1.30.2006

Ramblings on Marriage

Two things happened in the last couple of weeks that motivated this post. First, I was awakened at 9:35 last Sunday morning by my cell phone playing the little salsa tune that means Nikki is calling me (personalized rings -- where would my life be without them?). She recently got married, so of course just before we got off the phone, she (being in the throes of newlywed bliss) made an adorable comment about her "hot pastor husband." Aww... It's so great to listen to her talk about him.

The second thing wasn't nearly as delightful. I went to the grocery store the same morning (my church meets at night, people!) to pick up a few things, and as I was standing in the aisle comparing B-complex vitamin prices, I overheard something that made me want to cry and pull my hair out at the same time. In fact, if I pulled my hair out, I'm sure I would cry. Moving on.

A middle aged couple couple was standing in the pharmacy section of Kroger. I probably wouldn't even have noticed them had the woman not begun lecturing her husband loudly and angrily, even going so far as to shake her finger at him! Her eyes were narrowed, her voice pinched and full of disgust, and her body language screamed her distaste for this man. To his credit, he answered her quietly, offering his help. But I could hear the sorrow and fear in his voice. I can only imagine his thoughts -- then again, maybe I don't really want to! Was he thinking back on the woman he fell in love with, wondering where she had gone? Was he calculating how many days it would be before she spoke kindly to him again?

Now, lest you think I'm too quick to judge, let me say that it was probably nothing. For all I know, she just got fired from her job, and suffers from insomnia, and is taking a new medication that makes her irritable. For all I know, this was the first time they've ever fought like that, and she went home and tearfully apologized to her husband, promising never to treat him so abominably again.

But all I could think was, what a contrast! Talking to Nikki, whose genuine respect and admiration for her husband is so apparent, was a testament to the grace of God. I have been so fortunate to be able to listen to her talk about him and hear how deeply she wants to serve, support, and honor him. In every pre-marital disagreement (and they were few and minor), Nikki always expressed her desire to submit to JD and to follow his godly leadership. I can only imagine her horror at the idea of scolding and chastising her husband like a child -- much less in public! Such a thought goes against every godly impulse of a covenant wife, and flies in the face of God's plan for marriage.

And yet so many single Christians are setting themselves up for a relationship just like the grocery store couple's! Single Christian men refuse to become true men of godly boldness and pure character that will let them fulfill their God-given responsibility to someday be the head of a home. Rather than cultivating maturity and leadership, they settle for being "modern men," surrounding themselves with girl friends and believing that being modern means giving her the lead -- nice, supportive, benign boys who will wonder someday why they never made a difference for the Kingdom. Or they live for self, misleading young women with their flirtatiousness, and seeking to satisfy their own pleasures -- boys whose god is their appetite for skin, which must be satisfied.

And single Christian women -- this is a demographic I'm pretty familiar with -- reject the freedom in the path God has made for us and believe the lie of the world that says we have to take the lead, do all the work, make up for the "stupidity" of men! We become the pursuers, lapping up magazine articles that tell us how to perfect the techniques of seduction and manipulation to ensnare men. We buy into the world's pattern for marriage: smart, cute woman marries big dumb animal of a man (who is probably also lazy, clueless, sex-obsessed, and generally a total caveman), henpecks and browbeats him into silent submission, and he whines slightly, making monosyllabic excuses for his idiotic behavior, as he hands over his credit card to the goddess of the house. (See "King of Queens," "According to Jim," "Everybody Loves Raymond," etc., for examples of this pattern.) The only difference in the minds of many Christian girls is that they'll also go to church on Sundays, by golly, even if she has to drag his sorry behind out of bed every week!

I don't want to be the woman who scolds her husband in the aisle of Kroger. I don't want to marry a man who refuses to take the lead. I want to become the kind of woman who someday will admire her husband's godly character, respect his God-given position of leadership, and work hard to support and honor him in everything. And I want to encourage my single brothers in Christ to become the kind of men that God wants them to be, so that someday they can lead their wives and families with boldness and fervor.

So there you have it. I've jumped on the bandwagon and put in my two cents about that blissful state into which Paul encouraged single folks not to venture. And that's all I have to say.

18 comments:

Laura's Dad said...

Can't wait to read what Rabbie has to say about THIS post. I think you have hit the nail on its proverbial head.

Good as usual -- better, in fact.

Allison said...

and yet another example of a lie that the world and ultimately the media has put out about girls and being the queens over everything.... I whole heartedly agree with you Laura... Ive seen alot of girls push and shove around their boyfriends as if they were little puppies, just waiting to be scolded. Its just not the way its meant to be. But, Im not saying that men should do the same thing to a woman, just that he is the leader of the relationship... that he should take charge, and be the initiator.

so...

hate the lie!

VIVA LA RESISTANCE!!!

~Allie

Hate the LIE!

VIVA LA RESISTANCE!

Rabby said...

Sister Laura, I will have a new post up tomorrow and I may speak to this.

Oh ... give my humble regards to Snuggles an all.

Julie said...

Wow! So true! Enjoyed your blog! I guess if we are not careful we could all end up being like the couple in Kroger. That's why Jesus needs to be the center of our marriage! Amen!?

Tom said...

Wow, great post.

Lorie said...

I want to become the kind of woman who someday will admire her husband's godly character, respect his God-given position of leadership, and work hard to support and honor him in everything.

This is what I, too, want. And it is possible, but it takes work, tremendous and constant death to self and going against all that will be "natural" to us at times. It is what we are called to be, but that means that it is not who we are by nature. We all need to strive for this and encourage one another, as sisters, to strive for this, especially when it's hard---because it will be.

And we must be wary of kidding ourselves by assuming or believing that there is "the" guy out there with whom this type of attitude and behavior will come naturally---because we will "really" love him, or because he will "bring out the best in us". It is one thing to theorize about how we will be in marriage or even look at how we react to men as single women or within a dating situation. It is another thing completely to be who we should be day in and day out, after 15 years of marriage and inevitable disappointments and hurts.

I'm NOT saying that godliness as a wife is impossible---because of our new life in Christ, we are completely enabled to obey him and follow his heart and design for us---and we are wise to recognize that we must be submitting our will and desires to God now in order to prepare. If I have a problem with submission of any type as a single woman, chances are I'm going to have a heck of a time submitting to my husband. If I tend to raise my voice to my family when we argue, chances are I'm going to scream at my husband too. The way I will be in marriage will most closely resemble how I am in my most unguarded, intimate relationships now (usually immediate family).

And it's true, too, that not just our sin nature but also our culture foster "independent", "confident" (ie. disrespectful and domineering) women. Because they tell us that we know more/better than men. And that is not true. But we buy into it, even in subtle ways. I know I do.

Laura said...

Lorie, you are just amazing. What relevant points you make! I know I live in fantasy land sometimes when it comes to my future marriage (Lord willing) -- as if I'll be able to manage my relationship with him any better than I can manage my current relationships with my family. I still squabble with my brother sometimes, and have a critical spirit, and constantly struggle (there's that WORD again!) to kill my desire to be the center of attention. Ugh. So how am I going to be with my future husband? Pray for me. Getting rid of the sin that hinders true, honest relationships and intimacy -- both with people and with Christ -- that's my goal.

And Allison, don't forget to hate the Liar as well. The media didn't just make this stuff up, it came from the Father of Lies, who loves to twist God's plan so he can make more and more people miserable.

Lorie said...

I'll pray for you, you pray for me. The Lord knows I need it. :)

Tom said...

Laura and Lorie, Both of you have made some really great points. You have both given me much to reflect upon and take towards prayer. I may share it in more detail later, but I just wanted to thank the both of you. An issue has really been brought to light that needs some attention.

Thanks

ckhnat said...

i'm glad someone else is speaking up about this! go laura ... go laura ...

Rabby said...

Sister Laura an all: Like I sed I would, I got me a new post up on my blog an all. An it's about some a this very thing an it will help you. An I gave a little shout-out to yer blog address in my post as a way to credit you.

Laura said...

Yee-haw! Over ten comments at last! Wait... one of those is mine. Now two. Drat. At least I got Lorie to say something.

I wish I were as popular as Purgatorio.

Nikki Daniel said...

I love you, Laura. You are always an encouragement to me and I know that you will be an AMAZING wife one day!

Donna said...

Great post, Laura - and I have to tell you that the picture of the gorilla made me laugh out loud. :)

iconoclasm said...

Did anyone notice that the gorilla that is supposed to represent modern males is female?

Laura said...

Who says it's supposed to represent modern males? ;)

I must have slept through the Gorilla Gender Determination lecture in freshman bio.

iconoclasm said...

let me fill you in on what you missed of the Gorilla Gender Determination lecture. Gorilla + boobs = female

So if the Gorilla is not the modern male, is it the modern female that has lost all femininity and grace and goes about beating its chest screaming, "I am woman hear me roar!"

Maybe you didn't sleep through biology after all.

Laura said...

Yeah, er... that's totally what I meant for it to represent! *Sigh*