It was refreshing and eye-opening. There were battles along the way, moments when you wonder “How on earth could we ever actually spend our lives together?” There are days when I thought, “Let’s just elope.” Part of the counseling was to discover the “roles” of husband and wife. Who are these people that we were about to become? How on earth could we ever fill those roles?
In addition to the counseling, we were reading a book entitled Intended for Pleasure, a life-changing and incredibly challenging read for a sheltered girl like me. Instead of encouraging me and helping me prepare for marriage, it terrified me. I’m not an incredibly liberal person, but I am fairly independent and decently stubborn at times. Raised in a conservative family and church, I was taught that a wife submits to her husband, but I had no idea what that meant. “Submit” is such a difficult word. It sounds dreadful, degrading, and just wrong. How could I possibly fulfill a role that required this of me?
I’ve realized that most of the time it’s easier than I thought it would be. It’s not that he always gets his way or that I always agree with him. We discuss, argue, bicker, and banter like every other couple. Part of it is that I simply need to trust him sometimes. It’s taking care of him whether he’s sick or well. It’s being honest and open with him about my thoughts in a way that’s loving. It’s meeting his needs, cleaning the house, helping with homework, being his best friend. And he is called to love me as he loves himself…which means he does all the same things for me.
We’ve only been married for six months, and I know I definitely don’t fully understand it. But we’re both working toward that place of being in a right relationship with each other and with God. I’m sure there will be times when submission becomes a lot more difficult. It’s a tough word in our culture, and it’s not something we as women want to hear or do. But if you think it’s just giving in and letting him walk all over you, you’re absolutely, 100% wrong. There are commitments and requirements on both sides. It’s a partnership…it’s a marriage.