Changed the Title to Mutual Submission

Was thinking about submission. It really has a bad rap and I think, unfortunately, at the hands of those who are called to demonstrate it’s beauty – marriages.

My husband and I had a one night get away to Jacksonville. We often combine business with a little time away. St. Augustine is our favorite place in Florida. There is something about this old, spooky town. At the last minute, after plans fell through with friends he presented stopping in St. Augustine. I replied with a “most definitely” and so we did.

We decided on a place to eat, he picked Cellar 6, a quaint, cool and candle lit space, hence the name, cellar, because it feels like one. Of course they display on the second floor, viewed from the dining room, a huge cellar filled with wines from all over the world and some quite expensive.

20150306_185010I had the yummiest filet, cooked just right, full of flavor and so tender, not to mention the presentation. We enjoyed dinner in between the text messages from our social 12 year old trying to schedule her plans that included being with a friend home alone for the first time.

I am sure you are thinking by now what this has to do with submission, but I am getting there.

Our families are very close and the girls have known each other since they were babies. But we have some different views on parenting. Not so different that we aren’t like-minded, just see some areas of parenting differently, especially with regard to this stage of the game.

Normally, I will either approach my husband about the plans in question with the feudal assumption that he will say no; or I will just make a decision withholding information in effort to parent my daughter how I see fit.

This time, I felt the liberty, shall we say, to let the chips fall where they may. But this isn’t just because I have become a more “submissive wife.” Herein lies my very point before I tell you the rest of the story. Mutual respect and submission truly should characterize godly marriages. I don’t think when the Bible tells husbands to love their wives and wives respect your husbands that it means the wife isn’t respected or the husband isn’t loved for that matter.

Respect is simple. Yet I’ve struggled with it, and not just in marriage. In the military I recall only respecting a person because of their positional authority. Because they were my “supervisor” I had to respect the position, even when the person was not respectable, and at times I didn’t even do that. But that helped make a distinction for me especially with men in authority over me.

I realize now why the discrepancies in matters of respect – positional verses personal – are so challenging to me. It started with my father and mother – their marriage.

For my marriage, it wasn’t just about one thing that one person did to create mutual love and respect. It was about doing many things towards building mutual love and respect.

There was no formula, like simply “respecting my husband” that brought the freedom and care to our marriage. I feel truly blessed that God has so beautifully redeemed the hurtful, broken places in my life that affected my relationships with many including my husband.

This time instead of feudal thoughts, I felt more trust, more mutual respect when our daughter’s plan was presented. There was a moment of awkward silence that was uncomfortable and I realize there will still be times that I don’t agree or like the answer but that doesn’t mean I don’t respect him. It means that I can freely share my view, opinion and perspective on the matter, be heard, and if we don’t agree then we air on the side of deference until we come to mutual ground.

I don’t feel that by submitting or deferring to him I am any less of a person, in fact, I think often times it takes the bigger person to defer; and I don’t think it will always be me, the wife, that defers. Not only do I recall times that I expressed what I felt should happen, he submitted and it went well but of course there have been times that I submitted when I didn’t agree and it was for the better.

We decided together, after expressing our concerns, to allow her to “hang” with her friend even if that meant them being home alone for a time. We let her know our rules and the consequences of breaking them. And for the record we have been around this mountain and just about every time our eldest son (her older brother) did anything, he was caught, and in that I have reassurance (evil laugh).

After dinner, we learned that my favorite fudge place had changed locations. So in freezing and windy weather for which I was not prepared jacket wise, we quickly walked down St. George street through the nooks and neighborhoods of St. Augustine. We finally arrived at Fudge Buckets, now called something else. All I wanted was their yummy orange and cream fudge that tastes like those orangesicle popsicles and thankfully they had it and I was happy and cold!

The fudge was a sweet reward, literally, for trusting my husband’s heart in this situation. The result was more mutual respect and a happy 12 year old!

 

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Quote of the Day!

IMG00032-20110108-2047

As Xaviar expressed his relationship dilemmas, we will call them, Abram piped in: “that’s why I don’t like girls, they don’t give you space.”

I just had to share in light of my earlier post about boys – this is proof that we have to keep the real little boy alive to raise him up to be a man!

Raising our boys to be men!

I dedicate this post to all the Mommies out there that have questioned where their sweet, gentle boy went when he turned 9? Others might be thinking their son is not gentle, sweet maybe, but not gentle.  The intent isn’t that my son isn’t sweet anymore or that the changes he is experiencing make him less lovable.  I just know at some point one switch turned off and another came on.

As I read, Real Boys by Dr. William Pollack, I am challenged not to write off my sons changes with a: “that’s how boys are, deal with it” response. Dr. Pollack refers to such attitudes as the “Boy Code” or, the way we as society shuts a boys real self down. (Pollack, p. 6) When I think of all the ways that I subconsciously stereotype my sons I am alarmed! I’ve caught myself many times going along with the Boy Code – emasculating my son through unchecked attitudes. Or by stripping him of his right to be a child because I need to teach him how to be a man!

Boys have a way of doing something to the mother heart. I love it when he runs to give me a little peck on the cheek for no reason, you know, “compulsively”. They’re absolutely unashamed to show love when given the safe place to do so. The stereotype that boys are not as affectionate as girls is another example unstated in the Boy Code. My husband is far more affectionate than me. However, I don’t believe it is good to dismiss the differences between girls and boys despite a society that tries to but that’s another post. In The Way of the Wild Heart, by John Eldridge, a book about the roles father’s play in raising in their sons, he states: “A mother plays a crucial role in a boy’s life. From her a boy learns mercy, tenderness and unconditional love.” Surely, all of us women want husbands to be tender and love us unconditionally so why would we not raise our sons accordingly.

Messy bday boyI believe there are clear lines across the board that apply to all children but are often stereotyped by gender. Dr. Pollack gives many examples! To mention one, the epidemic of medicine given to little boys, wrongly diagnosed, with attention deficit disorder (ADD). All under the guise of lacking self-control from sitting in a boring classroom for 7 hours a day (Pollack, p. 36). However when a girl misbehaves in the classroom she is upset (notice emotions here – typically labeled as an expression for females). Or take a moment I recall when Abram compulsively decided he would smash his birthday cupcake in his face. We might say, a girl would never do that! Boys are often labeled (and mostly in a classroom setting) as misbehaving, out of control, and disobedient (and there is something to be said about this but not the point of this post).

I am challenged to break free from the boy code and dive into the code of adventure, spontaneity and freedom. I want to say yes more often to eating lots of sugar, running around barefoot outside, and using the “expensive” tools to build something – you fill in the blank. I am ready to get rid of the fears, rigidity, and shame about how I love and raise my son.

A boy’s heart is never too old to bring back to life. As I watch, Xaviar become an adult, I can trace back through his life where he was challenged by an adult besides me. I am hopeful that he will continue to be challenged, and allow, perhaps any place in his heart where I ignorantly quenched his boyhood, in keeping with the “Boy Code”. I am also so very grateful for those around him that believe in him, and cheer him on.

I leave you with my rendition of a part in the recent movie entitled, Red Tales, maybe you remember, it’s about the first group of black pilots allowed to fly in combat.  Lightning, one of the pilots, is known for his adventurous, rebel spirit, who challenges most orders. He gets into a fight because he was called a racial name by a white pilot and has to report to his commander after spending a day in jail. The commander basically tells him he is better than that! And to address his anger and man up because he knows that Lightening has what it takes to be an excellent pilot. Later in the movie, he would die a very noble death for his bravery. I want to believe in my sons just like the Commander believed in Lightening!

Grammy Nomination

BirdcageWhile I am not a fan of the song, I decided to share the creativity of our little girls. My husband and I were reminded that we can’t protect our children from all the influence of this world but we certainly have the power to equip them to fly when we let them free.

As for the song, it opened the door for a good conversation with my 10 year old, in particular, about lyrics to songs and how our minds are like sponges, they absorb all that we take in! 

Well here it is…I am rolling out the red carpet.

http://youtu.be/_nlkpS7W4BA