**********RELATIONSHIP RELEVANCE********** This post will hopefully challenge people to imagine what it would be like to be married to them, so I would say it is relevant for people in every relationship stage, to honestly assess and evaluate themselves. *******************************************
This is hopefully quite a humorous post inspired by a recent article I did not actually fully read, eventually! The basic premise of the article from the headline and excerpt was that a certain woman grew fed up of remaining unmarried, and in despair at the lack of available partners, she decided to simply go ahead and get married…to herself. I totally fell apart laughing, but there was a touch of poignancy in the article in that apparently she now felt that her existence had been validated, because she was now “married”, even though she obviously was not actually married to anyone else. How sad it is that this woman apparently so strongly felt that getting married was necessary to feel validated as a human being, that she actually thought a totally empty marriage ceremony would accomplish this, a ceremony that left her life materially unchanged in the slightest from what it had been before. This is actually the second time I have read something similar; the first involved, again, a woman, this time in China, possibly about 5 years ago, who, also decided to “marry herself” in a bid to stave off family pressure about getting married! How her action could possibly have been expected to satisfy onlooking family is anyone’s guess though!
So naturally that provided the perfect opportunity for me to talk about being “married to my own self” too – but in a very different sense! (In the sense that these two women “married” themselves I’ve always been married to myself, of course, like everyone else is automatically married to him/herself, but I, along with all but two people in the world, just “don’t need a piece of paper to prove my love” – ha ha ha!)
So yes this post will be about being married to myself, but more in this sense, of something that I have considered and been asking myself about for a long time: What would happen if I married someone who was a male version of myself, with his attributes and characteristics adjusted as necessary for maleness and masculinity? Would it be an absolute delight? Or would it quickly start resembling a nightmare? I guess the real question I am asking is this: What would I be like as a spouse? Would I be as excellent as I tend to take it for granted that I would be? Or would it be my utter shock and horror to be brought face to face with my own failings in very lurid technicolor?
I often think that having a spouse who was very similar to myself would help me to appreciate my own characteristics in a way that I simply cannot appreciate them in my own self. If I were to look on and see things that I do but in someone else’s actions that would quickly bring it home to me how attractive or unattractive these actions truly are. And then I also think that if his character was somehow pegged to mine, and I noticed something quite unappealing, then hopefully all I would need to do would be to pray, to deal with this characteristic in myself trusting also that that would deal with that same characteristic in him.
This following might sound somewhat shocking, but also somewhat predictable for someone who knows me, or who follows this blog. Here is the thing: I have already prayed this prayer, and it is a prayer that I continue to pray: that God would simply give me a male version of myself. However, I sincerely don’t know whether this is an incredibly unwise prayer to pray, not knowing myself as well as God does, not seeing my own attributes as clearly as onlookers do. So I pray it with the proviso that God in His wisdom and mercy would override this if it is very stupid, or somehow act to bring out the most beautiful thing from this situation. It is also prayed with the hope or condition that our characters would remain extremely similar, so that if I see a failing in him, then I will know instantly that I must have the same failing, and I will go to deal with it in myself, and as I deal with it in myself, then it will also disappear from him, conversely if he sees a failing in me, then he would instantly know that he also struggles with the same thing, and go to deal with it in prayer. As I’m writing this, it occurs to me that he and I might notice different things and deal with them differently too!
What if something is a strength in a man and a weakness in a woman, or vice-versa? I guess this is the point of having attributes that are adjusted for masculinity/femininity. You know what? I am very much a feminist, or at least a “Tosinist”, but I definitely do not think that men and women are “the same”, nor should they be. I’ve recently noticed something that makes me shudder a bit in feminist discourse (by which I mean general online articles!) which has seemed to subtly creep in in recent years and months. That is, the notion that “equality” means that men and women are “the same” and should be talked about as if they are actually “the same” and treated as if they are exactly “the same”. I don’t think that this is true at all. God made men and women different. Much of the difference is artificial conditioning to be fair, however, even apart from physical differences, there are some genuine God-given psychological differences. For instance, everyone knows that I am a crybaby, and that is definitely not conditioning! I look forward to discovering more of these differences in marriage, and yes enjoying them too, beyond those physical aspects of his masculinity like his hands, and those strong hugs! When I say I am a “feminist”, I mean that “even” as a woman I am a full human being with full human dignity and worth, and I do not want my human dignity or my potential to be trampled down for the sake of anyone else’s ego or ignorance. This does not in any way require me to be a man or to aspire to be a man. However it might involve correcting society about what is truly legitimately masculine or feminine.
In the Bible, it does tend to be the case that character is largely gender-neutral. If certain character attributes are encouraged for men, then they are similarly encouraged for women. Equally (ha ha!) if a trait is discouraged for a man then it is “equally” discouraged for a woman. Therefore integrity is promoted for men, and equally too for women. The same thing goes too for holiness, purity, honesty, love, forgiveness, industry. Conversely, lying is rejected for men and for women, along with self-centredness, injustice, disobedience, anti-social behaviour. Ultimately as Christians we are to strive after the same characteristics, which are the characteristics of God Himself. It’s just that these same characteristics might have different expressions based on our roles within society and within the family.
But anyway, to return to the main point of the article!
I honestly think that I would love to be married to a male version of myself, as long as the condition was that our characters remained identical to one another, so that if I noticed a fault in him, all I would have to do would be to pray for myself. As I say, I honestly don’t know whether this is the most stupid prayer I could possibly pray. However I think of certain traits in myself. I wish that I had someone whose commitment to Christ was genuinely similar to mine. I wish I had someone whose commitment to prayer was the same as mine, even considering those times when I can be half-hearted. I wish I had someone whose dreams in life were similar to mine, and who also had that deep Huggie-Wuggie yearning, who also existed on that same emotional wavelength as I do. Someone who dreamed of an amazing marriage as much as I do, someone who was as determined to invest heavily into his marital success as I am.
Someone who was as sincere as I am. Someone whose sense of humour was similar to my own, who spoke the same “love languages”. Even at those times when we annoy one another, then at least I guess we would hopefully be able to understand one another, or at least recognise our own selves and be more sympathetic or patient to one another because of that. I guess if our strengths are compatible then our weaknesses might also be compounded. I can just imagine two strong personalities glaring at one another, each refusing to budge. That said, if you are reading this, Mr Potential Huggie-Wuggie then please know that yes I am a strong-willed person, but I both want and need you to be even stronger-willed than I am (if that is truly possible – ha ha ha!) If I am stubborn (and I am) then I would both want and need you to be even more stubborn – sorry, determined than I am – but humble! Because being stubborn and not humble is just stupid, no?! You know what? I think I would like this. I think I would like this a lot. I hope that you might like it too. (Although part of me fears that that might be the inevitable “masculinisation” of that characteristic, and almost any characteristic – a big helping of completely unnecessary male ego. However, ahem, when talking about ego, it is probably even more possible that this would simply be an intensified reflection of myself…not good!) Hmm, now I think about it, I am just thinking now that if I were to ask for a male version of myself, then that might simply mean that in the same way that men are generally bigger and stronger than women in everything then he might simply be an intensified version of me in everything; all my strengths, as well as all my failings. All the same Lord, I am still tentatively asking for this, in the hope and trust that You Lord would not fully abandon me to the possible folly of this self-inflicted request…
And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.
PHOTO CREDITS Photo of Swan by from Pixabay