Monday, June 28, 2010

Guarding our marriages

If you believe in being under the leadership of your husband, in humbly honoring his requests and accepting his authority, your point of view and the way you conduct yourself in marriage will inevitably come under attack.

The source of negativity might be found in unmarried friends (in particular if you are a young woman), divorced people, older people who have never been married due to character issues and refuse to acknowledge they might have made mistakes, married people who are envious of the harmony in your marriage and at the same time contemptuous of the effort you put into it. To put it simply, it's everywhere. Marriage and family are those precious values we must be so careful to guard.

The poisonous message will imply that you ought to always have your way, and that your husband should always go out of his way to do things for you. And I don't mean the normal, natural, kind things that husbands do for their wives. I mean all sorts of extravagant ideas. I have had people tell me that my husband must always drive me for errands and medical check-ups, even though he works 12-15 hours a day and I am perfectly capable of going by bus (even though, admittedly, it takes more time). I have heard stay-at-home moms boasting of how they "always hand the kids to the husband the moment he comes home", because they "can't stand being with them anymore after a whole day" – even though the husband, of course, spent the day working hard outside the home and needs to relax.

There will be people looking with disdain on small things you do for your husband, such as ironing his shirts and packing his lunch. They will try to make you feel like a drudge because you are trying to humbly serve your husband. They will try to claim he ought to step in and do an equal share of the housework, even though he hardly spends any time at home.

It particularly annoys me when young or older unmarried people try to give me (entirely unsolicited) advice about how I should treat my husband, which ever and always consists of confronting him about every little thing, of "standing my ground", regardless the consequences. I do want to think that the people handing out such advice have my best interests in heart, but sometimes it's just hard to believe.

Unfortunately, women have the tendency to talk about various situations in their marriages either with people who have difficulty to evaluate the situation objectively – such as parents and friends, who out of sympathy with you might ignite a conflict over something that isn't even worth speaking of – or even idle people who might try to set you against your husband just because they want to watch some action. Personally I believe conflict should be resolved either discreetly between spouses, or with the help of a neutral counselor who won't automatically take sides. 

There are people who believe pride has higher value than the most precious human relationship you will have on this earth – your marriage. They might butt in unwanted, saying things such as "what do you mean, you can't go and hang out right now because you must wash the dishes? Make your husband do this, he can wash the dishes once in a while!"

Of course it's true that a husband can do the dishes once in a while, but that's entirely beside the point. Family dynamics are different in each case. Perhaps we're talking about a husband who despises doing the dishes, and the wife was OK with it until she was goaded by someone who "didn't want to see her taken advantage of". It's not a question of justice, of it being "fair" that he should do the dishes sometimes. It just isn't anybody else's business. The wife's job is to set out and protect the family harmony from intruders.  

Before you take such advice to heart, look at the well-wishers who spread it. Are they married? Are their marriages harmonious and happy? Does the husband take a proper place of leadership and honor? Are they raising, or have they raised good children? Do the children respect their father? In many cases, the answer to at least one of these questions will be negative.

Aside from our relationship with God, our marriage is the most important relationship we will have. It comes before our personal ambitions, our pride, our wish to look good in the eyes of other people. Before friends, siblings, parents, even before our children. Zealously guarding your marriage and the privacy of your relationship with your husband might annoy some people at first, but it will bring respect, stability and trust into your home, and ultimately, it will be for the best of everyone involved. 

45 comments:

Terry @ Breathing Grace said...

I second your thoughts, Anna. This is very well said.

I've encountered a bit of it myself. Though I assumed just about any wofe who loving serves and submits to her husband encounters it on a fairly regular basis.

This is sad as well inapppropriate because as you said, it's really no one else's business.

angela said...

As usual you are right on target!!! I love reading your posts!!! Thank you!!!

Mrs.Rabe said...

What a great post, Mrs. Anna!

I love your phrase "zealously guarding your marriage" this is so important!

Kate said...

This post made me laugh because I've encountered such things myself! There's the man who asks my husband, "How did you train her to do that" when I hand him a cup of coffee. There's the woman who scorns, "he's got legs. He can get it himself" when I hand him his coffee. Ummm....I do it because I LOVE him and it's one of the ways I show it. Never mind that they don't see all the sweet things he does for me!

People have actually yelled at my husband for not helping me set up the inside of our living history tent. Never mind that he set that HUGE, HEAVY tent up himself and that I prefer to set up the interior on my own. We have our system.

Emily said...

Very well stated and I couldn't agree more!

Piper said...

Hello! My name is Piper, and I'm getting married on August 5th. Last night my fiance and I attended a seminar for couples getting married. The seminar was taught by an elderly couple, and the woman offered an analogy that I thought was really interesting.

She said, "Sometimes when you go to the grocery to pick out a melon you can find one that is really beautiful on the outside. However, when you take it home it may be rotting or unripe on the inside. Your marriage should be the same way. Regardless of the state of the interior of your marriage it should always appear to others as beautiful. The problems between a husband and a wife are theirs to work out, with the aid of God and a counselor if necessary, but not a friend or a mother or anyone else. The two of you are a team and you must always be that way."

At first I was unsure how to take that comment, but I am a very observant person, and I've been noticing that marriages where others get included in issues never really tend to get better. I think all of these people who suggest that women need more and more independence in their domestic relationships are missing that they're sacrificing something for it.

Thanks for posting, it's going to take me a long time to figure out the best way for our marriage to work, but it's good to have resources with individuals who are supportive of what's different that what society is preaching. Thanks again.

Laura Angelika said...

Thank you for your wise words! I wish I'd read them eight years ago in the early days of my marriage. So concerned with "equality" that I overlooked my husband's contributions and nearly succeeded in tearing my family apart.

A wise marriage counselor advised us that someone had to give first, the other would follow, and then we'd have a more peaceful relationship. And it worked!

I definitely advise tuning the 50%/50% people out and giving marriage 100%. May young women learn this lesson early!

Eric and Hannah Avery said...

Awesome post! So very true!

Anonymous said...

Well said. I just had my 40th wedding anniversary. Many of my female friends think I'm dumb to go the extra mile, compromise on little things, give in on certain things that are important to him, relinquish pride when needed, etc. ("I wouldn't do that...give in to that...whatever.") I have also been told by these friends, who have been married several times each, that I can't possibly know anything about marriage because I have been married 40 years to the same person. Mary R.

Michelle Potter said...

When I hear people say things like this, I think of the many things that my husband does, the many things in our life that we (he and I) perceive as "his" job. Then I ask myself, how would I feel if he came to me and said that it wasn't fair for him to do all of these things, and that I needed to start doing some of it? How would I feel if he called from work and said, "I know I need to do this tonight, but I've decided to go out with my friends instead. You do it." I don't mind doing extra if he needs me to, but I certainly wouldn't appreciate it if he acted like he does everything and I need to start helping out!

My marriage *is* a partnership; we each manage certain areas to make the best use of our talents and time. My marriage *is* fair, though it is often not equal; when I am struggling, my husband takes on an extra load, and I do the same for him. Admittedly, I tend to feel that he takes on the extra load for me far more often than I am able to do so for him. Fortunately, he seems to feel it's the other way around! :)

Otter Mom said...

I know exactly what you mean about advice that I don't want or need! I used to be very much a feminist, then one day God opened my eyes and I realized how wrong I was. Both spouses have a role to "play" for lack of a better word, which makes the marriage work or at least work well. I have a very strong & happy marriage now that I didn't have before. I'm glad to see you posting this.

MDiskin said...

You are so right in this. I don't know if there are Jewish verses attesting to the "look to the beam in your own eye before rebuking your neighbor for the splinter in his eye" but it's been very helpful to me in my marriage!

Dirtdartwife said...

I've got some friends that are the kind that want to be involved in every aspect of my marriage. They refuse to acknowledge mine and my husband's privacy by asking personal questions or trying to strike up a conversation that shows they're digging for information. I've just recently started to really guard my marriage in what I share with others and I'm amazed at how ANGRY some get when they realize I'm not sharing anything further. They act as if they have a right to know or have an opinion on something.

incahgneetoh@yahoo.com said...

Hi, Long Time No Comment.

You wrote:
Before you take such advice to heart, look at the well-wishers who spread it. Are they married? Are their marriages harmonious and happy? Does the husband take a proper place of leadership and honor? Are they raising, or have they raised good children? Do the children respect their father? In many cases, the answer to at least one of these questions will be negative.

My criteria of whether to listen to someone else's opinions/advice about my marriage (or any other part of my life, for that matter) is much simpler: Did I ask them for it? If I did not, then they have no business offering it to me, and I see no reason to heed whatever they feel they have to say.

BTW, I find it very interesting to keep up with your blog. You are a young lady with very strong opinions and state them forcefully. I enjoy following it and look forward to see you evolve.

Analytical Adam said...

Dear Mrs. Anna,

I agree. The family unit is the brick of any society (and no healthy society has ever existed that doesn't protect the family unit) and many evil forces have tried to destroy it as I'm sure you know was the Russia where Karl Marx despised the family and women who were married and communism hated the family unit and of course claimed to be for the woman but in the end of course it led to far more tyranny giving all the power to the few men of the state.

Also, you do have to be very careful Mrs. Anna. Here in America there are cases of crooked cops and others who force people to break marriages against their will. There was a case of a man who tried to push her wife out of the way of traffic as they both drank a little and the cop then came and claimed he was an abusive man and forced the breakup of the 2 of them and no contract order. One of the 10 commandment as I'm sure you know is don't be jealous of another man's wife which you have men that want to ruin another person's marriage which is very evil and of course hid behind protecting the women.

Also among some unmarried women ( and I have to honestly not all unmarried women are unmarried because they were bad. Most young women have some flaws as most young men do but they just weren't connected and didn't fit certain agenda's that nobody helped them). But anyway there are some unmarried women in the Orthodox world in the US who work as lawyers and social workers who sadly work to break up families and don't see a child being in foster care as any more of a risk then being with both biological parents.

The whole feminist movement and the evil men who have promoted this ideology to women does put other people at risk as some who are unhappy do want to break up another person's family and sadly as feminism has become a bigger problem there are many people who do this or even make false accusation against both the husband and wife that never happened.

Analytical Adam said...

Also I wanted to add that I think in general the people that support feminism and put your marriage in danger whether they are married or not. As a guy I do have to say with the feminist agenda being there I have my flaws but many women in the religious women want men that do what they are told and I see this.

In today's environment I don't feel that good men finish first. Having said that many things in my life beyond my control have worked against me including having some serious issues in my early 20's and falling for most Jewish ideologies like self-esteem that was not helpful but everything I have had to do myself.

Regardless, I am a G-d fearing man and my situation is what it is and I understand the G-d of Israel family purity is one of the foundation of our religion as so many commandments deal with this issue and it is evil to try turn a husband against a wife or vice versa unless something very major was done that was wrong.

My own situation is what it is. I am going to be 37 in a few weeks which means 40 is only three years away and I am not married and sad to say I don't really trust the religious world although I do believe in the torah so I am resigned to the fact that I may never have children which doesn't make me happy but what can I do.

I see so many men persecuted (including Jewish fathers) (and some women also in which their issues don't fit certain agenda's as well by the way) that I can't just look away from some of the things that go on as at the end of the day I have to answer to G-d and his torah not to a religious leader who may himself have flaws. The real prophets in the bible 2,000 years ago were critical of the religious establishment as well so there is nothing new under the sun about any of this.

Pickle said...

Very wise words. You are absolutely right. Thank you for saying it.

dining tables said...

This kind of topic is very interesting is a must to be discussed. There are too many couples that undergo divorce. We should take a good care on our marriage.

His Talmidat said...

I tend more towards a submissive personality (although I surely have my rebellious moments!), but even so, being around friends who insist on their husbands doing things can get to me. I don't agree with it, it makes me uncomfortable to consider, and then I find myself battling a pity party that "I do everything myself." It is funny how that can happen!
One of the men my husband works for told my husband that he rarely takes time off, because his wife assumes it means she has the day off and just leaves him with the kids to go shopping. Now he loves his daughter, but that is discouraging for a husband!

onionsoupmix said...

If you are doing it out of love, that is one thing. If you are doing out of a sense of subservience, that's another thing altogether. If you don't know the difference yet, figure it out soon.

If you can't take advice from someone who has not been in your place (unmarried, divorced,etc), what on earth are you doing giving advice to people who are in completely different life stages than you are? Maybe call us back after you've been married 20 years and have 10 kids and a great marriage and wonderful children who respect their parents and never misbehave and then we'll all hear what you have to say. Now you are married for two years with one child and you have the audacity to explain to us that we shouldn't take advice to heart unless we closely examine from whom it comes.

Mrs. Anna T said...

Onionsoupmix,

It's true I haven't been married a long time, and I never claimed I'm the "ideal" wife, or that I have a perfect marriage. However, what I said in this post is not my own invention, but based on eternal Biblical principles and the wisdom of Jewish sages. If you disagree with said principles, that's a different matter. You certainly don't have to trust ME on matters concerning marriage. I know a wife can do no wrong by honoring her husband's authority and guarding their marriage from intruders who have no business in it. A young bride could tell you as much, and she would have been right too.

As for doing things out of "love", sometimes this just isn't enough. There are days when we don't feel all warm and fuzzy towards our spouse, and it's then that sense of duty (or, as you call it, "subservience") kicks in. I continue doing things for my husband even if we had an argument in the morning, and so does he for me. We don't wait for "love" to start things into motion again. We continue doing what needs to be done - again, in alignment with Biblical principles and the wisdom of our sages.

Buffy said...

It is a tricky subject. It is very easy to judge a couple and see one as being more giving than another, but really you don't know the dynamics of their relationship.

People have different strengths and weaknesses too. I remember one woman who had two teenage sons living at home saying that she would go to one for practical help and the other if she needed someone to listen to her and comfort her. We could judge the first son for not being good at communicating or being sympathetic and the other for doing nothing round the house, but she undertood the strengths of both. Thus it often is in relationships.

Sarah Brodsky said...

I would appreciate it if you gave more explicit sources from "Biblical principles and the wisdom of our sages" when making proscriptions. I don't see anything in Tanach or Chazal that requires a man have the kind of "authority" you are suggesting. Of course, wives are supposed to honor their husbands and cooperate to help them--but husbands also need to treat their wives the same way.

What you're saying about masculine leadership reads more like it's based on evangelical Christian blogs than on Jewish sources.

Mary said...

A woman doesn't have to be married for many years to have wisdom. Anna is intelligent and perceptive and gives very wise advice. My husband and I have been married for 56 years and I find that Anna gives wonderful advice to wives and mothers and potential wives and mothers.

Even after our having been married for so many years and having many grandchildren and great - grandchildren, I can still find friends giving unsolicited advice to me. As a Christian, I try to follow the Bible's command to be submissive to my husband and have a gentle and quiet spirit. Yet recently I came very close to asking a middle age unmarried friend of mine from our church to please refrain from trying to tell me how I should be acting toward my husband. Although she is also a Christian, her unasked for advice usually demonstrates very "Feminist" attitudes, and is anything but helpful to me. Even after all these years of marriage, I am open to learning anything that can bless me and my husband and Anna's posts often do just that.
Keep up the good work, Mrs. T.
Blessings,
Mary in PA

Amy said...

I really enjoyed your post! I grew up being VERY liberal-minded, and pretty close to a feminist. I am now a born again Christian with two young children. I'm also a stay at home mom, and I cherish all of the days that I have with my young family at home! Over the last almost 6 years of my marriage, I have gradually changed my mindset about what a woman's role is (as a wife and mother), but I often find family memebers questioning me about whether that's really the "best option" for me. If I'm not careful, I start to hold a grudge against my husband for not helping out more, etc. Like you mentioned, I'm sure that they all mean well, but I have learned that I need to immediately take the situation to God, before I start letting anything into my heart that is "poisonous" to my family.

Mrs. Anna T said...

Sarah,

"He will rule over you" is a command given to Eve in Genesis, which is definitely not an evangelical Christian source! The Tanach and Talmud in all instances assume the husband has a position of leadership and authority.

This does not, of course, mean that the wife is in position of a doormat. Jewish women have generally been treated with honor and respect much more than women in any patriarchal culture, and indeed it is said that the husband should love the wife as himself, and honor her more than himself. His obligations toward her are explicitly stated in the ketubah, our marriage contract.

Judaism has been heavily feminized in the past couple of generation but a patriarchal family unit is NOT something we borrow from Christians.

Sarah Brodsky said...

"He shall rule over you" is part of a curse, which also states that the earth will only grow thorns and thistles. I'm sure you don't consider any biblical injunction to be broken when you grow something else in your garden. If men ruling over women is the ideal situation, it's odd for that to be included in a curse about fruitless effort, pain in raising children, etc.--things that nobody considers good. We don't try to adhere to the other aspects of that curse, so why should male leadership be any different than the other things listed in that passage that we try to avoid?

At any rate, that's not one of the 613 commandments recognized by Judaism.

I'd be interested to see a few of these instances where you claim Tanach and Gemara assume this authority.

Sarah Brodsky said...

I should probably clarify my last comments by saying that there definitely are sources that women cannot take certain leadership roles in the synagogue and community. I don't want to imply that women are supposed to be in charge of everything or boss men around. I just don't see the connection between Torah and masculine leadership in the family.

shanie said...

this was a good thing for me to read... i am making the concious decision lately to break ties with 'friends' (of many years in some cases) who criticize my marriage, and encourage me to be UNhappy in it... it's not easy, but i am hoping to fill my life with my home, my marriage, my faith... and i am finding new friends to share experiences with... thanks anna!

Mrs. Anna T said...

Also, Eve was created as a help mate for Adam, not the other way around. Sometimes women forget that they ought to be help mates to their husbands, instead of their husbands helping them accomplish THEIR personal goals.

Anne Marie@Married to the Empire said...

I think it's the word authority that upsets people. That makes a husband sound more like a father, which is unappealing on many, many levels. I prefer the term we often use in Christianity, which is servant leader. The husband is the head or leader of the family, but his form of leadership is one of service. In other words, doing what is best for the family and marriage. This is something I don't think most people really understand.

I've been married almost 12 years now, and I've been a SAHW for 11 years. It amazes me the wild assumptions people make. I was the subject of a CNN article a couple of years ago about SAHWs (the spin of the article wound up being rather unflattering, unfortunately), and I was blown away by the cruelty displayed in the comments. According to those folks, my husband would eventually leave me for a more interesting woman with a job (because apparently, the only way a woman can be interesting is to work outside the home), and I'd hose him for alimony. I was called garbage, among other things. It was awful.

But then I had to consider the source. My husband noted that the guy who called me garbage was obviously very bitter towards women, in general, based on the things he'd said. It was also likely that most of the commenters had no healthy marriages in their lives, whether their own or that of loved ones, and were therefore unable to understand one when presented to them. And then, of course, there was the spin of the article, which left out a lot of crucial information and made me sound like a vapid little trophy wife.

A coworker of my husband's once asked him if I rub his feet when he gets home every night. (Because he assumed that's just what SAHWs do.) My husband said no, but that I probably would if he asked me to. That probably made me seem more like a puppy to the guy, but he really couldn't comprehend that a wife would do something for her husband purely out of love and kindness. His own marriage was miserable, and he and his wife fought constantly. This same guy chewed my husband out for not buying me jewelry for Christmas. But I didn't want jewelry! This guy was giving unsolicited (and bad) advice on our marriage, when his own marriage was in a shambles. Sometimes I think people do this simply because they have no control over their own marriages, and they want to feel as if they know something. And they also like to assume that there must be something wrong within our own simply because they can't stand that we're happy.

My husband is a sweet, kind man (far nicer than I am!), and he willingly works hard at his job to allow me to be at home to handle all the other things in our life. He listens to me on matters where he knows I'm more knowledgeable, and I do the same for him. It's a give and take, and what we do, we do out of love. In me-centered, selfish society, that's a foreign concept.

Miss Marie said...

Hello, Mrs.T

I've been reading your blog often on for at least a year now. But, I've never comment till now (hope you don't mind me saying something). On the topic of your post: I think its wonderful, I believe very much in male leadership and so I find your post very helpful (as I usually do with all your posts.

I am a Christian so our views some what (just a slight bit) differ. But, your posts our always right on target and I find them very encouraging to read even though are thoughts differ in some respects.

Now on the topic of one of your comments: you said that (I'm assuming you meant Genesis itself) was not a Christian source. Well, to clarify something though your right, its not a Christian source per se as Genesis is a Jewish thing by origin. It is at the same time technically a Christian source as Christian do follow the command given to Eve and that women are helpmeets for their husbands. We also believe Genesis is true history, just like Jewish people do. If you new any of this already than I'm sorry I didn't know that, if not than its food for thought?

Any way I love your blog and your posts. You give this young (still unmarried) 21 yr old great encouragement I can't find among my worldly, feminist, Christian acquaintances. God Bless you.

The Hobbit said...

Just recently started reading your post and I'm happy to see that family values are important to the younger set. I have been married 45 years and your post gives me hope.

Orthodox Silent Observer said...

Just a quick note:

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion...and in certain forums they have the absolute right to express that opinion. Definitely one's blog is a very fair place to do that.

However, I do believe that unless one is an 'expert' (i.e. a Judaic scholar well-versed in all the learning tracks that religious Jews are aware of and having received confirmation by gedolim of their expertise) extreme care should be taken before presenting personal opinions and beliefs and interpretations of scripture as Judaism's view.

Again, I understand that on a personal blog it is the owner's prerogative what to write. Once the blog is made public, care should be taken not to mislead the unlearned. Also, care should be noted by the readers that this is all personal beliefs/interpretations/lessons and not Judaic fact.

Stacey said...

Hear! Hear! Guarding our marriages is of paramount importance. Others do not know what is going on between spouses, even when they think they do. And sadly, there are too many people out there who are miserable, and the adage "misery loves company," comes into play, I think. I like the analogy given by the young commenter who is soon to be married: yes, the world should see harmony, even if your relationship is going through a period of disharmony. God and the couple will work things out, privately. Finally, the whole idea that marriage is a 50-50 partnership (which is what I was taught as a youth) is absurd. It is give and take, and sometimes the wife will be giving far more than the husband; sometimes the husband will be giving far more than the wife. Marriage means both parties give 100%.

As always, enjoyed your post!

Anonymous said...

Here is a typical Ketubah text:

On the [...] day of the week, the [...] day of the [Hebrew] month of [...], the year [...] after the creation of the world, according to the manner in which we count [dates] here in [...], the bridegroom [...] son of [...] said to this [...] daughter of [...], “Be my wife according to the law of Moses and Israel.

I will work, honor, feed and support you in the custom of Jewish men, who work, honor, feed, and support their wives faithfully. I will give you the settlement of [...] silver zuzim, which is due you according to [...] law, as well as your food, clothing, necessities of life, and conjugal needs, according to the universal custom.”

Ms. [...] agreed, and became his wife. This dowry that she brought from her father’s house, whether in silver, gold, jewelry, clothing, home furnishings, or bedding, Mr. [...], our bridegroom, accepts as being worth [...] silver pieces (zekukim).

Our bridegroom, Mr. [...] agreed, and of his own accord, added an additional [...] silver pieces (zekukim) paralleling the above. The entire amount is then [...] silver pieces (zekukim).

Mr. [...] our bridegroom made this declaration: “The obligation of this marriage contract (ketubah), this dowry, and this additional amount, I accept upon myself and upon my heirs after me. It can be paid from the entire best part of the property and possessions that I own under all the heavens, whether I own [this property] already, or will own it in the future.

[It includes] both mortgageable property and non-mortgageable property. All of it shall be mortgaged and bound as security to pay this marriage contract, this dowry, and this additional amount. [it can be taken] from me, even from the shirt on my back, during my lifetime, and after my lifetime, from this day and forever.”

The obligation of this marriage contract, this dowry, and this additional amount was accepted by Mr. [...] our bridegroom, to Ms. [...] daughter of [...], regarding everything written and stated above, with an article that is fit for such a kinyan. And everything is valid and confirmed.

[...] son of [...] Witness

[...] son of [...] Witness

Table Poetry said...

I have to agree with Sarah above. The whole idea of women being submissive is not inherently Jewish. True, there are Jewish groups who encourage male leadership, but there are all kinds of customs that some groups encourage which have nothing to do with original halacha.
If male leadership were really so important to Judaism, we would have at least one mitzva dedicated to it. Women would be told directly to obey. But we don't have that.
Most Jews interpret the 'curse' like Sarah did. The curse is not a commandment. It's a curse. It's not the good or ideal way things should run.
And the fact Eve was created as 'ezer kenegdo' has several different interpretations. The most important being that it does not mean a 'help under him' or a 'help to him' but a 'help across from him' (some even say 'againt him').One could easily see this pasuk as saying the couple are there to help each other, because Adam couldn't do it all himself. In any case, it is very, very vague. It surely can't be translated to an unequivocal 'helpmeet' like evangelical Christian groups like to do.
Tammy
(oh, by the way, been married 18 yrs with 5 kids, if that adds more credibility to my answer).

Lady Anne said...

I totally agree about people who have miserable or failed marriages offering unsolicited advice.

I use our good china and sterling for our dinner every day. (I'd rather please hubby than impress strangers.) One day an aquaintance stopped by while we were eating, and gaped at the table. "You eat this way *every* day?" "Of course. Why not?" "Oh, I'd NEVER to that for Keith."

I smiled sweetly, and replied," Ah, but I'm still married to Jim."
So nice - and (for better or worse) so nasty!

Mrs. Anna T said...

Tammy,

I think the idea of male leadership only became "vague" in Jewish communities in the last few generations with the onset of Westernization and feminism. All traditional Jewish communities have been, to my knowledge, patriarchal.

Sarah said...

I think Tammy was saying that the text of the Chumash is vague. Even if societies have been patriarchal in the past, it is not obvious that patriarchy is mandated by Torah unless there is a clear source for it.

Anonymous said...

I've noticed that women who promote a husband's headship are always the ones who have kind, gentle husbands who are easy to follow.

Women who are beaten, abused, criticized or belittled are silent.

I doubt our God wants us to follow such men. But people who want to put women down insist on literal submission in every case. Yet the commandment to care for orphans. . . oh, that can wait for some other day. . .

Women who promote submission in every marriage often fail to follow the other commandments in the Old Testament. For example, they do not kill people who work on the Sabbath (Exodus 35:2 ). In other words, they pick and choose the Torah portions that MUST be followed.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you remind wives to guard their marriages. One of my close friends has been married 20 years. She told me that she and her dh made the agreement that tney don't speak unkindly about each other to anyone. She said one time, "Why would I put the person I love the most in a bad light?" I love that point of view and it makes being around them a joy.

Anonymous said...

can I get an "amen"?!

Melissa Camarena said...

You, my dear, are a precious woman and very pleasing to God. I will be the first to admit I am still learning to "let" my husband take the lead in our marriage, but I acknowledge the necessity. I am very capable of running the household, but I know that God wants to place my husband in a very special place and in doing so, bless my marriage and family.

Jess said...

I am happy to see you encouraging others in a godly way of seeing marriage.

This is such a difficult topic, not because it's complicated - really it's a simple idea. But because it has become clouded. It is sad that so many people now oppose 'submitting' to your husband as if it makes you weak - sad because it shows that women have found a need to try and protect themselves because there has been a history of women being taken advantage of.

In fighting against this, women have now gone too far the other way, usurping men's roles in many ways. There is such an unbalancing of men's and women's roles that simply now knowing the way it should be is not always enough. A woman can find it difficult to try and get back to a woman's role, because men have also lost what it means to be a man.

It is good for women to be more confident and secure in sharing their thoughts about Biblical womanhood, even when it can be so unpopular, because the way the world is trying to do it is obviously not working. Many people will not understand, will criticise or even become angry. But for some of those people it is because of their own insecurities. And hopefully for some, your godly example will help melt their hearts in their own relationships.

I love reading blogs like this, because I'm on my own journey to working out the areas in my life where I still need to submit to God.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5U2n5aUA-tw