I had it all figured out. I told my husband to be: “When we get married, we ain’t going over to your people’s house every week for dinner. And I’m still going to present at academic conferences. I’ll just have our baby strapped to me, but I’m going.” There was no way that I was going to be obligated to his family’s idea of together time, and there was no way that I was going to stop my career aspirations. I knew the scriptures told a man to leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife, and I knew that God had gifted me to work just like He had gifted my man (Genesis 2:24; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11). I wanted to assert myself, make sure that he knew how things were laying before he gave me the ring, before I said I do. I wanted him to know that he couldn’t make all the decisions because we were equal. But none of my thoughts considered what God had to say about marriage, namely that the two shall be one and that husbands and wives have different roles. I’ll discuss both more fully in future entries.
I didn’t consider what God had to say because I thought what I had to say was more important (Proverbs 3:7). My wisdom told me that we could still operate married like we were single and that we were equal in how we should function. And though I talked about the 50/50 split in marriage, I always wrestled with that one because my common sense let me know that would be impossible (though it would be ideal, I thought); the only way you could split everything 50/50 in marriage is if you marry your clone.
Marital equality calls for each spouse to seek to operate fully in their functions, not to perform the same functions. And sometimes these functions require what you’d rather not do, like submit to attending a family dinner or postpone an academic career to properly care for children. Initially both seemed hard, but God’s wisdom has proven that my notions were the way of death (Proverbs 14:12).
Copyright 2009 by Rhonda J. Smith