Saturday, May 12, 2007

S*ubmission to our Husbands

(Those that have read here for a while may remember that I wasn't actually raised by my mother. She was very young when she had me and I lived the most part of my youth with my Great Grandmother (and Great Grandfather until he died when I was 11). Who was a *wonderful* person. But not at ALL a submissive wife. And I was surrounded by my extended family.)

There was a time in my life that I would have scoffed at the idea of being submissive to my husband. Though I was raised in a strict Southern Baptist church, I *never* remember this topic being discussed. This just occurred to me as I was typing and it honestly astounds me a little. Is it such a taboo subject that even the more conservative religious leaders wouldn't touch it 40 years ago?


I was a teenager in the 80's. Seems that the 60's and 70's was all about feminism and equal rights and the 80's was a continuation of that. Women, as a whole, seemed to be taught they didn't need a man. Learn to take care of yourself. Don't take anything off of men!

So while this negativity seemed to be the swirling consensus in the general population, my own family was *much* worse.

My mother was 5 times divorced and married to a man 20 years her junior. He was barely older than me. She was always looking to "trade up". I was force fed her (and her 3 sisters) motto's. I can still hear them ringing in my head today. "It's as easy to love a rich man as a poor man." "Let the man know from the beginning who wears the pants in the family."

I look at these aging women now and it breaks my heart. Each of them lives in her own unique misery. My mother now, long divorced again and alone, sees the error of her ways.

NOW she does.

And we talk about it. I feel almost like I have to parent her in this area. And I just think this is a total shame. What a waste. If God is gracious to her, 2/3 of her life is gone. Why did it take her so long to learn these things?

Why did it take me so long to learn them?

The first ten years of our marriage was so hard. I loved my husband. But I was deeply unhappy. I had no idea why. I blamed him. If he would do X differently, I'd be happy. So I'd nag at him until he did X and then I still wasn't happy. So he must not have done it right! Simply put, he was not able to please me no matter what he did.

Now having said that, he didn't do a lot! And why should he have? He was not happy either. But when I look back on it I see exactly why.

He had a wife that nagged him (many times for absolutely no reason). If there was nothing wrong, I'd *find* something wrong. Or invent something.

He had a wife that turned away from him when he reached for her. Consistently. And I really have no idea why, unless it was some type of control issue?

He had a wife that was overweight much of the time. I was unhappy after all!

He had a wife that was impossible to please. He'd suggest that we do something and I'd find some fault with it. Some reason why he was being selfish.

He had a wife that had no idea how to keep the home. I had never been taught. I had never washed my own clothes. Never cooked my own meals. Never washed a kitchen floor. And what did he know anyway!? He'd been raised with a housekeeper!

He had a wife with a terrible consistent negative attitude. This is something that I still struggle with today. If I'm not diligent, my attitude will start to slip. I have to watch it all the time. Being positive about things is a *choice*.

But probably the biggest point of contention in our marriage was the discipline of our girls. I thought he was too harsh, so I tried to overcompensate. I bucked him at every turn. Before he even opened his mouth, I was ready to correct him. Harshly and in front of the girls.

What this accomplished was the exact opposite of what I wanted. I wanted him to participate in the parenting, but only under my terms. He just mostly withdrew. Which made me angry and bitter.

The one point that he would never concede was that the oldest (the youngers weren't born yet for most of this) not be sobbing when she talked to him about something. No matter how much I told him that was "mean", that she couldn't *help* crying, he simply wouldn't listen to it. She had to go collect herself, then come back and talk to him. I'd stomp my foot and "defend" her and it's the one area that he stood his ground. It was one place that he wouldn't give in.

Now I see how this one little seed he planted in the her has reaped big rewards. My girls are some of the best communicators that I've ever know. They collect themselves before they speak and get their emotions under control. They are able to articulate what they wish to articulate. They don't just screech about this or that to people! They stop and think before they talk. What a *wonderful* gift he has given them.

And I feel great shame at what I may have squashed in my oldest because I was the way I was taught to be. Because I couldn't just shut up and trust my husband.

No, his attitude wasn't good back then. But that was what I'd reaped by being the way I was toward him.

I can't say for certain how he might have been if I'd been different back then. But I can say this with 100% certainty. When he started getting respect and submission from me, he became the man of my dreams. He now realizes how much stock we all put into his words and he chooses them carefully.

It is my passion to let young women in on this "secret".

My prayer is that someone can learn from my lost 10 years. And my mothers lost 40.


"My Little Wonders" said...

I wanted to wish you a Blessed Mother's Day :)

Sharon said...

Thank you for baring your heart. I hope that the mistakes we older women made will be a warning to the younger women how NOT to act. I saw a lot of me years ago in your post. I thank God He opened my eyes and changed me!