Anniversaries are a good time to think about the past, the stories that got you to where you are today. We celebrated our wedding anniversary recently. I don't write about marriage often. It is part of a deal I made with my rather private husband many, many years ago, that I wouldn't use our stories in a talk or on the blog while we were still in the midst of whatever growing opportunity we might be facing. Once we are on the other side of the challenge, and if someone could benefit from what we have learned, then he is okay with me sharing with the world. But this blog is often what is on my mind in the moment and by the time we are on the other side of this or that fight, I don't really think about writing about because it is processed in private with him.
I have to admit that it is actually a good rule.
But it does mean that I don't really write about marriage because this blog is where I process what I am learning, struggling with, or just thinking about at that moment.
With our recent anniversary though I have been thinking about marriage, mine in particular, but also marriage as a whole. And I'm not the only one. I keep reading blog posts and seeing church's posting about upcoming marriage seminars. It seems that the world cannot discuss gender roles without making a declaration about what marriage should be.
What I have been hearing a lot lately is that men need respect from their wives and women need love from their husbands.
And all I can think is how are these separate? How can one love their spouse if they do not respect them and how can you love someone if you don't respect them?
I am beginning to wonder if part of our marriage problems are because we are separating these two words and then gender assigning them? And not just these words, but many others as well. He's visual, she's emotional. He's a provider, she needs protection. She has 10,000 words, he needs downtime. he needs physical connection, she emotional. He... She...
Whatever happened to us.
I thought that was the point. Two becoming one.
We need respect.
We need to be heard.
We need to be protected.
We need to provide and give to others.
We need patience and mercy.
We need love.
One of the ways I know my husband loves me is because he respects me. He respects my ideas, my feelings, my work. I know what I bring to the table has value to him because he treats my contributions, whatever they are, with respect. Because he loves me, he respects my dreams, my plans, my purpose.
After 17 years of marriage, I am ever more thankful that I married the man I did.