Thursday, May 5, 2011

Mama Bean loves being married to Papa Bean

Four years ago today, Papa Bean and I promised to face life together forever. I was laughing with him last night that I'd thought we would wait about three years before having children, and here we are with two after only four years. So much for that plan! Though, in the bigger picture, we've been together for ten years, and to me, married in spirit for about nine of those. So, I'm not worried about our "rush" to have babies, lol.

A few months ago, I mused aloud that I have turned out to be a much more submissive wife than I expected to be. Papa Bean agreed. I know submission and obedience are sort of bad words in this day and age, or at least I used to feel that way, and yet here I am. I don't really know how to unpack what I mean by submissive - this is an anniversary post, it's supposed to be light and fluffy and loving. It was just a telling moment in our marriage (that happened in the middle of an innocuously normal day, as so many of those telling moments of life happen) and I want to bookmark it, here on the world wide web. So, there it is. Four years into this, and I have surprised myself by how easily I fall into a traditional, wifely sort of role. Weird.

Then I read this article by a Catholic momblogger I respect, even when I don't agree with or understand her point of view, being a 'cradle Protestant.' Here's the take-home I took home:
When I am pregnant, I know my husband will care for me. When I’m tired, he will help. When someone insults me, he will defend me. When I spend time caring for babies and the house, I’ll be met with gratitude, not mocked and belittled. I’m no shrinking violet, but sometimes I just plain need him—and he needs to be needed.

Women walk a fine line: it’s tempting to surrender to lazy ninnihood—to confuse femininity with feebleness, and to let our minds and our wills atrophy. And so women lash back against this feebleness, squashing any signs of softness under their executive high-heeled maternity shoes. Let’s be clear—feminism brought many necessary goods to the world, and I don’t want to go back to the fifties. But neither do I want to pretend that I can do it all by myself.

Here’s my advice for a woman looking for that middle road between harsh feminism and stunted daughterhood: be strong, be smart, take responsibility for yourself—and never, never bind your life to a man who doesn’t want to care for you.

-Simcha Fisher, "Someone to Watch Over Me"

I don't agree with every molecule of this article, but I agree with its spirit. It is easy to obey a man I know, with absolutely every molecule of my being, has my best interest, has our best interests, and the best interests of my children, who mean everything to me, at the core of every beat of his heart. And I've realized how easy he makes that for me since watching him become a father. (That post, by the way, remains one of the most read posts of this blog.)

The first few years of our marriage, I was still keeping a lot of my daily life independent from my marriage, from my home-building. After children, I don't have the time or resources or desire to do that any longer. We have to depend on each other to keep this ship together - for each other, and for our family. I can't afford to keep myself aloof from needing him. My need bleeds out of every exhausted, frustrated day that I'm left feeling incompetent, not enough, and unbeautiful - and I am strengthened every time he meets that need. With quiet listening, or an I love you, or just a hug in his big, strong arms.

I'm sorry if this sounds sickeningly unfeminist. I'm sorry if I've lost your respect or offended. I don't know how to explain how this has happened in a way that I feel still upholds my Womyn-ness and independence and empowerment - it just has, it just does, I just am. And today, I celebrate the marriage and the man, and the faith in our God, that has allowed it to be so. Love you, honey...


  1. Not offended, in fact you made me tear up a bit.

    Happy anniversary you guys. <3

  2. I have similar thoughts on independence/submissive topics, but have a hard time articulating them even to myself... much less to the world that tends to freak out on all things related to this. Thanks for the articulate post.
    Happy Anniversary!

  3. This is absolutely beautiful. I love hearing of women surrendering to their submissive nature and learning to love being a woman instead of worrying that they need to be upholding some sort of feminist image. Sometimes we cannot be superwoman and truly need a man to protect and lead us.