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.

12 comments:

Glenda said...

Yes. And every time I see these words on a wedding bulletin, "Today I marry my friend," I think what my husband has always said, "tomorrow I marry my enemy."

Rebekah said...

:D Another great thing about husbands: they're really funny.

Dakotapam said...

Yes. That. And, the reality is, our husbands are the ones that we show our ugly sides to as well. And yet, they still love us.

ζωὴν περισσὸν said...

So glad I can now say I am starting to experience some of that, thank the Lord... and yet... sigh, the "great multitude of a wife's burdens [that] cannot be lightened by a husband" is sometimes so cumbersome. I may refrain from being a jerk to him but it doesn't pull me from the depths of depression. Sigh. :(

Leah said...

Well said. (:D Glenda)

Melrose said...

Rebekah, one thing I really love about this is the huge huge problem that occurs when a husband and wife think they need to be bff. That is, this whole being compatible nonsense.

example: my husband and I have totally opposite taste in movies. I love scrabble he loves axis and allies. I love running he likes team sports. The list goes on. I'm really not sure how much of anything we have in common on a superficial level. BUT...he loves me. A lot. He gives his life for me. When I look at him, I see Christ.

I love him. He is my Lord. I want to serve him. I give up all, even the remote ;), because he first does for me. And in the end, suddenly there are so many things we love to do together because we simply love being together.

I wonder how much comfort other young newly married women, esp Christian women, would have (because I know I went through a time when all our differences worried me) knowing what you posted. So thanks.

Untamed Shrew said...

I have known many happy marriages, but never a compatible one. --GKC

Gauntlets said...

All hail the conquering hero.

Emily Cook said...

Good stuff.
Having had burdens that HE could not really enter into (but loved me through anyways,) I now see him bearing one that I cannot share... and you remind me that this is OK. Pray, and love him. God help me do that.

Mary P said...

Glenda - :-) I like it.
It's true, I can't think of anyone I've had more intense arguments with then my husband, but through it all we love each other more everyday. Not because we have so much in common on the superficial level, but because we have the few important things in common that really matter. We are both sinners, saved by God's grace, and living in a state of daily repentance and forgiveness. Thank you Lord!

Cathy said...
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Cathy said...
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