My parents are divorced. I don't think that all of the negative feelings I had at the time were a result of this, but of course they are tied to it in some ways. They didn't get divorced until I was 22 or 23, so I wasn't really as affected by it as I would have been when I was younger. However, they didn't have the ideal relationship when I was growing up, so I think I held on to a lot of that. I knew very much what I didn't want my marriage to be like, but I wasn't sure how to avoid it because it was basically all I knew.
I also just had a lot of negative stuff going on when it came to the whole "submissive" side of being a wife. I'm not sure if you know this about me, but I am NOT a submissive person. No. Nope. No way. I am hardheaded and stubborn and convinced that I am right basically at all times. I very specifically would not let the pastor at our wedding use the verse about wives submitting to their husbands because NO.
Another factor was the family that I was marrying into. My husband's family is not only very traditional but from another culture that puts a lot of value on the more traditional gender roles. The men are very dominant, and the women spend a lot of time in the kitchen, serving everyone and taking care of everyone else before they do anything for themselves. Their culture is really amazing and I see a lot of beauty in it now, but going in it was another "umm NO" thing for me.
Take all of this stuff, mix it all together and you have the recipe for a very not so great wife. I don't think that I've been a bad wife, necessarily, but I definitely haven't done my best. Because I haven't wanted to. Because if I do these things for my husband, if I willingly cook and clean and pick up his dry cleaning and whatnot, what does that say about me as a modern woman? It's not 1955, I am nobody's housewife (ahem, yes you are), I will NOT be bossed around.
I hate to admit it, but this is the attitude that I've had for much of our marriage. But as I learn and grow as a person and he and I learn and grow in our marriage, over time I've begun to see things a bit differently. He doesn't want a submissive wife - I don't even think he would enjoy it if I were. I'm sure he likes that I stand up for what I believe in, that I'm willing to debate and engage in a "healthy discussion" when it comes to my own wants and needs - after all, he married me knowing what I was like. But I don't need to have such a hard attitude about things. He's a damn good husband, I need to appreciate that more and be a more understanding wife.
Of course it's hard. I mean, I hate to cook, and really have to be in the mood to enjoy cleaning. Organizing, sure I'll do that all day long, but cleaning toilets and scrubbing bathtubs? Vom. I hate it. But let's be real. He works nonstop all day every day so I can stay home and raise these sweet babies of ours - shouldn't I handle my wifely duties with a happy heart? Umm yes, I'm pretty sure I should.
Don't get me wrong, I've always been good to spoil him and buy him fun gifts and cook him meals (sometimes) and keep the house clean and value his opinion and all of that. But I also think I've done all of this with the lingering thought somewhere in the back of my mind that I always need to be sure that I never let him forget that I'm his equal. I may be the wife and he may be the husband, but this is a partnership. And it is. We have a really great relationship overall, we communicate super well, and we have a lot of fun together. I honestly consider him my best friend - so why shouldn't I try and take care of him and our home and everything the best that I can?
Does anyone else out there struggle with this? Am I the only "modern" girl who has bristled at the thought of a more traditional marriage? I'm genuinely curious if this is a common theme with my generation, or if all of the aforementioned factors are what caused it. Let me know in the comments!