Growing up, nothing could get me riled up more quickly than someone (wisely) advising me to reconsider my fierce independence (-slash-borderline-man-hating). I was raised by a super strong mama and a not-so-involved dad, and gathered from the feminist literature in which I immersed myself that to be intelligent and successful, I needed to embrace being single or at least ensure I was wearing the proverbial pants.
Oh, Natty. ((Pats teenage self on the head.))
I am not, for the record, blaming feminist literature nor my parents for these beliefs. Rather, I wish I had recognized and sought godly women to teach me what it meant to be a stand-up gal and how to look for an equally-stand-up guy. I was going at it blindly and making all the wrong assumptions. But I don't think this is unique to my nuclear family. How many of us find ourselves without a paradigm, without a "good" example of a positive, healthy, loving relationship to emulate (or at least think we are without such an example because of pre-conceived notions of what this should look like)? We're a very unique generation, certain that our parents were wrong, yet ingrained with many of the same attitudes that resulted in whatever dysfunction we know of as "marriage."
Thankfully, my heart and my head have been shaped to understand the marriage relationship in a completely different way than I ever before considered. During an 8-week seminary course (a Titus 2 study) at a phenomenal church I attended while living in Austin, I learned more about what it really means to be a woman--and what that means to my relationships--than I had in 29 years of barging my way through what I assumed was true womanhood. (I come from a nuclear family that positively associates loudness with rightness.)
For the first time, I understood the importance of seeking a godly man, and am now experiencing the absolute joy of partnering with such a fella. Truth, it's not always rainbows and sunshine, and I'm going to be challenged. But I don't expect nor want it to be "Yes, dear" all the live long day. I want to be led and know that I must be trusting and willing to follow in order to facilitate leadership. There's just no way around it. I want to change and grow, and that certainly doesn't always happen gracefully. (I won't even tell you how ugly was the process that got me to this point, but let's just say the levels of hot mess have been epic and sad.)
My journey of growth and understanding are far from over. (Thank you, God!) But I am so thankful to have made enough headway to appreciate the leadership qualities in my honey and to respond accordingly to such love and conviction. I can't wait to see where God leads us next!