Calm down. That was a joke. Well, sort of.
Those of you have been reading me for years are fully aware that I have no shortage of opinions. These archives reveal my thoughts on any and every topic, and 90% of what’s written here was written with no input from my husband, for better or worse, though I do have his approval.
Nevertheless, much of what I think and believe is heavily influenced by husband. Most of what I do is directed by him, implicitly if not explicitly.* He is in the forefront of my thinking when I make decisions since he has to approve, and so I invoke his name quite often in conversation. I do it a lot. However, I didn’t realize how much I do it online as well until I was recently asked about it. This gave me an opportunity to consider it again.
When we married I was 22 years old and understandably, most of my female friends were not married, were not considering marriage, and had no idea what it meant to be married. I barely had any idea myself. One thing I did understand however, after being raised in the home of my youth, was that it wouldn’t be wise to commit to dinner on Friday night with the girls or lunch on Saturday when my husband was off work without consulting him first. This began a turn in the way I conversed on a number of issues.
I found that when I was asked to do a thing and simply said “no”, people were more inclined to attempt to convince me that I could do or wanted to do said thing if I’d just take a little more time to consider it. However, when I said, “I asked SAM about it and he doesn’t think it’s a good idea”, discussion quickly and blessedly stopped. Almost like magic.
Lest you are concerned that I went about offering my husband’s objections to things he would not object to, rest easy. That would be lying, and I didn’t do that. Well, hardly ever is a more truthful statement . I did find that you quickly learn who your friends are when you decide that marriage means you are not a free agent and are accountable to someone or something other than your whims. Those who stuck around simply learned to say, “Check with SAM and see if it’ll be alright for us to get together this weekend.” Those who felt that it was too painful to see their friend be so tied down to a tyrant of a husband moved on.
Being a very young wife also came with the occasional overture from other men and I quickly learned to casually interject mention of my husband when I felt the need to. The habit stuck. In fact, in the story I recently recounted, one of the first things I said in response to the flattering compliment was this: ‘I have always thought Bright Eyes looked more like my husband.”
Issues of parenting, money, marriage, sex, and most everything else, I filter through the prism of what my husband thinks when discussing with others. If I disagree with him, I will share it with him for his consideration, but not with outsiders. What’s more, since we will go where he leads, it serves no purpose to voice any disagreement we have with others. It only serves to dishonor him publicly which is another thing I long ago resolved never to do.
It is now instinctual. As I pondered it recently I wondered if this is a bad thing or a good thing. It wasn’t the first time I’ve considered this. A few years ago I talked to the one other female in the world I trust to give it to me completely straight and who also appreciates the bond of marriage. Her reply was priceless:
“You are a unit. One flesh. It makes sense that he is so close to your heart that when you consider major issues you consider what he thinks as just as important as what you think if not more so. The only thing that carries more weight is Scripture. If people think that means you are losing yourself or your individuality, that is their problem. Those of us who know you know that you are one of a kind.”
I can’t help but wonder what kind of answer I would have gotten had this conversation taken place with almost any other woman, even a Christian one. Actually, I don’t have to wonder because I’ve had it a few times over the years and I know how it goes. It always decidedly in favor of me asserting myself and seizing hold of my individuality.
The truth is that after 18 years of marriage I’m not sure I’d know how even if I wanted to. And I don’t.
*Please spare me the warnings about “worshiping” husbands. I am advocating no such thing and am fully aware that worship is for Christ alone. That however, does not precludes Scripture’s clear directions that we are to submit to and reverence our husbands.