More about the therapeutic experience of this weekend—(thought about after reading many of Rachel Held Evans thoughts on marriage, please go to her blog and check her out. She has thoroughly researched topics and has valuable insights and opinions.)
Frank is extremely task oriented. I had apparently suppressed the anxiety of feeling like a burden to him and that a kid would add to that even more. I’m an opinionated extrovert. At times this doesn’t resonate with people, especially the fundamental evangelical crowd. I sometimes feel this group wants me to sit in a docile fashion, quiet but ready to heed to my husband’s beckoning. These folks might have been abashed if they overheard our conversations while camping. They didn’t overhear, but since I’m sending it into the blogosphere they might be shocked now.
I told Frank that we had to communicate. He said he could take a vow of silence. I asked him if he was a monk. Nope. Right answer. Then I said since he chose to not be one and rather chose to be married it meant he chose the path of communication. Yes, I said something that overt to my “leader”. Frank doesn’t speak often and lets me do what I want 90% of the time. That means when he does speak I listen more keenly. I am not someone to be controlled by my husband. Fundamentalist Christians can call me a feminist. The world will say I’m not independent enough. We work out our marriage how it works for us, not by the criticisms of others unless it is truly constructive (thanks female best friend). I am his companion. I think this is why we’ve taken to the co-leadership organization of our marriage rather than the patriarchal format seen and stressed in most evangelical circles.
Frank and I have excellent communication and I’ve frequently asked him if he feels I’m a nagging wife. He assures me I’m not. I’ve been told that I don’t respect Frank’s authority. First, does “head of household” mean he gets to lord over me? I sure hope not. Frank has also told me I respect him. Yet he also tells me when he feels I’m slighting him. Forgive me if I’m hesitant to listen to individuals with different marriage experiences. I’d rather listen to strong, independent wives who’ve been committed to loving and respecting their husbands for years, who emphasized communication and let the roller coaster of life teach them about companionship and submission. (Submission being mutual not a hierarchical tier of leadership though.) Communication has never been one of our big failures. Yes we have areas we need to work on in it, but we are pretty open with each other.
Frank doesn’t speak often. I comment on this a lot. When he does speak and open up about his feelings though, we are strong in this area. He was honest that he’s pretty much done with the sorrow over the miscarriage. I was honest that I have, for the most part, accepted it too, but there are things that spark remembrance and heartache. He and I have been honest about the impact this has had on our sexual endeavors and bedroom ambiance. We also share with each other when we are tempted to lust. I don’t know many other couples who openly state such things. I think being this open means that we have nothing to hide. We are jealous for our marriage, we put it as a priority, second only to Christ. Note though that I didn’t say we were jealous of but jealous for. Yes, prepositions and definitions are important (perhaps more on that rant later). We completely trust each other. We ask when the other individual is feeling tempted by sin. We don’t sweep it under the rug or talk about it with our friends. We might get advice from friends and vent, but we always share what we’ve told a friend with each other. There isn’t something we tell another that we haven’t already said or are going to discuss at home.
I understand that my marriage isn’t perfect. This miscarriage has shown us areas to focus on. This struggle is just another way God is using marriage to make us holy. I’m glad that Frank agrees it should be done as a partnership (thanks female best friend for speaking about partnership at our wedding), not a resentful tier where he’s the only one who is able to express opinions. If that were so, we might have silence (he wouldn’t ever speak), but our hearts and minds would be a maze of frustration and hidden vices.
In fact, he said the most endearing thing the other day, probably one of the most precious statements in our marriage to date (he wanted traditional wedding vows). (He isn’t one to frequently express lovey-dovey romantic feelings.) He said, “You get me to speak. You are the only one I talk to. You are my best friend.” If we didn’t argue this weekend, me initiating it as I usually do because I need to talk things out rather than bury and forget them, we might not have received the healing that has embalmed our grieving, angry hearts. My extroverted opinions, it seems, help to draw out the thoughts of my taciturn spouse rather than cause him to want to live on the roof with impending hailstorms.