Difficulties lay ahead in our pursuit of a more Biblically structured marriage.
Yesterday was Christmas Eve, and on the drive to my mother’s house, I became acutely aware of how difficult our effort to modify our marriage is going to be. Our current communication patterns do not support the structure of balanced male leadership. Within 48 hours, I was already entertaining ideas that this is hopeless.
I shouldn’t be surprised. After twenty years, we have become creatures of habit. Earlier attempts at smaller changes in our marriage style have failed because we are so ingrained in the way we act and respond to each other.
There is interest in this on both sides, but we have a long way to go before we know what we expect and therefore what is expected of us. This will have to be worked out between us, because we are too much our own people to fit into someone’s model of what submission should be. It will be a long time before I should even allow myself to expect that my wife’s attitude toward me feels anything like my definition of submission, and, by that point, I expect our conversations will have changed that definition.
What I realize, though, is that we both want power and a freedom from responsibility. We want to lead when we feel like it and submit when it’s more convenient (or easier). That is what killed our earlier efforts. At the time, especially during that awful period when we read the Love Languages book, I thought the problem was that I alone was expected to change. I couldn’t see the effort on her part, and it made the attempt a bitter experience. I don’t think that is a fair characterization, it is simply how I felt at the time. It is quite possible that she was unable to see my efforts as well. We need to trust the we are both making good-faith efforts in moving toward our goal, even if we cannot see that effort ourselves.
I have realized something of what I need, however. There are hard changes and there are fun changes, and much that falls between them. We cannot focus only on the hard changes that we want the other to make. It will be the fun and feel-good changes that make the hard changes more attainable. I am ashamed to admit that I was only seeing this truth from my perspective until this moment. Now I see that it is likely the same for my wife. I need to know what changes are the fun, feel-good changes for her. I will also admit my fear that her feel-good changes will be my hard ones, and vice versa. If that’s true, then I will have to learn to make the hard steps without the support to make it easier. Instead, I will have to hold it in faith that those changes will support her efforts, and that will eventually circle back. The support I need will then come, in the end.
Please pray for God’s guidance for me in this. I need patience and a loving attitude toward my wife. Also, I need to surrender my concepts (and fantasies) about what submission means. This needs to follow His model and not the dictates of my wicked heart.
Merry Christmas. The family will be up soon.