My Husband, After My Suicide

At the bottom of the blue river

(What I meant to write was head of the river)

is a rich red vein.

So easily the tube can be cut,

the water purpled.

But then all the fish would flee for other tributaries,

except one,

searching this river over and over for blue water.

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Inspiration For Housework

Sometimes it is easy to forget that everything we do we are supposed to do to the glory of God. We are supposed to be joyful in our work. Lately I don’t think I have been joyful enough. The Bible says that all labor is profitable. I should take more joy in my work.

God doesn’t just task us to move mountains. He tasks us with moving mountains of laundry also. When I sweep the floor I should sweep it to the glory of God. When I clear the counters I should do it happily.

Sometimes we do things so much that they become completely mundane to us, whether it is office work or housework, but housework especially seems to fall victim to this. I know it does for me (although I don’t have office work). If you are a stay at home wife or a stay at home mother, you should take special pride in housework as one of your primary responsibilities. Sometimes, though, it is so hard to feel inspired. I mean, some days I wake up in the morning eager to get started. I am not skilled in homemaking, but the basic things I can figure out and am happy to do some days. Other days, I don’t want to touch housework. It’s my job, and I don’t want to do it. It’s not my only job, or even my primary job. My first job is to raise my daughter. It is, however, a very important job.

How can I get more inspired? Today I’m actually pretty inspired already. I organized my new vanity, started organizing the bathroom, started laundry, and I have more projects planned. But other days my well runs dry. I feel depleted and housework seems dreadful.

This is not a post that will give you the perfect answer to your housework inspiration woes. But I do have a few ideas that I plan to start using myself.

  1. Blogs. There are a lot of homemaking and housework blogs with tips, and more importantly, inspiration. Sometimes that inspiration comes from seeing pictures of beautifully organized and put together homes. But more often, for me at least, since I don’t aspire to perfection, I think I would benefit just from following the blogs and reading the articles. Just reading about how important homemaking is, or possible to do lists, or to hear a diary of someone’s day homemaking can be inspiring. So I need to find some good blogs and follow them.
  2. Facebook. Now hear me out. Most of the time facebook is a time suck that distracts you from your housework. But I’ve recently discovered that there are homemaking and stay at home mom groups to help inspire you and keep you on task. There is a group called SAHM Motivational Group, for instance. I’ve joined and slowly been gathering inspiration from there. I am going to look for others as well. Facebook is like any other tool. It can be a drain or a positive in your life. Make it a positive.
  3. Books. I am only beginning to explore this as well, but there are books out there about homemaking and books to encourage homemakers. I hear Martha Stewart has a great one with checklists of what needs to be done and how often. I probably wouldn’t go all out with everything on those checklists. I’m not really striving to have a Martha Stewart type of house. But it could give me a good starting point to work with and maybe make me consider things I’d never thought of trying before. There are books out there, and it might be inspiring and instructive to read them. Some women have an inborn knack for homemaking. I do not. So I stand to learn something.
  4. Have a friend hold you accountable. I’m not sure if any of my friends would be willing to do that, but if someone is that would be great. It would make housework a little less lonely. That is the problem sometimes with housework I think. It is lonely. People who work in offices have camaraderie.

I am going to try these thing in earnest and see if they help me get more done, and equally importantly, if they help me do my housework with joy to the glory of God.

Submission Vs Tyranny

I am reading a book widely read and often recommended by other Christian women. It is called “The Excellent Wife.” And in it is some rather ridiculous BS about submission. It says wives should submit to their husbands in everything that isn’t sin. On the surface, this is true. But then the book started giving examples, even saying that your husband has the final say on home decor. While I’m not advocating spending 10,000 on a living room suite your husband hates, it is also ridiculous to suggest that a man should be the one decorating the home.

Wives are to subject themselves to their husbands in everything, but at the same time only a man who is an absolute tyrant would tell a woman how she can and cannot decorate her home. The beauty and atmosphere of a home is a womanly thing.  If your husband micromanages you to the point of telling you what decorations and colors you use, here’s a newsflash ladies. Your husband is either an overbearing tyrant, or he’s gay. So which is it? Because a straight man without serious control issues doesn’t care how his wife decorates. He just thinks it’s nice she did something with the place. Making a house a home is a woman’s thing.

Some women, and these dreadful women’s devotional writers, take it too far. It says you should submit to every decision your husband makes, no matter if it is bad for your family or cruel to you. That you should submit and submit joyfully. So it isn’t even enough to accept bad treatment – you have to smile about it.

Obviously, submission involves submitting to things you don’t like sometimes. If you are only submitting when it is a decision you like, you are not submitting at all. Within reason, you should submit even when you don’t agree with something. But those are the key words – within reason. If your husband is a selfish, stupid SOB you don’t need to follow him into stupidity, poverty, and misery. These women miss the verse that comes right after the verse that tells women to submit to their husbands; they miss that verse that says husbands must love their wives like Christ loves the church and lay down his life for her. Every husband will make some selfish decisions. Your husband is, after all, human. And for the most part, when he does you should submit in love.

But if your husband is a selfish, arrogant prick who never puts his wife or his kids first, it is time to break free. You are a person with equal value to your husband, and your own mind and common sense. Don’t let your husband run you broke, drag the family miserable places for selfish ambition, treat you like dirt, be an absentee father and husband, and totally consume your life. If your husband micromanages everything you do and say, pretty soon there won’t be a you anymore. The verse in the Bible call men to be leaders, not micromanaging tyrants. A woman who needs her husband’s permission for everything is a woman in an abusive relationship.

The book has other gems too, such as saying that if your husband ignores you, be grateful for whatever small attention he does give you and thank God. Personally, I didn’t get married to be alone. I am not going to be grateful for table scraps. If my husband ignored me I’d tell him to move out until he decided he was interested again. The book also says that if your husband comes home from work in a bad mood and takes it out on you that you just need to remember he may have had a stressful day and you should be extra kind. Are you kidding me? If your husband just comes home in a bad mood, you should be extra kind and try to make him feel better. BUT if he comes home and takes that bad mood out on you, you shouldn’t stand for that. You get stressed and have bad days too. But interestingly it doesn’t say that it is okay to take out your frustrations on your husband and he should be understanding and rub your feet. Why? (aside from the double standard) Because it isn’t ever okay to take out your bad mood on someone else, let alone to expect them to respond by kissing your ass and thanking God for whatever treatment you are willing to give them.

It rather turns my stomach sour to see Christian women advocating for this. Submission is a beautiful, spiritual, loving thing. But what these women are advocating for is not submission, but abuse and slavery – an indentured servanthood (you get out of it when he dies) and total whitewashing of personality and healthy desire. And I bet you that almost every single woman in these women’s ministries that advocate for that life for women are women who themselves have loving, responsible husbands who do what is best for the family 9 times out of 10. So it is easy for them to talk about total submission in all circumstances, because they aren’t micromanaged and controlled. If your husband only requests submission in the small things or the female things once in awhile, that is okay. But if it is all the time, that is abuse of power. And rare (and brainwashed) is the woman who actually is living through that that would write an entire book telling other women to do the same. I read this book because of my profound interest in gender studies from a Christian perspective, in marriage, and submission. But many of the women I’ve seen this book recommended to are women in bad marriages who are searching for advice. This book is full to the brim with terrible advice. There’s a couple of good chapters, such as a chapter on homemaking. But most of it is dreadful.

I write about submission a lot because it is something that has been laid on my heart by God. I have learned a lot from it, and I think my marriage is stronger for it. I like to study the subject and pray on it and learn more to draw closer to my husband and to God. But my husband leads me – he does not terrorize me. I wouldn’t tolerate that for a second. i have a good marriage to a good man, so I can trust him and submit. And when I talk about how women should submit to their husbands, I mean most women. Most women in good or decent marriages should be submitting to their husbands. It will increase the joy in their marriages, bring them in line with God’s commandments, and give them security. But I would never, ever say that every woman should submit to her husband. That is dangerous. There are a lot of men who should not be submitted to – a lot of men that shouldn’t even be husbands. Women who write books like this lead women to tolerate abuse and mistreatment and tyranny.

Practical Example of Submission

My husband is the head of our household and our spiritual leader. I submit to his leadership. But what does that mean on a practical daily basis? Well, today for instance, I asked online for church recommendations and someone recommended a church that interested me that had a service this evening. I wanted to go so I immediately asked my husband. He looked up the church and decided he did not want to go. The church is calvinist and he doesn’t believe in Calvinism and the church is perhaps more charismatic than what he is comfortable with. My husband prefers to keep us at Methodist churches.

I was sad. I was disappointed. But I obeyed. I wanted to go to church tonight. We have not been to church in quite a while and we don’t even have a church to go to out here. And I like Saturday night churches because I have a hard time waking up on Sunday mornings and if I force myself to wake up I sometimes have panic attacks at church from being surrounded by so many people when I’m tired. So a Saturday night service would have been really nice. And my beliefs don’t perfectly align with my husband so I agreed with some of what this church had to say. I might have liked it.

But at the end of the day I am not the spiritual leader of the household and it is not my decision to make. If my husband feels that churches like that are not appropriate for our family then I will not go. But I don’t always feel like I get the sort of spiritual sustenance and conservative, upright teaching that I am seeking from the kinds of churches that my husband chooses, so while he’s at work during the week I will try to find Bible studies or something where I can find what I’m looking for. But ultimately I have to trust that God is speaking in the ear of my husband and that what he is deciding for our family is what’s best. I may not always agree with him theologically, but I must remember that in the garden it was Eve who was deceived and not Adam. I may not always be right. And what kind of example would it set for our daughter if I went to church against her father’s wishes?

Still I am lonely tonight. I wish I’d had Church Fellowship. I wish there was somewhere I could get plugged in and really feel at home.

Serving My Husband

Women are supposed to love and serve their husbands. Husbands are supposed  to serve their wives as well, but that is not the topic of this post.

How do you serve your husband? Do you get up to get him a drink? Do you serve him food? Many women seem to be uncomfortable with this idea but I would argue that doing these things is a good. It is probably something I need to do more often in my own marriage. That’s not to say that your husband can’t ever get up and get you a drink, but ladies, when did we become so turned off by the idea of serving our men?

Yesterday I gave up. Craig had had a bag that he brought home from the ship that had been sitting in the laundry room in front of the dryer for weeks.   I had been waiting for him to take the time to organize his stuff and put away the bag. But I just gave up and took the bag out of the laundry room and put away as much of his stuff as I knew how to put away and put the bag in an inconspicuous place out of the way. And it actually felt good. My husband is a very busy man and he does a lot. This was one less thing for him to have to do. Now I’m not great at organizing so the stuff that I didn’t know what to do with and left in the bag he’ll have to address eventually, but I put away everything in the bag and sorted out the trash to the best of my ability and now I don’t have to bother him about the laundry room. And our laundry room looks nicer.

When Craig cuts the grass, one of the ways in which he serves me and our family, I always go out and bring him a glass of ice water. I think this is important. Yes he could walk back into the house and get himself a glass of water but as his wife I want to get one for him.

I wash my husband’s laundry, but do I put it away for him? Most of the time the answer is no. And while I don’t think that I should have to put it away for him since I am already washing it for him, wouldn’t it be nice if I put it away out of love sometimes?

What am I overlooking? How can I serve my husband better? Is there anything he doesn’t like doing that I can take over instead? Can I do housework in such a way as to serve and honor my husband? What do you do to serve your husband?

Embracing the Suck

Craig is gone again. We dropped him off at the ship early this morning. He will be gone for a few weeks. I am grateful it is not longer, but a few weeks is still a long time to be without your soulmate. I laid down to take a nap when we got home from dropping him off and the bed already feels so empty.

So I have decided, as Craig puts it, to embrace the suck. How can I try to stay busy and make the most out of this deployment so that I have a full, rich life even while Craig is gone?

For one thing I am going to let the baby sleep in the bed with me and cuddle her at night, something there’s not space to do when Craig is here. I’m also going to let her spend some nights over at her grandparents house to have fun and spend extra time with them. When Craig is home I only let her spend the night there occasionally because I don’t want him to lose time with her when he gets home from work. But she should spend extra time with Grandma and Grandpa over the next few weeks.

While Angelica is with her grandparents I will try to get extra writing done period I will also try to get together with friends in the evenings. That will be nice.

I will go to book stores and restaurants in the evening by myself. I’m actually one of those rare people who likes to go to restaurants and even to movie theaters by myself. Of course I would rather go with my husband but since that isn’t an option I will utilize the time to do things on my own. And normally I don’t even go into town in the evenings because I like to be home when Craig gets home to greet him at the door with a kiss. But since there’s no one to be home for by 5 I may as well stay in town sometimes. Lonely, but I will try and shop and have fun and do things.

How else can I take this sucky time. That I would rather not go through and get something out of it? What can I do to make my marriage even stronger during this deployment? Is there anything romantic I can do? I know Craig will try to keep regular contact with me by calling an email and when he can. I can only hope that he is able to do that. I would like to set goals of being a better wife, a more well-read person, and becoming a better homemaker while he is gone. I would like Craig to have a better wife to come back to than the one he left. So I will be cleaning, reading, minimizing, writing, writing letters to my husband, spending extra time with our daughter, spending extra time with my parents, spending extra time with friends, and taking care of the home front while Craig is gone. I am going to embrace the suck.

Submission

The decision to have another child has weighed heavily on my mind since Angelica was born, but now I have my answer. I have taken the decision to my husband, the head of our family, and he has decided that we are not having anymore children and are making our birth control permanent.

I’ve been praying for guidance and reading Scripture, but I forgot somewhere along the way that this major life decision doesn’t fall on me alone. My husband leads and covers me, and he has the final say so. He would never force me to do something I didn’t want to do, but part of submission is wanting to follow your husband’s leadership. My husband has decided the best decision for our family is to ensure that we have no more children.

A chapter in my life has closed. I will never again bring a baby home from the hospital, or see my baby’s first steps or hear first words. I am sad that this part of my life is closed and gone forever, but I trust God. If Craig feels this is the best decision for our family, maybe the Holy Spirit has put that on his heart. At any rate, God gave me my husband to provide for me, protect me, and lead me and I trust his decision. He’s a godly man and he’s thinking of the family’s best interest and mine. He puts us first, and putting us first he concluded the best thing for the baby and for me was for me to not have more children. And if it is my husband’s choice that I not have more children, and the Scripture is pretty clear that I am to submit to my husband, then not having more children must be the right choice.

Still, it may take some time to process this. It is a major decision. But I love my husband and know he will always do what is best for the family. He takes care of us. And if he feels it is in our  best interest for me to stop having children, he must be right. And I would certainly not disrespect him or undermine his authority by insisting on having more children.

This is where the beauty of submission lies. I was so stressed out, feeling like I was facing an impossible decision alone. But I forgot not everything is my decision. Sometimes wives forget that. Our husbands are the heads of our households and if you are grappling with a major decision, well, maybe you shouldn’t be. Let your husband lead. I always try to make submission and Biblical femininity a priority, but I forgot too! This decision, which has been so hard for me, was made easy when I took the issue to my husband and listened to what he had to say. He was clear about what was best for our family and what he wanted. If I had let my husband take the lead from the beginning I never would have gone through this turmoil.

A Question for Blog Followers

I am toying with the notion of combining poetry and my personal life on this blog. Right now I run a separate blog about my daily life, but some part of me wants to be authentic here and write about myself, as well as catalog my poetry. However, I don’t want to bog down blog followers with information they don’t want.

About me: I am a married mother of one, a Christian, a Bipolar sufferer, on the Autism spectrum, a scrapbooker, and a serious reader. I’m a Navy wife, a synesthete, a beach girl, and a color addict.

Is anyone interested in hearing about my daily life to go along with the poetry and getting to know the poet behind the poems, or would you rather I kept this blog poetry only?