daveandmonika (daveandmonika) wrote in christian_wives,

Just getting my thoughts out

Dave is in the kitchen baking me a birthday cake and he keeps coming out to his computer to look at bikes on craigslist and I just woke up from a nap and was thinking while feeding Timothy about the passage we discussed in bible class this morning about wives and husbands submitting and being considerate to each other.

The teacher basically brushed off 'wives submit to your husbands' as a cultural thing and talked about how his mom buttered his dad's bread and got up at 3am everyday with him to make him breakfast...and how his wife's dad made breakfast for her mom before he left for work and woke her up as he was leaving...and that both were demonstrations of love in a marriage and basically what the passage was calling for. Just do whatever works for you in your marriage.

After class Dave and I talked about it...someone on my facebook list had posted this video which we had watched together last night wherein the preacher implies that sometimes we get too deep into 'cultural studies' to try and excuse ourselves from the simple meaning stated in a passage (in the video it is "it is hard for the rich to enter the kingdom of God") so Dave and I were talking about how maybe the wives submitting shouldn't just be shrugged off.......and he mentioned how he knows that the house that we live in wasn't my first choice and I would have been just as happy or happier not putting an offer in on it...but that I said ok when he wanted to. And I mentioned that, yeah, I guess I 'submitted' in that case, but I didn't do it because of Dave's position as "the husband"...I did it because he really loved the house; and it was close to where he works and it was important to both of us for him to not have too long a commute; and because although he didn't really want a fixer-upper and this was one, I knew that most of the "fixing" would fall on him. Then we got where we were going and the conversation moved on to another topic.

In class our teacher had talked about husbands being considerate to their wives as the weaker partner and how that isn't saying the lesser partner at all, just the guys tend to be physically stronger than girls and it is something that they alway have to take into account as they deal with their wives, that they are stronger physically and they need to be conscious of the fact in order to not abuse their strength...not use it to get what they want. I made a comment about how both sections of the passage are really talking to temptations that husbands and wives have to deal with...I don't have to worry about overpowering Dave--he's got 50 lbs on me :-p--but I do have to worry about manipulating him because I know he'll let me get away with just about anything ;-). Submitting to him is putting my faith---submitting to God--into practice. The teacher agreed, and said that we all like to be in control and it was a definite issue within marriages. (An aside, when talking about the husband side the teacher mentioned that no guy would make it to 70 {his age? possibly} without ever slipping up and using their physical stature in an abusive way...it made me think of basically the only time in Dave and my relationship that the fact that he really is stronger than me became an issue...I think it was freshman year of college, so within our first year of dating, and we were having a ticklefest and it got to be too much for him and he wrapped me in a hug and held my wrists so that I couldn't get him anymore and I became acutely aware of the fact that if he didn't want me to be able to get away I really wouldn't be able to. It was scary. I told him to let me go and he did and we talked about it and I let him know how I felt and I've never had another experience like that in the 8 years we've been together. I would say that Dave is really good at being considerate toward me as the weaker partner.)

So as I was feeding Tim after my nap I was thinking about how if they had used the same phrase for women as for men, and said for wives to be considerate to their husbands then there wouldn't be anyone up in arms about that...everyone basically agrees that spouses should be considerate to each other. And as Christians we are supposed to put each other first...but we don't like being lumped together and given advice based on our gender.(Ephesians 5:21-33 was also in my head here) If you say "Monika, be considerate to Dave, put him first; Dave, be considerate to Monika, put her first" I think we both would go "yeah, that's good advice that we need to take to heart, I try to do that but could always do a better job, how about some specific advice for the parts that I struggle with?"...whereas if you say "Monika, submit to Dave" I go, "wait! what? what's that mean? stop being myself and just do everything his way?? I can't do that! why should I even have to?" The teacher mentioned a 'nugget of truth' which was something along the lines of "be the kind of husband worthy of submission and your wife will submit" or something like that, which still rubbed me wrong, and I realized in my drowsy thinking why...it still sort of implies that submission has something to do with the guys. And I don't think it should. The advice that a wife should submit to her husband does not at all give a husband the moral ground to exert power over his wife (which I think is what Peter's advice to the husbands was trying to say). He can't make her submit. He isn't supposed to try. He isn't supposed to even want to. It is her act of faith that she chooses or not. I've heard more than once that what 'submitting' in marriage means is that you generally make decisions as a team but if push comes to shove and the two of you disagree and a decision has to be made then you go with the husband's choice...and Dave and I have never done that. We have disagreed. We have made decisions that one person was happier with than the other. We have pushed decisions off to the future that we still haven't come to a consensus on (e.g. schooling). But never once has he said "well, I'm the husband, we need to go with my choice" and never once have I said it. When I can put him first I do, when he can put me first, he does. And that's how it should be.

So that was my epiphany of the day. And it's my birthday :D.
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