You might want to read this post and this post from the Time-Warp Wife to understand my post fully.
There is a joke email/post that pops up from time to time. The Good Wife's Guide. It's all about the 1950's housewife's pre-husband coming home routine. It's tongue in cheek. Its funny. It makes the girl-school raised, girl-power, you-can-do-anything-he-can-do feminist within me stand up and cheer.
No way am I putting on my best dress and make up every evening. I mean, hey, I worked all day too you know. And if you think I'm going to massage his feet - you've got another thing coming!
So reading today's challenge got me thinking about the 'balance of power' in our house. See, when we first got married, I wanted to be treated the exact way I was treating my husband. If I did something nice for him, like buying handsoap or folding some clothes, then I wanted him to do something nice for me.... like cook me a romantic 3 course dinner with candlelight and buy me flowers and a new bracelet.
I'm not actually kidding. Some of our worst fights early on were about me wanting some extravagant, lasting gestures of love for very little payoff (in his mind). "Darling, I made you a sandwich three days ago - I can't believe that you forgot to take out the garbage again and you left the toilet seat up a week ago - UNFORGIVABLE!"
The Time-Warp Wife's post does not appeal to Gen Y. We do not like the idea that as women, there can be something other than complete equalness to a marriage. We are taught that as women, our ideas and values have the same value and worth as men. I firmly believe that. In fact, I believe that this is biblical. So does the Time-Warp Wife. So what's the difference?
The Time-Warp Wife sees doing these things for her husband as an expression of her love for him, and as a practice of the biblical model of headship. See, even though in 21st cntuary Australia, I'm pulling in the big bucks, I bought the house, I've got the degree, God says that my husband is in charge. Yep. You read it. Even more than that, the Bible tells us that my husband is under God's authority. And when he is under God's authority, and I am under both God's authority and my husbands' - I have the larger burden to carry.
Ok, I know I'm going to get flamed here. There are plenty of books (including the Bible) that explain this entire concept better than I can. I'm just going to share my expereince.
When I gave up fighting against my husband (and boy did we fight!), and thought carefully and deliberately about meeting his needs before my own, something unexpected happened. My husband lifted me up, and started putting my needs before his. Suddenly we are both caring for each other and each having our needs met. What's more, we are actually enjoying each other's company.
This was not instant. It took months and it happened slowly. There were a lot of 'discussions', tears and prayers. I didn't even see the change happen myself - it happened so slowly. One day I was at a party with some friends and was talking to a bunch of girls about Awesome, and realised that the story I was telling was a nice one - not a payout. I'm sad to say it actually shocked me and I stopped mid-sentence. One of my firneds could see exactly what I was thinking and actually said, "Something has changed between the two of you. You can actually see it. Its great." That blew me away. That others could see how much we were struggling to that point. That they could also see that we were changing. Praise God, this is answered prayer!
I'm not going to go through all the things we did differently and the things I was challenged to change. There are other posts here that document that journey. I'm just going to encourage you, if you are struggling in your marriage, if you are a die-hard feminist who can't figure out why everything 'they' promised you is not working... then pray through Psalm 139:23-24:
Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Maybe it's not your husband who needs to start the change.