This is the second part to this post. The first is available here.
I do not think that there is anything wrong with this in the slightest. However, I know that that is not me. I will not demonstrate even the slightest patience with this kind of attitude. If you want a glass of water, then get it yourself, as I currently do, and as I plan always to do. Obviously if I am already in the process of making a cup of hot chocolate then to make an extra one for him would be fine. However to be summoned from where you are, or from an existing task to be casually sent on an errand that he is perfectly capable of doing himself – it is not like he is busy doing something else – for something that he specifically needs – seriously I cannot do that and I will not do that. If this is the kind of husband that you will be, then please trust me, I would be the worst wife you could possibly imagine.
This is the kind of husband for whom I would be excellent – a husband who is happy to think of a wife not as a personal assistant, but rather more like a business partner. It is not necessarily true that we will actually be in business together, but the point is that the man in question will be ready to see his wife as an autonomous agent, and his marriage as a true partnership, of two equal individuals – if that is not too controversial for a Christian blog. For this kind of husband, who is happy to see his wife as a full person in her own right, then I hope it is true to say that I will be… a very, very good wife indeed. To the extent that I aspire to be a outstanding person, striving after God as hard as He will empower me to do, then to that extent I would hope to be an outstanding wife, and close association with me will mean close association with everything that I am and that God makes me. It works both ways of course, because this is what I too am looking for in my husband. And this would be more than just an association of course, it would be a marriage, with emotional and physical intimacy, living together in the same place.
Here’s the thing: I think that many men might think they are looking for a partnership, they might declare this, they might fully believe it, where in practice they would expect to be able to boss their wives around, as per the water example, or they might just spontaneously ask their wives to go and fix them a sandwich, for instance while once again both watching TV. I am struggling here to articulate the difference, but this is not actually an issue of leadership, nor is it an issue of submission. Rather it is an issue of how you and your wife see yourselves, and one another. If you would treat your wife this way, it is almost as if you see her as an employee, with her time available for you to direct, and her schedule available for you to shift around at your convenience. I am not an employee, because I am already self-employed, both literally and metaphorically. I am the one responsible for arranging my own schedule. This is the way that I see myself as a woman, and getting married is not going to change that. When you marry me, this is what you marry – someone who is intrinsically autonomous and self-directed. I am not the kind of person who needs to go around begging people to give me a job – rather I am more likely to just get up and create a job for myself. If you see marriage differently then it would be better for you to marry a woman whose vision is aligned with yours.
This is the kind of issue that I want to write about very explicitly, as I do not want to find myself in a position of having to argue about this in marriage. I am saying this loud and clear so that the wrong kind of would-be husband would know that I can never be the right wife for him. What I would also hate is the idea of a man marrying me, then trying to “reconfigure” or “reprogram” me, when I have already made it abundantly and unmistakably clear that this is the kind of person I am.
If this is the kind of husband that you are going to be, then please please don’t even look in my direction, unless you somehow look forward to the prospect of several glasses of water being “accidentally” spilled in your lap. “Whoops! Butter-fingers!”
But Tosin, he’s had a long day (week, month, year) at work and he’s tired! What, because I don’t work?! I am not saying that I am going to be inconsiderate or graceless to my husband. However I definitely don’t like the idea of someone asserting his power over me in this way: in the Bible (New Testament), the phrase for it is “lording it over” someone. Maybe there will be times when he acts like this, and I will have to respond sweetly, even though we can both see through his behaviour, as there might be times when I too take liberties. However, I am not keen on the idea of this being habitual.
I guess I have to stop being scared of negative possibilities in marriage, and trust that God will give me a man who will be truly excellent. There are so many things to be excited about in the prospect of merging two lives which are already productive and successful, by God’s grace. This thing could be beautiful for us both – and by God’s grace it will be!
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,
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