By Brie Gowen
Sometimes my husband leaves his dinner plate laying on the kitchen counter full of discarded food just a few steps shy of the garbage or kitchen sink, but other times he cleans the entire kitchen on a whim. Sometimes I act like a patient, sane woman, but other times I rant crazily like an escaped patient from an insane asylum. I leave my Diet Coke cans all over the counter, but I make a mean pot roast. He plucks his hairs and leaves them in the sink, but he also makes me feel like the sexiest woman on planet earth. We argue at times, but we also make up like it’s going out of style. We disagree, but we come together on the important issues for our family. My husband seldom concedes first in the heat of a marital battle, yet we both in the end know how to admit when we’re wrong. That’s kinda how this whole thing works.
I realize that I’m not a perfect wife, and I don’t even want my spouse to pretend that I am. So although he thinks I’m pretty darn swell, I know I can be a handful to live with. The thing is, about certain issues, so is he. We’re fallible, imperfect people who happen to see the best in one another, but love each other enough that we hold one another accountable when it’s required. I don’t need my husband coddling me, handling me, or even catering to me to try and build this false sense of bliss in our marriage. I want a real man who brings real conversations and problems to the table, and while I certainly appreciate his kind and compassionate treatment of me, I don’t want him bearing the burden of a completely contented marriage on his own.
Happy wife, happy life. I’ve heard the saying before. And though it may not be what I assume is intended, I hear, “marital happiness is dependent on the husband keeping his wife’s needs met.” Be it physical, emotional, financial, or spiritual, I do agree that as head of the home a husband is required to lead and love his wife. I just don’t think the make or break should fall on his shoulders alone. We live in a society that places so much attention on a woman’s needs, but the fact is we all as humans have them. Here’s my take.
I don’t think it’s fair to place the weight of a relationship’s success more heavily on the shoulders of one spouse over the other, because a marriage is a partnership. In my marriage my husband does everything in his power to make me feel loved, special, and happy. I in turn do the same. That’s only right. Each spouse has specific needs, specific strengths, and also specific weaknesses. We each have our areas where we fall short, but also those areas where we excel. Together, the sum parts make up something pretty darn spectacular, and you don’t just end up with a happy wife. You also have a happy husband, and this in turn leads to a happy marriage. I just don’t think I’d be a happy wife if my husband’s happiness wasn’t a key issue too.
10 If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. 11 Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? 12 A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.
Taking a Christ-centered stance on marriage causes each partner to not look at themselves, but to look at the other. In Ephesians it gives roles not just for the wife, but also not just for the husband. God’s word will tell you that each partner must serve one another in love. Marital bliss isn’t dependent on the action of one, and the happiness of a marriage doesn’t rest on anyone’s sole shoulders. It takes two.
So perhaps it should be happy spouse, happy house. In this sense where one is weak, the other is strong. Both partners come together, they pick up the slack, they place themselves in the shoes of their partner, they offer love, and most importantly extend grace. Everyone is happy. And that’s what it’s all about.