Monday, 30 August 2010

A Wife's Responsibilities in Marriage

In my last post, I mentioned that I am reading 'The Strong Willed Wife' by Dr Debbie Cherry. It's all about using your personality to honour God and your Husband and it's centred on the idea of being submissive. 

Alas, I reached Chapter 8 'Rights and Responsibilities'. I am really liking this chapter in particular, as it sort of synthesises the guidance from the various books of the Bible on what Mr O and I should be doing in our marriage. My focus for the moment is on what I should be doing, after all, I want to be the best wife that I can be. That is what he deserves. So, according to Debbie's interpretation of the Bible, wives' responsibilities are:

To be a 'help meet' to your Husband
According to the first Bible story that we all know, Eve was created to be with Adam and fill some sort of gap. I like to think it means, that without me, Mr O could only go so far. Wink*wink. As the saying goes, behind every successful man is a woman! So, I am cool with the first aspect of my responsibilities, to support and encourage Mr O, and I am actually OK with him and his needs coming ahead of my own. 

To show respect to your Husband
The second responsibility unique to wives is showing respect. Of course I respect Mr O. How could I marry a man that I didn't respect? But the point of my duty as a 'wife' is to show him that respect - 24/7 - even when I do trip over the (painful) Birkenstocks that he leaves in unsuspecting corners of our home! sigh...
Regardless of the situation, I should show him the utmost respect. Debbie highlights how sometimes we give our best to the outside world and our husbands get the leftovers. We are always so much more kind and patient with strangers. It is very easy to do this, but it is just not OK. Mr O is my Husband, and if anyone should be getting the best of everything I have to offer - my time, energy, love and enthusiasm, it should be him, right? 
After reading this chapter, I will certainly continue to make an extra-concerted effort to make sure that EVERYTHING I do and say to him (and behind his back, for that matter) is out of the appreciation, admiration, love and respect that I have for him as my 'Husband'. 

Now for the third 'commandment' - brace yourselves!

To be submissive to your Husband
Eugh! Why does this word make me itch! Ephesians 5:22 states:
"Wives, submit to your Husbands as to the Lord". 
It is there in black and white, yet, I have tried to dress it up, dilute it, remix it and basically try any way of wriggling out of the FACT that I must submit to Mr O, just as I should submit to Jesus. If I submit to Jesus, how can I not submit to my Husband and if I submit to my Husband, how can I not submit to Jesus. 

Like I said before, this is a hard concept for me to grasp. But I feel that taking this conscious step to wholeheartedly submit to Mr O, will help me be more submissive to Jesus - which is totally something that I want to do - and soon! I guess I better read on, to unravel the 'myths' surrounding submission. I know what images my mind conjures up when I read the word 'submission', I just know deep down that I must be wrong...well, at least I hope so...

What do you think when you hear the word 'submission'? 

Mrs O


Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Wives submit to your Husbands...

I could write an essay on the topic of us Wives submitting to our Husbands, as the Bible suggests we do in Ephesians.

Being submissive is actually something that had never crossed my mind before we got married. That isn't because I have disregarded the concept, I simply haven't given it any thought before. Until now. I figured I would do my research, I just can't help myself it seems. Obviously, the main thing from my perspective is that both myself and Mr O are happy with my degree of submissiveness and we both believe that the way I conduct myself with him is pleasing to the big G.

I am very much an independent, confident, free-thinking and ever-so-slightly random woman - apparently that's why he loves me *blush* I like to think I am God-fearing and I've noticed that focusing our marriage on what has worked for generations before us, has so far set us in good stead for handling the challenges that inevitably come with being married - in the real world - where everything doesn't smell of roses and where we run through the rain, rather than stand kissing in it as they do in the movies.

I have to be honest, sometimes the Bible doesn't always make sense to me, some things appear to contradict each other and I don't yet feel comfortable to approach my pastor or Church elder with every little query I have with it. Instead, I search online - I especially like Christian blogs such as boundless  and simple marriage. I also seek out books to help me understand things better. 

Most recently, I ordered Debbie Cherry's book - The Strong Willed Wife - Using your personality to honour God and your husband [good ol amazon!]. So far, it is making for a very interesting read. I'll keep you posted as I make my way through it...and as I decide what 'submitting' to Mr O means for our marriage...

But for now, I'm still pondering... Should us Wives submit to our Husbands? If you're not married, do you plan to submit to your future husband? 

Mrs O

Saturday, 14 August 2010

The Perfect Bride

Somebody- a friend who is at the start of wedding planning (let's call her Cleopatra (why? well, why not!?!) said to me that she really wants to be the 'perfect bride' and because she fears she wont be' the perfect bride', she doesn't want to be the centre of attention for the day. I was deeply saddened by this.

I'm not suggesting for a minute that I have never used the term 'the perfect bride' and I don't for a second think that if at all this 'perfect bride' does exist, that Cleopatra could not be it - but the truth is, deep-down, just as I don't think there is such a thing as a 'the perfect wedding', I don't think that there is such a thing as  'the perfect bride'.

There I said it - I have never seen a 'perfect bride'!

Surely there is no definition of the term 'perfect bride'. If there is, then 1) Its not in my dictionary and 2) I obviously failed miserably in being 'the perfect bride'! I woke up on the morning of our wedding with a spot on my face!

My skin had been clear for MONTHS before the wedding and it certainly wasn't there the night before, when I stood in the hotel mirror grinning at myself and saying "you're getting married tomorrow - eeek! yey! wow!" But when I woke up on the 2nd January, with the spot smiling back at me, I just thought "how ironic" and laughed. After all, there was absolutely nothing I could do about it anyway! Why let it ruin my day!

So on the day, it was easy to deal with such 'impefections'. But what about the months leading up to the wedding? How do girls deal with the 'I must be the perfect bride' syndrome. I guess you either develop a formula for obtaining 'perfection' and try to stick to it or you just scrap the whole ideolgy of 'perfection' and JUST DO YOU!

So, what did I do? Well, initially, I opted for the 'develop my own formula' to ensure that I was 'the perfect bride', this looked something like:

"perfect dress + perfect hair + perfect make up + perfect skin + perfect nails = perfect bride"

How exhausting this stupid formula turned out to be. My hair wasn't growing quickly enough, I changed my mind about my dress and got a new one, I couldn't decide on 'diva' or 'natural' make-up and suddenly 'perfection' just seemed distressingly unobtainable. It made me think, what the heck is 'perfection' anyway?!

I have seriously struggled with this concept over the past year and have made a conscious choice to reject it. Seriously, whenever I feel the urge to stress about my shortcomings, imperfections or general flaws, I just say -

"I reject perfection, I embrace my imperfections and I'm just going to be the best version of 'myself' that I can be at this precise moment in time - period"

I truly believe that every woman can be the very best version of herself within her own money/time constraints. Perhaps, you don't have time for a skincare regime that involves pre-cleansing, steaming, exfoliating, washing, toning and moisurising but you probably could buy an all-in-one face wash and achieve great results. The point is that you can only do the best you can do and what others are able to do at any point in time is irrelevant. There will always be someone in a 'better' or 'worse' position than you - why use them as your barometer when you set your own!

I suppose my post really is to say, girls (and I'm talking specifically to you Cleopatra) - you are not 'perfect', neither am I, none of us are in fact and that's OK. There really is no reason to be perfect and perfection is boring anyway. Trust me! Our flaws make us who we are and our bodies will unlikely change shape just because 'our big day' is coming up. God meant to give us big hips, a jelly belly, broad shoulders, a big nose and/or one boob slightly bigger than the other! There is NOTHING we can do about these things (assuming surgery is not an option!) and there is no reason why you should obsess over these things. Actually, it's our 'flaws' that make us perfectly imperfect. You can read that as 'perfect' if you want to! : )P Of course, there is always something that you could do, no matter how big or small, to make yourself look and more importantly, feel better, but know when to stop girls! It's important that your groom recognises you on the day, right?! He fell in love and asked YOU to marry him, so its only fair that YOU are the one walking towards him on your big day.

Cleopatra thinks that no matter what I say, people will always criticise a bride. OUCH! I'd hate think that anyone criticised me, but hey apparently it's 'natural' for women to critical of other women. I just think by doing that, we become more critical of ourselves. Maybe if us girls acted a bit more like men 'taking things as we see them', then we'd be less harsh others and less critical of ourselves too.

After all, aren't be all trying to be the very best versions of ourselves that we know how to?

Surely that should be enough....

'Cleopatra', you just try to be the very best version of yourself that you can be. 'Yourself' is beautiful, intelligent, happy and smiley - lots of girls would LOVE to be you! I know you will make a stunning bride. I just pray for you to enjoy the journey as much as the destination... xx

With love,

Mrs O

Monday, 2 August 2010

7 months and counting - Perfectly imperfect!

Wow- so today is our 7 month anniversary. This time 7 seven months ago, I was sitting having my hair curled by a talented family friend, having my make up done by the fabulous dvoradivine, munching on krispy kremes (naughty!) and blissfully unaware that one of our bridesmaids was at the home of a random seamstress, being SEWN INTO her dress! We had a brilliant fun-filled day, with everyone sharing in our joy and with no major/chaotic eventualities - the dress situation was sorted! and they all looked amazing - no-one was any the wiser - see!

 So far, our marriage (I love saying that) has been pretty much the same! Fun, filled with love and the best wishes of our nearest and dearest. But very much like our wedding day, our marriage hasn't just 'happened'- we actually have to put the work in. Mostly, the love, respect, empathy and patience comes naturally for us (we're lucky that it just seems to work), but there are still times where we disagree with each other. At the advice of Reverend Moira who married us, in times of disagreement we remember:

James 1: 19, 26

"Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry...If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless."

Another verse that we love is:

Proverbs 15:1

"A gentle answer turns away wrath, but harsh words stir up anger."

They seem such obvious truths, but they are just that - truths. I think that at times where do want to snap off each other's heads, it's useful to remember that words can hurt and you can't take them back. So we're very VERY careful about what we say to each other and how we treat each other. So far, it seems to be working - hooray!

We wished much 'luck' on our wedding day and when we're honest with ourselves about relationships and marriage, we can see plainly that not everybody (despite their best intentions) actually makes it through the journey. We appreciate that life is simply not always 'perfect', God never said it would be. But I always maintain that in face of any adversity, Mr O is my 'mr perfect' and I like to think of myself as his 'mrs perfect' - for us, that is more than enough.

So today, on our 7th month anniversary, I just want to give a special 'shout-out' to Mr O (and all the other fantastic husbands in cyberspace), those men who accept us, as perfectly imperfect as we come, those who we laugh with, those who we cry with, the ONLY ones who know how to hold us, the ones we respect, love, cherish and honour - for always. The only ones who (aside from our pedicurists) we let touch our tootsies and the only ones (aside from our pedicurists) who are willing to touch our tootsies, the ones who know how to make us smile and the ones who assist us (or will assist us) in raising such kind-hearted, bright and beautiful little children. The ones that God actually made especially for us- our best friends, our strength, our everythings, our Husbands!!

Getting married was at the top of our agenda for last year and staying married is firmly placed at the top of our agenda for...well, forever!

Thank you Mr O for having me, as 'perfectly imperfect' as I am!

7 months and counting baby... mwah!

Mrs O
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