When I was 16 I had dreams of careers, other than that of wife and mother. I thought of law school or usurping Barbara Walter’s journalistic throne. But now over 25 years and six kids later I am full-time wife and mother. I don’t cringe at the title and don’t want to work outside the home. Part laziness, part lack of skills and mostly because I have six kids.
Before I got married, my mom offered this simple advice, “Do you want to be happy or do you want to be right?” My selfish 23 year old self said, “Both.” It did not take long to understand what she meant. Being right all the time did not exactly make for happy conversations with my husband. Being right all the time did not allow for compromise or equality. (Though it did allow us to kiss and make-up.)
The word "equal" in the Proclamation does not mean equal as the world sees equal. Does equal mean my hubby makes the same amount of meals as I do (which would not be hard since I cook so little) or change as many diapers, drive as many carpools? Does equal mean he rubs my feet as often as I rub his? I don’t think so, though a foot rub every once in a while would be nice.
Trying to have a traditional home and feel like “equal” partners is not always easy. Some days I feel my husband is the lucky one to leave the house and work all day. Have I said that out loud? Yes, maybe. Have there been days he has come home to a messy home, no dinner and a cranky wife? Yes. Have I nagged him to help more. Yes. Does any of this help the of our marriage? No.
The “feminist” movement has not served relationships well. Telling women they can do anything a man can do and that it is beneath them to serve their man is a disservice to marriage. A wife and mother with a “me” mentality can only harm a family. A woman who embraces her role as a partner with her husband and God is not being degraded, but acting according to the Lord’s plan.
In a large family there are all too many ways to serve and it would be easy to put my husband last. If he comes home to a clean home, a warm dinner (homemade or otherwise) and a smiling wife, does that make us unequal? If I don’t complain and nag does that make me less of a woman? If I happily accept the life I have chosen and support my husband in his job, hobbies and desires does that degrade me? I would answer no to all of the above.
On a daily basis it can be a hard task to summon strength after a long day of kids and crankiness to put a smile on my face when the hubby walks in the door. As hunters and gatherers men like to know their family is being taken care of. If a spouse is continually whining about her life, then he feels he is not doing his job correctly.
Equality in marriage comes from service. It comes from respecting each other's different roles in the marriage. It comes from loving one another's strengths and strengthening our weaknesses. It comes from the kisses, the tender embraces. It comes from sharing our struggles without putting the other down. It is making the big decisions together and not blaming the other when something goes awry.
Whether a wife stays home or works, has kids or not, the same principle applies. A favorite author of mine, Dr. Laura Schlessinger, says a man's needs are simple. So along with the principles of the the Gospel and the words of our prophets, I try to abide by this simple rule, “If he is not horny, feed him a sandwich.” Now, you can say, let him make his own darn sandwich, or, you can make it for him and have more time for the other. That is equality.
Thank you, Linda! (I think I'm going to go pack my husband a lunch now and then crawl back into bed! :)
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