The thing about living life as a blogger and writer is that I read a lot of articles and books.
Which, being a lifelong lover of the written word, is good for me.
But it also causes me to think a lot. And maybe that’s not such a good thing. Or maybe that’s a great thing.
Either way, something has been troubling me lately.
Since I started covering love and relationships topics here at Babble, I read a lot about love, relationships, and marriage elsewhere, and it seems like in a lot of circles, especially those of the Christian women variety, there is a lot of talk about how to be a good wife and how to have a good and stable marriage.
Which, of course, are all good things.
It’s just that parts of how the image of a good wife is presented sometimes rubs me the wrong way. It seems like, in many ways, we are looking at the 1950s image of marriage with the housewife and the pearls. There’s so much talk about wives making a marriage work and how we can better love our husbands and spice up our relationships, but does the health of my marriage rest solely on my shoulders? Am I to keep track of how our marriage is doing, carefully locking away the transgressions, hurts, and joys for safe-keeping, only bringing them out as I see fit?
It seems to me like marriage is portrayed as a very unequal balance of weight for women sometimes; with the wife bearing the brunt of the responsibilities and the share of the work of making that marriage a “good” one. I mean, after all, how many blogs do you see written by men on “7 Ways to Improve Your Marriage” or clubs dedicated to crafting happy wives? (Aside from our own Jackie B., of course.)
One could argue that it’s simply the nature of women; we can’t help but constantly be in check with our emotions and the fine-tuning of what is arguably the most important relationship in our lives. It’s built in that we want to make our husbands happy and “serve,” and all that good stuff.
But on the other hand, I can’t help but wonder if a little bit of is manufactured. Where did our image of what makes a marriage a “good” one come from? I know lots of husband and wives who all have very different relationships — some who are very physically affectionate, some who rarely hold hands in public, some who work and play together, some who live in separate worlds. In some marriages, the woman leads; in others, it is the man.
And who am I to say if those marriages are “good” or not? Is there a ruler I can hold up or a checklist I can check off of the wife’s attributes in making that marriage godly and good? And if that marriage doesn’t measure up, is the wife to blame?
I don’t know, maybe I’m thinking too much about this, but I have to say that I don’t think the health and well-being of my marriage rests solely on my shoulders. I’m not in this relationship solely to hold my husband up and add my relationship with him to my list of daily to-do’s.
Instead, I like to think that we are supporting each other. That on any given day, the balance might tip a little; perhaps I need some extra emotional attention one day, and maybe he needs my loving cheerleader capabilities the next. Giving a little, getting a little, and back and forth in the mad dance of marriage.
So, no, I don’t think I am my marriage’s caretaker, or even my husband’s caretaker.
I think that we are in this marriage to take care of each other.
Image via j&j brusie photography
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