19 December 2011
Above and beyond
I needed a baby so I could realize how much I needed a husband. A husband is not a BFF. A husband is the man who takes care of you when you can't take care of yourself.
I'm not saying a spouse isn't or can't be a friend, just that the "husband as BFF" motif so prevalent in contemporary conjugal piety (especially at weddings in which the couple writes the "vows") is really dumb. This has everything to do with a motif that's been dropped from contemporary conjugal piety: "husband as lord." This necessarily leads to people marrying their BFFs whether or not the BFF is of the other sex.
But anyway, although my husband is my friend, he is also more and less than that. He is my lord, and as such a great part of him is above me and therefore unknowable to me. And I will venture to assert that as his lady, I am and always will be a mystery to him. There is a great part of me that is beyond him and therefore unknowable to him. One of the greatest services husbands and wives do each other is NOT trying or pretending to share absolutely everything. Not every cross borne by a husband can be shared by a wife, as surely as a great multitude of a wife's burdens cannot be lightened by a husband. To act or expect otherwise is delusional and unfair.
Knowing this and valuing it frees us from needing to be jerks about it. I find that when I get to spend time with my female friends (which means one of us herding crawlers out of the kitchen while the other cooks), sharing with each other the burdens beyond our husbands, we end up thanking God together that he put us under the care of dudes so much better than we are.