It's election day, and everybody's talking about voting. But all I can think about right now is my role as helper/completer, and I gotta get it out of my mind and onto the blog. It was life lessons again in Bible study, where we all share what we've been learning on a personal level, having gone through chapters about how we were created, fallen, and redeemed in the helper/completer aspect of womanhood.
I'll admit that when I first thought of this aspect, I thought it would be such a fun one to learn about, because I just love my husband and being with him, and certainly I would find out that I was a great helper and completer for him. :) Turns out God had different plans, as He often does. :) and once again I'm going to do a really crap job of explaining all the things I learned, but bare with me here.
Actually, I'm not even going to try. I"m going to focus on one area I grew in a lot.
ok, ya know when Adam and Eve are in the garden and they sin, and God gives each of them a curse? well, the curse he gives women starts with childbirth, which, okay, OBVIOUS. But the second part says "Yet your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you." and well, desiring my husband never really seemed like all that much of a curse. but maybe the whole "he will rule over you" is a curse which forces women to submit to their husbands, when clearly we'd rather just rule everything ourselves.
As it turns out, the desire for our husbands that is named in the curse of women, is the same grouping of words in Hebrew that is used when talking about Cain and his sin (his hate for his brother). So the desire isn't a sexual desire at all, since Cain's sin could not have a sexual desire for Cain. As our author put it, "What the sin had was a desire to master Cain in order to dictate his actions, to control what he did."
ladies, did you read that? read it again. "What the sin had was a desire to master Cain in order to dictate his actions, to control what he did." Our curse is the desire to master our husbands in order to dictate his actions and control what he does. Turns out, if you look at almost ANY relationship between a man and a woman, particularly in a marriage, you'll see that this part of the curse too, is, well, OBVIOUS. and we're SOOO good at it aren't we??? I think we even use manipulation when we aren't even aware of it! It's just in our nature to "arrange" or "encourage" or "plan" things to go our way. It sounds so innocent if we want it to. But if you look a our hearts, at MY heart anyway, I realize that I want things to go my way because I think I know what's going on around here, or I've dealt with this before, or I have a "gifting" in that area. But really, it might be sin. It might be me taking advantage of my husband's sweet sweet personality and using it get my way. and gosh, when I write it that way, I sound like either a 4 year old who has mastered manipulation, or a conniving little snotty wife, neither of which I want to be.
That whole DESIRE thing is what's been eating at me for the past few weeks. And this past weekend, on my way to Orange City, all by myself, I heard a song by Lee Brice (yay country music!!!) that really just melted my heart. Here's the link. Take a couple minutes to listen to it and then come back here.
(i've never seen the music video and my computer is acting too slow for me to preview it for you, so if it's bad, just close your eyes and listen.) :)
so that song is playing and my heart is melting and I can't help but think to myself, I want Steve to need me! I want him to feel like if he didn't have me he'd be a mess, and he'd be looking for a woman like me!
and, well, let's just say that I don't think he'd be looking for a woman who's nagging at him for not putting his clothes in the laundry basket instead of on the floor, or a woman who's whining about him being gone when he's off fulfilling his passions, or a woman who complains every single night about having to make dinner. So it really inspired me to think about what I want to be for him. I know I'm cursed. I'll always have the desire to manipulate in order to get my way. But what VERY SPECIFIC things can I keep in mind for Steve and men in general that can help me keep that desire at bay?
this is where it gets personal.... :)
I took the word DESIRE and chose one or two things specifically for each letter to keep in mind. This is more than an "acrostic poem," people. this is a very real list of things I'm going to be paying attention to in the future. it's not everything. but it's a start. so here we go:
D is for driving. It's kind of turned into a joke of sorts that Steve always takes weird routes to get places. Like, I REALLY don't understand why he goes the ways he goes. We could CERTAINLY save at LEAST 23 seconds if we went the route that I had in my head. Possibly even as much as 2 minutes. but since, in the grand scheme of things, 23 seconds to 2 minutes is not a big deal, I'm done commenting on it! I'm done stressing out about the waste of time! :) I shall sit quietly, and perhaps even enjoy the extra two minutes I get sitting next to my man, because heaven knows that when we get home we won't be able to just sit next to each other. :)
E is for emotions. One of the things I love most about Steve is his sensitivity. but it's that quality about him that's easiest to use for manipulation. I can make this sweet man feel like total crap in about 2 seconds if I want to. All I have to do is say something mean. or not even that, just not use AS kind of words as I could and he'd feel bad. horrible. I've always known this, and always tried to be careful with the words I choose, but now that I'm aware of my curse, I really want to guard myself from manipulation in this way.
S is for sex and spirituality. now, I love being in bed with my husband. I do. And I don't think that I struggle with using sex as a way to manipulate and get my way. But...chances are, that at least once, maybe twice, :) I've felt like I was just soooo tired from all the work and all the dishes and all the parenting, etc, and if I'd only had a little more help I wouldn't feel this tired and so I better just SHOW HIM how tired I am from doing this all myself (which is probably not even true). it's all about my heart really. because I think sometimes I am allowed to be too tired for sex. but what's really behind it all, that's what matters. The spirituality part comes from my desire for him to be the spiritual leader of our family. And I don't want to rule over him in that way. My mom was all kinds of wonderful in all kinds of areas. But when I look back at my life and my childhood, I realize that she was the spiritual leader in our family. And I always thought it was so great that she had such a strong faith, which I am still SO VERY grateful for. But there's a part of me, now, as a wife, that wants to make sure I don't take that roll away from my husband. Even if there are times when I feel like he's too busy, or I'm more equipped, or whatever the case, it's still HIS ROLE. and I want to honor that.
I is for ideas. Steve is such a great, funny, smart, kind, hardworking, humble man, and I bet he has TONS of good ideas! And I bet if I ask him a little more often what his ideas are, he'll share them and they'll be awesome! When we arrived in Omaha at the airport for our honeymoon, we were on the shuttle and the driver gave Steve some marriage advice: happy wife, happy life. And I thought that was so cute and probably so true. But my sweet husband probably took that to heart, and from that day on, wanted me to be happy! And I love him dearly for it. But I'm starting to wonder if there's all these great ideas that never make their way to his mouth because he's so busy going along with my ideas because happy wife happy life. So I'm gonna be aware of times when I should get HIS ideas. and THEN...I'm going to USE them! wish me luck! ;)
R is for respect, relationship, and respect relationships. Respect is just honoring my husband at all times. I recently read a really great blog post of a woman writing a letter to her friends who bash their husbands, saying that she was sorry but they couldnt' be friends anymore. And it made me realize I am SO BLESSED to have women in my life who do NOT particiapte in that sick-o lifestyle. we were made very differently, so of COURSE we're going to have a difference of opinions, but running to our friends and bashing our husbands is not God-honoring at all. And I want to be sure that I guard myself from those friendships and focus on respecting my husband always. The relationship part is just a reminder to grow our relationship with each other in whatever way I can. and to go on dates. and to make love. and to talk. and to ask. and to listen. and to grow. The respect relationships part is more about my relationships with other men in my life. I'm not going into detail becasue it's none of your business :) but I just want to make sure that the men in my life know that I respect their relationships with their wives. pastors, friends, neighbors, everyone. and that all leads me into the E.
The E is for education. now listen, I love Orange City Iowa as much as the next person (if not more), but I think I really MISSED something growing up there. I'm not sure if it's a community thing, or my parents, or my pastors, or what, but I missed out on the whole education thing about men and women, guys and girls. I'm realizing things in my adult life that make me feel like, OH YEAH! that makes sense!!! For example: we've had babysitters that told us that Steve was not allowed to drive them home. And at first I thought "that's WEIRD!" and then I realized that's REALLY smart. I did a crazy amount of babysitting when i was growing up, and I have NO IDEA if I was ever brought home by the dad because it never would have crossed my mind that that would possibly be inappropriate. And our youth pastor's wife asked us all to make sure that our teenage daugthers are not ever alone with her husband, not because she's concerned about her husband, but because teenage girls are emotional and get attached and don't need to be feeling that way toward her husband! and I was like ohmygosh! have I ever been alone with a youth pastor? BEATS ME! because I wouldn't have thought it was inappropriate, and I don't think my parents would have either! And as far as other men go? I know some marriages take precaution and never allow themselves to be alone with someone of the opposite sex. And that was another thing where I was like OH NO! who have I offended??? And I'm not trying to be ridiculous about rules and such. But in this world, where adultry and divorce are almost the NORM, it's something I want to be more conscious of. And I am going to be intentional about educating my kids about the little things. Because it's the little things that turn into big things.
phew! so there they are! The not-so-few things that I want on the FRONT of my mind at all times, til they become habitual. I want to have the gentle and quiet spirit that is mentioned in 1st Peter 3:4. so when I'm choosing to not comment on Steve's odd driving route, or taking HIS idea instead of mine, or allowing him to lead a spiritual discussion with our kids, I have a GENTLE and QUIET spirit. It might start out with me taping my mouth shut while I keep my words in my head, but eventually, I want the gentle quiet spirit, living in submission to my husband, honoring and respecting him, knowing that it will grow his love for me. and, it's what Christian women are called to do. it's how we can honor God.
am I BRAVE or what to put all this out here in blogland?!?!?!?! maybe it was too personal for some of you, but hey, it's my life. it's my marriage. it's my dream come true. so I want you to all keep me accountable.