In yesterday’s post I explained that I am intending to follow the Respect Dare and that I want to become more respectful of my husband and learn to follow his leadership.
I had major reservations about this—about doing the dare and about writing about it. There are certain views that, once expressed, paint a person as a certain “brand” of Christian. Anything that hints at headship/submission is one of them. I am not any brand of Christian. I am me. I often disagree with others on what certain things in the Bible mean. In some churches, I have felt like I’m practically a heathen. In other churches, I feel very conservative in my views. My Christian faith has always been a very personal thing to me. I try to demonstrate my faith, even though I don’t talk about it a whole lot. I don’t have a theological background and have an immense dislike for debating anything. For me, just stating on a blog that I think something is Biblical felt very, very risky. It was uncomfortable.
So I want to explain something. This will relieve some of my readers and will turn others away. It is important for me to be honest here. I don’t want to present myself as something I’m not. I’m just me, as flawed as anyone but wanting to become a better version of myself.
My husband and I have always striven to have an egalitarian marriage. One of the things he valued most about me before we married was that I could be as strong-willed as he is and that I can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with him as we face our life together. The problem isn’t that we have an egalitarian marriage; rather, the problem is that I have been so controlling and insisting on leadership that we haven’t yet had the egalitarian marriage we wanted.
I have some growing to do. My intent with the Respect Dare is to learn to become more respectful—which is what I believe is Biblical. I have always been very disrespectful toward my husband, and that is the real thing I want to change. I want to create a space in which my husband can grow as a man and know that I value and respect him as a man. I want to be more comfortable in letting things go that don’t truly matter to me and save my own assertiveness and leadership for when I think it matters. I tend to be very controlling, and I want to get more comfortable with not having to be in charge of everything. You know that expression “Let go, and let God”? I don’t do that so well. As I learn to let go of some things with my husband, I hope I will be learning how to let go of some things with God as well.
To me, the Respect Dare is about respect, not submission. My challenge is that I can’t let myself follow his leadership at any time. I can learn to follow a leader without always having to be the follower. Right now, I am so stubborn and controlling that I can’t let go, ever, even when I know I’m wrong. I always want to be in charge—in my marriage, in my family, at work, everywhere. In learning to respect my husband, I will learn to respect others more as well. My husband doesn’t want us to aim for a headship/submission style for our marriage any more than I do. It just isn’t us. It isn’t what we promised to each other in front of God.
I have great admiration for marriages where this works. I am amazed, even though I don’t understand what I am seeing in those marriages. I always used to think of women in headship/submissive marriages as doormats. As I have gotten to know some of these women, I have had my stereotypes tipped upside down. Some of the strongest and most courageous women I know consider themselves submissive to their husbands’ headship. The Respect Dare will also help me better understand these Christian sisters in marriages that are different from mine.
As women and as wives, we have many challenges and frustrations in common with each other. As we share our journeys, we will learn from each other about the many different ways marriage can look. We will learn about the different ways respect can look. Although my marriage may not look like anyone else’s, I expect that it will look better on the other side of the dare than it does now. And that, my friends, is what growth is.
I will always be who I am. I want to be a kinder and more respectful version of me. My husband deserves my best from me, and this will help. It will help us grow, together, spiritually, and that is an area that has been stagnant for some time.
As I said, this clarification will disappoint some readers and relieve others—but if you had any question about where I’m heading, I hope your questions are answered. My marriage will grow, and I will share my struggles and thinking with you along the way, just as I’ve been doing all along here. Here’s a taste of what’s to come: I told my husband that I will be doing the Respect Dare study. He asked me what I was going to be actually doing as part of it (such as fasting, praying, activities that would require his participation etc.). I snapped, “How am I supposed to know that until I start reading the book?” Um, oops. I was neither feeling nor demonstrating respect in that response. This dare has no idea what it’s in for with me, but I expect the journey to be interesting.
Blessings to you all.
Image courtesy of Iamnee / FreeDigitalPhotos.net