i can't believe i'm blogging about this.
After all these years - to expose the bloodiest, most hurting, gaping, open wound... in the most honoured, revered adored spot in my life - my marriage... To point out the single thing that has stretched me most as a wife in all of our 15 years of marriage - the thing that continues to stretch me still, the thing that causes me to flinch - in my reflex to protect it.
But i wanna write about it too... i want my children to understand that it's not always easy to see what He wants us to do... how He wants us to react... how He'll allow us to grow.
So, i'm going to write this post - and pray that allowing this vulnerability isn't foolishness...
We don't have unity.
There i said it out loud. There were years i prayed, cried out to God - in frustration and sadness - to give us unity in our marriage... to give us a single mind when it came to children... to either take away my desire and deeply held conviction - or to give it to Neil.
God didn't do that.
It doesn't matter *why* He chose not to do it... He's God - He gives, He takes - he chooses not to give... Blessed be his Name. But, i think maybe - i'm ready to write about the things that do matter.
Regarding children in the protestant church, there is no clear teaching... We give lip service to the truth that, "children are a blessing." But aside from saying those words, there is little in our actions (as a whole) that speak to that truth. And so it's not surprising that Neil and i found ourselves at a cross roads where the answers weren't in black and white. We were told it was a matter of taste, so to speak - of convenience and opinion... This casual teaching changed our marriage.
For us? We're one of the blessed ones... marriage has been easy. Neil is funny, kind, hard working and generous. i'm pretty easy going, and i have a strong desire to do what's right... we're both the babies in our families - and once we got married, fights between us were few & far between. We had an unwritten rule... whoever it mattered to the most, won. Our houses and vehicles mattered to Neil - so i bit my tongue and let him choose. i wanted to homeschool - he raised his eyebrows... and then from that moment, has offered the words of praise and encouragement that have kept me going. He golfs, i blog, we both love art and music... Easy.
And then... suddenly... something mattered to us both... something so impacting and life changing that we couldn't ignore it. We were at an impasse. i wanted to remain open to life; and he didn't.
At this point, i know that a lot of my readers might be thinking, 'But that's pretty easy - don't you know that verse: "Wives, submit to your husbands..."?? Clearly you had no business questioning his choice in this matter.'
In all honesty, i have meditated on that scripture - and i love it... i love the truth it contains, and i love it's clear direction and beautiful simplicity. But i think it has been twisted and misrepresented to mean something that it does not mean. i have begun to wonder if maybe women have used that verse as a cop out... allowing their husbands to wrestle out their faith for them - rather than using the blood bought gift of a direct relationship with God - to allow Him to work out their faith in them too.
Two other passages that stood out for me during that time were the parable of the persistent widow in Luke 18 and the proverb about the quarrelsome wife in Proverbs 27. i couldn't decide which i was.... was i 'persistent' - in seeking justice and longing to be heard? Or was i nagging and quarrelsome - like a leaking faucet? i have probably been both... in retrospect - doing the best that i could, with what understanding i had...
My husband, when he asked for advice, was given the same verse from Ephesians 5, and told that he could choose what he thought best and that it was my job to submit to it. For the record, i think this was lazy counsel. It's only partly true. If those friends truly wanted to be a voice of truth in our marriage, they would have talked about the passage as a whole - and because i wasn't there... they would have focused on the part that directly addresses husbands: 'Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her' (sacrificially). They would have challenged him to love harder - even if that didn't ultimately mean having more children... his job... first and foremost - was to act in a loving way. Beautiful.
As a result of my husband's intuitive love - and my submission -as well as our mutual respect and submission (Ephesians 5:21), our family isn't all clean lines and rules. We have more children than we would have had... We also have less than we could have had... We've given - we've accepted - we've bent, stretched... we've talked, we've fought and cried.
It's beautiful. It's this messy open wound that keeps me intentional about loving my husband. It's this embarrassing lack of unity - that has served to show us how little other things matter to us - & that has ultimately - ironically - brought us *more unity* in almost every other issue. It's this stretching - and giving - the bending and aching - that brought us to this delicate place - that deepened our love and leaves us grateful.
Unity? It's like this beautiful utopic dream... one that i still hope and pray for, but less desperately - and more peacefully now.
i want to honour God with my marriage - (which incidentally, is the most precious gift He has ever given me...) and *this* - is where He has brought me to do that.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart, be pleasing in Your sight, Father... my Rock - and my Redeemer...
from psalm 19:
12But who can discern their own errors?
Forgive my hidden faults.
13 Keep your servant also from willful sins;
may they not rule over me.
Then I will be blameless,
innocent of great transgression.
14 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight,
LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.