I scoffed at this scripture. Marriage is not a place to "stand up for your rights." Marriage is a decision to serve the other, 1 Corinthians 7:4. ¤Bible" I thought if I didn't have the control in my marriage, I was failing as a woman. I thought that I was supposed to 'be the boss' all the time. I was never going to let any man tell me what to do. There was no way I was going to be submissive or subservient to my husband. I didn't care WHAT I was told was right. I was going to do marriage the way I saw fit, not matter what happened to my marriage. I knew marriage was "SUPPOSED" to be forever, but hey that is why 1 of every 2 couples end up divorced, right? Simply because they couldn't be married. And no one is looked down upon for divorcing anymore because it does happen so much. So if my husband couldnt live by my rules and let me be the boss, he didnt need to stick around.
This morning a friend of mine posted that scripture as her status on FB. When I read it, it was like being punched in the gut. It held so much power for me that I immediately sat down to write this. As I have gotten a bit older, I have become wiser. I know my marriage is where I belong, but more importantly, where I truly want to be. Marriage is not easy. It takes a lot of work. It is easy to give up. There were numerous times I wanted to throw my hands in the air and walk away. Some of the times I wanted to do that, I wouldnt have looked back or even questioned my decision. Neither would many of the people I know. Everyone knew just how miserable we were together and just how badly the kids were doing because of our miserable existence.
After a particularly horrid fight between the husband and I, he left to stay with friends for the weekend. He came home the following Monday evening and I could see something different in the way he interacted with me. When he hugged me, he actually squeezed me. When he kissed me hello, he lingered for a second or two longer than he used to. It wasnt just a sweep across my lips, but heartfelt.
I have known this man for half of my life and his behavior was completely out of the norm. I asked him what was going on. He made the decision to be nicer to me, he said. He made the decision to quit drinking. This had always been a source of fights. He was a lousy drunk and he spent tons of money we didnt have to spend, he was always drunk in front of our children. It caused a lot of problems! I had begged him for the longest time to quit drinking, told him to quit, demanded and ordered him to quit drinking. The harder I pushed, the harder he pushed back, maintaining his right to do what he wanted to do. By God, he wasnt about to let any woman tell him what he could or could not do! I demanded so much from him, always insisting he do different than he wanted to do. It wasnt just the drinking, it was everything. It was his desire to be with friends and have some 'guy time' I called him names, he called me names. It was ugly. I thought I was 'standing up for my rights' as a wife. Damn it, spend time with me! Pay attention to me! Take me places! I thought it was my right to make such demands because I am his wife. I stay home every day with our kids. Dont I deserve something???
As I said, one day he decided to make a concentrated effort to be a better husband. I noticed it right away. When I realized he was doing what he could, everything he could, I saw it was time to make a change in my life. The first step for me was letting go of the need to always be in control. I had to stop trying to 'stand up for my rights'. I had to let myself be submissive to my husband. And I had to do it with blind faith as well. I had to have faith that the man I love and trust would do the same for me.
It was not easy. In fact, it was a terrifying process. Like falling backwards with my eyes closed arms folded across my chest, hoping he was going to be there to catch me, or like jumping off the high dive board. My heart jumped to my throat. I was so afraid. I was frightened I was doing the wrong thing. But now, nearly a year later, several months of a deployment behind us, I know I couldnt have made a wiser choice. My marriage is meant to be. But it had no chance of survival when all I had in mind was me. When I put myself first. My husband had to be my priority.
I am happy I made the changes I did. Im happy my husband made the changes he did. When we stopped trying to 'stand up for our rights' and and became submissive to one another, we became so much happier. I love my husband. And I hope he knows it. I appreciate all the effort he has put into our marriage. I know it wasnt easy, because it hasnt been for me. I do know the effort is 100% worth it!