I have had a pretty good week and a half. I feel like a weight has been lifted off of me that I didn’t even realize was crushing me. Part of it is learning to let go of the idea that I can control things. Most things in life are 90% out of my control. God designed life to be that way so that we would stop in the middle of the struggle and ask “Hmm, I wonder if that God person is real and if He is, if He can help me”, so that when we wonder that, He can come in and help us. God loves being our Hero. It’s hard to remember that when your house payment is late, there is no money coming in and everything seems to be falling apart, but it is true. He just won’t ever impose Himself on us, so if we refuse to ask for His help or insist on fixing things by ourselves because we aren’t “weak” and don’t need help from anyone, then guess what? He will let us struggle. Not because He is rude, but because there is nothing that He respects more than our freedom to do things our way. Because He loves us, He will let us learn something from that struggle instead of letting it go to waste.
I always have to be in control. If I’m not, then I will be left alone. That is my line of thinking. My greatest fear is to be alone. My best girlfriend is a widow and I have always looked up to her because she is the strongest woman that I know. I do not know how a woman loses her husband with 3 small children and finds a way to get up in the morning. To be able to get past that grief and somehow make a life for herself and her kids, is beyond anything that I could ever see myself doing. Even thinking about being left alone to take care of my kids right now paralyzes me with fear.
That fear leads me to act like a lunatic when it comes to dealing with my husband. Why? Because unlike God, I do not know how to respect his freedom to do things his way. I think that his way is stupid. (Can you see why my husband wouldn’t exactly respond to my opinion well?)
There are so many things that go into the idea of a submissive wife.
The Sacrament of Marriage is about more than just about a pretty wedding, vows and cake. It is about two people making a covenant with God that they are going to put Him in the center of that marriage and help get one another to heaven along with raise children to know Who He is. Even if at some point one spouse or the other forgets that is what happened that day, it still happened. If that never happened then it’s not a Sacrament, it’s a civil agreement.
Another thing, if there is any kind of abuse going on, then eff submission and get the hell out. That may or may not involve an annulment, but that is not even relevant. Get out. That includes marital rape. If you do not want to have sex and your husband talks you into or forces you to, then get out. Now, if you aren’t having sex with him because you want him to do the dishes more often or he refuses to do something you want, then get to therapy because yo ass has issues. But I am talking about rape here; if that is happening to you, leave. I am blessed to have amazing priests who have always been the first to make sure that I’m safe when we are talking about my vocation as a wife.(Not that they have any reason to think that my husband is abusive, but they don’t take it for granted.)
There is a balance to submission; it can only work if the husband is being a husband and not an abuser. There is no excuse for abuse. None.
I am in a valid marriage with a man who does not abuse me, who works, who loves me and my children but we are having a hard time. He has some things to work out and so do I. Usually; I want to be all up in his face telling him how to work his things out while I ignore my things. That doesn’t work.
Most of my problems stem from the fact that I expect everyone to come to a relationship with Jesus the same way that I did. I expect everyone to experience God the way that I do. The fact is, everyone’s journey is different. There are key moments that are in everyone’s story of coming to know God, but the details are all different. God knows what He is doing and I need to step aside, and allow Him to work. For the past three years I have been the road block in my husband’s road. There really is no excuse for it. It is straight up pride and control on my part. Plus fear. Fear of losing him, of him saying that he made a mistake when he married me, fear that he never really loved me and fear that maybe God’s Will is for me to be alone and that I’m not as strong as my friend.
Where did all that fear get me? Sitting in front of the Tabernacle asking Jesus to help me. And you know what He said to me? “I can only help you if you let Me help your husband. You do not have all the answers, I do.” Ruuuude. People think Jesus is this super sweet hippy with this soothing voice that would never tell anyone anything that doesn’t make them feel all warm and fuzzy, well, let me just tell those people that that is a false Jesus. Jesus tells
you me to shut up sometimes.
I got a lot of messages last week from God, but this post is already long enough so I will have to post about that later. The last message that sealed the deal was Noe reading 1 Peter 3:1 to me. Noe could tell me to hop around the parish on one leg three times a day and I would do it, so when he read it to me and explained that as a wife of a good man, which my husband is, that sometimes I have to give him the freedom to do things his way and pray for him, to submit myself to him, I could only agree to do it. To love my husband and by my actions be a witness of Christ to him. That can mean many things, but it doesn’t work if there is abuse like I said before and that includes verbal and emotional abuse of the kids. Submission does not mean taking endless amounts of shit from a spouse who is doing nothing to lead his family. It doesn’t mean accepting scapegoating or allowing someone to avoid taking responsibility for their actions. It means loving them even when they fail and supporting them so they can get back up. And that can look many ways, but none of those ways is ignoring what is happening. If a husband doesn’t see any need to get back up, to lead his family, to put food on the table or pay for the roof over their head, to be faithful, to be the man who God made him to be, then a submissive wife will just become an enabler. An enabler doesn’t help a spouse be a better person, it just feeds the fear of being alone. My therapist told me that.
Between a therapist, a counselor friend, a priest, a regular confessor and Noe I finally see that enabling my husband isn’t love. Submission is love and there is a difference between the two. One comes from respecting a spouse’s freedom and the other comes from fear. Fear does not come from God.
1 Peter 3:1
In the same way you wives must submit yourselves to your husbands, so that if any of them do not believe God’s word, your conduct will win them over to believe. It will not be necessary for you to say a word, because they will see how pure and reverent your conduct is.
(I will try and learn more, read more and explain more about the Catholic view of submission. I know that it’s a word that really irks some people.)