Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Soft place to land

I got to talking with one of the bridesmaids recently, about something that came up during Pete's and my pre-marital counseling; one of the questions we were asked was, "What do you consider the husband's role in a marriage relationship? What do you consider the wife's role?" Do you want to get some tea whilst we explore that?

There are people who would say something like, "There aren't really any differences, it works exactly the same way as it does in a gay relationship, it's just that one happens to be a man and the other happens to be a woman."

Yet, if a person believes that men and women are even a little bit different on the inside, then the above can't hold true. That's not to say anything against gay relationships, just that they are at least a little bit different from straight ones, because the people are different.

When I expressed that I thought the wife's role is to provide "a soft place to land" for her husband, it was met with some confusion. What I mean by that is things like, when he's been out at work, when he's tired, busy and stressed, a wife should be someone who will run her husband a bath and rub his feet, not berate him for all the things he hasn't done or try to tear him in two directions by wanting other things from him when he's already trying his best. She's a warm, inviting smile that makes him happy to come home at the end of the day, and not want to head off down the pub.

Now, I run with the feminist crowd, and I would like to point out that yes, women have brains in their heads and deserve to be treated with respect and equality, without risk of sexual assault and should be able to be in control of their own lives, bodies and families with reference only to relevant people such as her immediate family and medical practitioner, not her employer or some dudebro who thinks she should do what he says.

I would also like to point out that no, men are not "entitled" to have baths run for them and so forth, and that yes, I can see how doing that sort of thing regularly might make him feel more entitled in the outside world, but that isn't really the point. The point is kindness.

In this culture, at least, we have the choice to get married or not, and we do so of our own free will. But in making that choice, the biggest choice we'll ever make in our lives, why wouldn't we want to make the little sacrifices that mean we don't end up regretting that choice? More to the point, why wouldn't we want to be kind to the person we love most in the world?

Kindness is a two-way street, of course, but I am not responsible for the way my neighbour behaves, even if that neighbour is my husband; I am only responsible for me. I can only change me. And I'm answerable to a higher authority than the feminist crowd. I'm answerable to Christ.