As I stated in Part I, [July 29, 2010] you should have learned to be responsible for yourself. You're a big girl now. Hopefully, by the time you meet your man, you have your life together. I didn't. Each party brings their "baggage" to the relationship. Mine was a drag on the relationship.
I suffered damage done to my self esteem after the trauma of losing my mother at 2, and my great aunt and primary caregiver at 10. I was uprooted and relocated to another city and my life was turned upside down. I lost my family home, my friends and my way of life. In my new family with my father and step mother, I felt no love, no nurturing, no understanding and no sympathy. In this broken condition, you could say I brought baggage into my marriage.
Thank God that my husband didn't. He was the mature person in our relationship and had patience while I worked through my issues. Ideally, when you marry you should be able to take care of yourself and not need your husband to rescue you, take care of you, or meet needs you should be meeting yourself. You should be fully able to take care of yourself. Ideally, what each of you bring to the relationship should add and enhance the other.
Girls were taught when I was growing up that we should find a man to take care of us. We were told that we should not work outside of the home, be homemakers and stay at home moms. Unfortunately, by the time I got married, in 1962, the reality was that many families could not make it on one paycheck. This caused issues for me and changed my way of thinking after I got married.
Today, we know that it is much harder for women to stay at home. Unless our husband earns a substantial amount, we suffer and sacrifice. And it goes without saying that if your husband is out of a job, you must work. He may be the one to stay at home and keep the kids and share household duties, while you work. Families today have to do whatever is necessary to make ends meet. Then it will be easier for you to do what you need to do, until you are where you want to be.
I met my husband in February, we started dating in March, and we married in June. During that 3 month whirlwind courtship, we dated, broke-up, got back together again, opened a bank account together, and planned a wedding and honeymoon.
I knew Joe. He and I were children together, but neither of us remembers that. He thought he met me for the first time when I was 18 years old. But I already knew him, his family, and where they came from. I saw first hand how respectful he was to his mother, his grandmothers, his sisters, and the women at church. He was a genuinely nice guy and he was nice to me. I opened my heart to him.
I'm grateful for great role model couples. I learned the responsibility of being a wife from watching my great aunt Lelia, my cousin Ruth, and my step aunt Louise. When a woman marries, she gets to decide if she will or will not submit to her husband. That's the way God designed marriage. I chose to submit. During those times when I chose not to submit, there was a price to pay.
The consequence of not submitting is dissention, anger, sabotage, hurt, separateness, lack of sex, growing apart, or for far too many, divorce. For us, going our separate ways in the house and not speaking to one another was not fun. Submitting was so much easier and much less painful, especially if you have a husband like mine. It's easy to submit to a man who's not bossing you, not controlling you, and is not abusive. That's the kind of man you can respect.
"Wives submit to your own husbands, as this is fitting unto the Lord," Col 3:18
"Let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband." Eph 5:33
I discovered the power of submission through submitting. This is the gift I give to my husband. I know this may sound strange, but I found that by submitting, I won because, ultimately, I got what I wanted. He saw that I was on his team, that I had his back, that I was in his corner, and that he could trust me completely. He learned that I wanted what he wanted. He became more receptive and cooperative and willing to please me which is what I'd always wanted and what every wife wants. It's a win-win situation. It may take sacrifice, time and patience, but I found it worked for me. Now we consider ourselves best friends. And when I heard him tell a colleague over the phone, "It's great just to be together, in the same room with her. We don't need to say anything, just be together...", I was so touched and felt so blessed to have a man love me like that, especially my husband!
Have you ever listened to the words of the song "Solid" by Ashford and Simpson? That can be considered our theme song. The words (not in order) are:
"And for love's sake, each mistake, ah you forgave.
You didn't turn away, when the sky went gray. We had to stick together.
And with that feeling, we were willing to take a chance.
So against all odds, we made a start and got serious.
And soon both of us learned to trust. Not run away.
We built it up, and built it up and now it's solid, solid as a rock.
That's what this love is. That's what we've got.