Sunday, August 21, 2011

Created for Wondrous Purposes

Sometimes, the strangest things make me think of these long in depth thoughts. Today was no different. Today, the facebook status of someone I barely know made me think about some pretty important things. More specifically, the role of a wife...

So, I'm far from perfect. I often do argue and quarrel with my husband. Generally we find this happens when I get really tired and overworked, or haven't seen him for some good quality bonding time very often in that past week. I try to keep my frustration under control, but often it leaks through. It'll usually turn up with my snapping about something that really doesn't bother me that much. For instance, him leaving a plate on the coffee table from his late night, just got home from work and wanting to eat something before bedtime snack. Usually, this doesn't bug me. I pick it up, wash it. No big deal. Other times, and you can usually tell when I've been stressed out, I get upset. I'll leave it on the table and the next time I see him, snap at him saying something like "put your dish in the sink." It's not that I mind the dish being left there. It's that I feel like we haven't communicated or had any time for just us to sit and talk and maybe laugh a little. One of the first things I discovered about my husband while we were dating is that he is extremely silly and goofy, and it was one of the first things I love about him. He makes me smile and realize how often I get strung out about things that don't really matter. As my cousin George said to me the other day, my husband and I are complete opposites, but we are one of the happiest couples he knows. I personally believe it's our differences that make us so compatible. Sure, we have our disagreements, but where I'm passionate and headstrong, he is calm and introspective. Where I want to leap into action, he is the one to rein me in, and get me to stop and think about everything before I do it.

I often strive to be a better wife, more loving, more kind. A better housekeeper. Yet, there's usually unfolded/unhung laundry in the dryer, a mess of what I was trying to fold all over the dining room table (our apartment has the washer and dryer in a closet in the dining area), a few food crumbs on the counter because I got distracted and never got around to cleaning them up. I pray everyday asking for God to make me better at this housekeeping thing, and being a better wife for my husband, whether it be staying up late to see him when he comes home from a night shift or simply being more diligent about keeping home a calm and peaceful environment for him.

As part of both my effort to grow closer to God, I have been reading Proverbs almost everyday. Often I do forget to read the chapter for the day, but if that happens I just skip over it. Why? Well for one, I've read the book. Two, I find that when I read too much in one day, I often lose sight of what I have read because there is just TOO much knowledge and wisdom in ONE chapter, let alone two! I think it was said well in the movie Where the Heart Is when Stockard Channing's character (Sister Husband) met Natalie Portman's (Novalee Nation). Sister Husband asks Novalee if she reads the Bible. Novalee looks a bit embarassed and answers "not as much as I should." Sister then smiles and says "good. I think that's good. People read too much of it they just get confused. That's why I only hand out one chapter at a time. That way, people can deal with their confusion as it come." While I DO believe that reading the Bible is a good thing, I also feel that when you read to much in one sitting, it can kind of get jumbled together. Especially when reading a book like Proverbs of Ecclesiastes. At least for me they do.

So, lately, a lot of the stuff I have read in my daily readings have been the typical, poor v rich, working hard and honest is better than being rich through ill-gotten gains etc. Yet, without fail, I keep finding verses that make me think about what it means to be a Godly wife. Well, more specifically, I see the passages and refer to how a Godly wife should NOT act. For instance, today I read Proverbs 21:9 where it says

It is better to live in a corner of the housetop, than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife
Other translations imply a mansion like dwelling with the same quarreling wife. The same sentiment is expressed in Prverbs 21:19
It is better to live in a desert land than with a quarrelsome and fretful woman

The passages in Proverbs always seem to be directed more towards men than women, but I find that certain passages like these are just as important, if not more, for us. These passages show us how NOT to behave. They show us a husband's response to our nagging and quarreling and fretting over EVERYTHING that we have NO control over.

I often go back to Genesis, in which woman is created so that Adam would not be alone. Women were created to be helpful partners. The phrase most often used being help mate or helpmeet. According to Christian Feminism, a blog I found while searching for information on this topic, the word used in the Hebrew is ezer which has a different connotation than the English translations of helper. It implies a deeper intimacy. Another blog I found, Empowering LDS Women , talks about the idea of Eve not as a subservient being, but rather as an equal.

I wrote previously about Eve being created to help Adam, and be there for him. For the two halves of a whole to come together. Yet, lately, I have been realizing something. It's not just about two halves creating a whole, but also that both those halves have to show unconditional love to one another. We have to love and show that love no matter what. Just like a parent loves us - just like God loves us - we have to love our spouse. We have to forgive them when they do things we don't like. If we constantly berate, nag, and quarrel, they are going to believe that no matter what they do, it will never be enough. We have to stop and think. If I constantly bug my husband, and complain and whine about a dish that he leaves on the coffee table, it won't change. Maybe if I were to kindly ask him to not do it, and thank him when I notice he HAS cleaned up, he will realize it is important to me. But if all he hears from me, is how he can't do anything right, then he isn't going to try to ever do anything right. He is going to be moody, withdrawn, and retreat. Just as proverbs says will be better for him (and that's even if he doesn't believe in following the Bible). But if I am a true helpful partner in our relationship, I would show him unconditional love and support.

God created the first woman because Adam being alone was not a good idea. He realized that Adam needed a loving partner in his life. That is why we are in our husbands lives. To be that loving partner - showing him unconditional love and support. In return for this, we get the security of knowing we are also loved and being well taken cared for. It's not always a perfect system because we are not perfect people. We all make mistakes. I think that is the biggest part of the whole issue. We as woman shouldn't expect our husbands to be these loving and caring men, if we are not loving and caring. No one is perfect, but if we behave the way the women describes in the Bible verses I quoted we risk alienating our husbands. I think we also run the risk of alienating them if we blurt to everyone we know on facebook, or on twitter about how our husband is behaving poorly (which is what the status that made me think about all this was doing). If I expect something of my husband, I should expect the same of myself. If I expect him to love me despite my faults, then I should love him in spite of all his faults. After all, isn't that what the Golden Rule teaches us?

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