I did not grow up in an era where couples dancing involved memorizing steps and patterns. Our dances did not have names. I always thought the formal dances such as the waltz, or foxtrot, seemed more romantic than the slow-dancing we did in my high school gym, basically consisting of hugging while swaying and occasionally shuffling feet. And do not get me started on dirty dancing, which, while being a romantic and entertaining movie (“Nobody puts Baby in a corner!”) was really just “messing around” set to music. No, there was a generation before me that made dancing look fun, and beautiful and seamless.
I think one inclination we lost in both dancing and life was the willingness for a woman to follow a man’s lead. About two months ago I was getting really excited about a wonderful ministry in my city. It is a prison ministry for women, with the goal of helping them to transition into life outside jail in a healthy and godly way. It’s basically about helping them encounter God through lots of his people reaching out and teaching and serving. Love, love, love it! And, as all good extroverted, excitable types like me do, I called the founder of the ministry to chat about how I could help connect others to them, and how I could be involved myself. The wonderful woman who began the ministry graciously took an hour and poured her heart out about her passion for what God has called her to do. It was inspirational, in a real non-cheesy way. So I left thinking about what role I was going to take, called my husband to tell him of my excitement when he promptly burst my bubble.
“Um I don’t think this is a good time for you to get involved so heavily. You have a lot on your plate and you are tired all the time. I usually support your ideas, but I just don’t feel good about this.”
Total joy kill . And I was hurt and annoyed and starting down the path of self-righteousness, when God reminded me I was to follow this man’s lead. It was kind of a quiet reminder- a thought that perhaps my repsonse wa not reflecting a wife with a submissive or willing spirit. More joy kill. Not only do I NOT get to be all excited about my fun new ministry opportunity, I don’t even get to be mad at my husband for pouring water all over it. (I may or may not have mentioned something along those lines via text before sensing the nudge of God to simmer down and listen to my husband. Sigh- I’m working on not firing off snarky texts anymore.)
So, I will admit this was begrudging, but I decided to email the founder and let her know I’d need to wait for a time to get involved. Fast forward two months. Low and behold my entire body begins to lose a grip on health. I’m noticing fatigue getting higher, starting to run a pretty consistent fever and feeling generally bad. At the same time, Little Miss Fluff and Sparkle brings home two C’s on progress report and it becomes clear she needs more attention and structure in homework time. Suddenly, the thought of another weekly committment to a brand new role doesn’t look like such a good idea. In fact, it sounds totally overwhelming. I am heading to doctor appointments, work and bed until I can recover. I am cancelling fun plans, busyness and housework just to get through the week.
Somehow, in God’s wonderful plan He set things up to work in a truly good way. My husband is my protection, often and mostly it seems, from myself. I am ever so thankful God reminded me to listen. I am humbled by how my attitude was so crabby with him instead of trusting that he did, in fact, have my best interest at heart and could offer some wisdom where I was blinded by excitement. It’s not a common or popular message in our world to allow yourself to be led by a man. But in marriage, God set up a way to be protected, cherished and served, which sometimes looks like my man doing the dishes for me. And sometimes it looks like him telling me to slow down, hold back or stop. I realize not every husband embraces that role and not every marriage is loving. But I also know when both people live out the roles God gave them, it’s pretty amazing.