Marriage Vows

I’m one of those abstruse "old-fashioned and yet modern" women. I’m old enough to remember when they still called it “women’s lib”. I work full time in a professional office, and I still bake and sew and clean. My husband is the leader in our home, but I am the one who voted him into office. He is the president of our little domain. I am the cabinet, congress and house of representatives.

Part of that is my upbringing, and part of it is just good common sense. Every team needs a leader and my husband is a natural leader. Besides which, he is intelligent and wise, too. He makes good decisions. Those are good qualities in a leader. I wish we could find a president like that. But that is another subject.

Our wedding vows included promises to love, honor and obey. Yep. We even said “obey”. I guess we are modern enough to have a newer spin on “obey”. In our house, it is more a matter of mutual concession than commands. Whatever it is, it works for us. If he feels uncomfortable with something, I can respect that. On the same note, there are things which may not be inherently wrong but which bother me, so he refrains. That’s a form of obedience.

I talked about honor already, but love...now love is different. When we were first married, I thought I knew about love. I had been watching my parents and I thought that what they had is what love looked like.

Now I know better. Love is a chameleon, and looks different to every pair of eyes. The love my parents had suited them perfectly, but it was theirs and theirs alone. My love for my husband looks different, as does his for me.

One of the things that let me know I was a grown-up in the real world was the day I realized that giving him the demonstrations of love I wanted for myself, well that was not very loving of me. It was like buying him a new sewing machine for his birthday. Gee, thanks. Showing him I loved him would have to be in the language that meant love to him.

Lucky for me, my husband is good about showing his love for me on my terms, as well. I know darn good and well he would really like me to be up having coffee with him at 7:00 on Saturday mornings. Sometimes I do. But when I don’t, he fights the urge to go jump on the bed and ask me if I’m going to sleep all day. I must admit, he is not always able to resist the urge when it hits him, but he tries.

Another thing, and I am not sure if it fits into love or honor, is about not trying to change a person. My mother gave me only two pieces of marital advice. One was: if I was marrying him with the notion of trying to change him, then don’t get married. She said if he was going to change, that was his own growth, his own prerogative and had very little to do with me.

I knew he was an outdoorsman before we married. Even when I would really prefer he stayed home, it isn’t fair for me to try to change the rules after the game has started. Sometimes things I would have like to have done were put off because of some outdoorsy thing he was doing. Most of the time, I just have to remember he was involved in his stuff long before I thought of something else to do. With the exception of the time he was going to go fishing in Mexico when I was 8 months pregnant. There has to be SOME give and take, right?

Like any relationship between two people who are (hopefully) growing and learning, we have to revisit what it means to love, honor and obey from time to time. That's part of the fun. If it was always the same old boring thing, there would be no adventure in it.