I’ve been a little quiet this week because Tim has been home. After four weeks working at a job site more than 14 hours drive away, I tried to take advantage of as many moments as possible with him. He booked time off for Abby’s birthday (last Monday) and his own birthday two days later. I’d asked Tim to book the time off to include the weekend because this weekend, a combined effort of our local churches led to the hosting of a Love & Respect video seminar in our community centre.
At first he was all like “Do we really need to go to this thing?” to which my reply was that we didn’t really need to go, in the sense that we’re not in any kind of crisis stage of our marriage. However, I posed the issue of maintenance. As my friend recently pinned on Pinterest, the grass is greener where you water it.
Session One began Friday evening, and it went over well. It was humorous and enjoyable (I particularly liked the statement “There’re no vacancies in the Trinity”) and we went home, both of us thinking “Great stuff, but we already knew that.”
Then began Session Two on Saturday afternoon, followed closely by Session Three. And that’s where we realized what was missing in our marriage.
Dr. Eggerichs made a comment much to the effect that most Christian wives are looking to their husbands to be the spiritual leaders of their families. They expect their husbands to be the representation of Christ in their households. I was sitting there thinking, “Wow, ain’t that the truth of it! That’s exactly what I want of my husband.”
But with one little word, I realized where I had messed this up. In the middle of the acronym “CHAIRS”, is the word “Authority”. Dr. Eggerichs began to describe our spiritual relationship to the letter. Essentially, the wife looks to the husband for leadership, but she is fearful and apprehensive and so she asks questions and looks for reassurance. The husband interprets this as trying to take control and wear the pants of the relationship and so backs off or responds negatively to the wife and a cycle begins. I believe Dr. Eggerichs fondly refers to this as the “Crazy Cycle” – which comes in part from the definition of insanity: “doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.”
And that’s where our crazy cycle began, with authority. I wasn’t letting my husband have any because I was allowing my fear to intervene. And what was I afraid of? I was afraid that my husband would stretch me.
Tim is a self-taught philosopher and theologian. He is incredibly intelligent with an IQ approaching the “Genius” range, if not right in the middle of it. That’s why in highschool his guidance counsellor told him he’d be better off dropping out and getting a job already because there was nothing left in high school to challenge him or teach him. (I wish I could smack that counsellor over the head – Tim would have loved post-secondary classes at a particular university.)
His knowledge of the bible is extensive – although he’d be the first to tell you he doesn’t always remember the exact “address” of the verse in question – and he has devised a morning and evening bible reading schedule that takes you through the Old Testament once a year, Gospels & poetry four times a year, and the rest of the New Testament twice a year. He’s written a book called “Culture Shock – The Church Between Sundays” and he blogs 30-second overviews, among other thoughts, over at Jesus Loves Your Mom.net.
And me? Well, I took some religious studies courses on the Old and New Testaments, Koine (“New Testament”) Greek, and Israelite Religion at a prestigious university, and one of my professors was and still is the Canadian Research Chair of the Dead Sea Scrolls. And I have a lot of faith and trust, but right off the bat when I married my husband, both he and my father-in-law posed questions like “Are you pre-trib, post-trib or mid-trib?“ To which my response was “Uh, wha-?”
My philosophy has been that if it does not impact whether I believe in God or not or whether I’m saved or not, then I don’t need to dive into it at this exact moment and perhaps test my faith prematurely. And it’s worked to date.
So I was worried my husband, who is a theistic evolutionist among other things, would stretch me further than I thought I was ready to be stretched.
When I confessed this to my husband on our drive home and asked for his forgiveness, I was once again rocked to my core.
That same segment about spiritual leadership had impacted him as well. And he confessed that he was afraid. He was afraid that I would somehow crush him if he had taken on that role. He never thought he was afraid of anything – this is the ironworker who climbs 150 feet into the air and sends me a text message to let me know he loves me, because 150 feet above ground is the only place his cell phone would get a signal.
Last night, as we were laying in bed, God gave me an image of my husband walking up the steps of a raised dais to a throne. On his shoulders was a black mantle of fear, worry, apprehension and something else I couldn’t place. As he walked up the steps, his mantle fell off and he was able to sit on the throne. And then he was crowned.
I’m excited for my husband to take his rightful place as the spiritual leader of our family, where I have so desperately longed for him to be, yet have unknowingly set up road blocks all these years. I’m excited to see what happens next.
I give the Love & Respect seminar an A. I highly recommend it to anyone who is wondering just what seems to be missing from their marriage, or who feels like they’re just going through the “Crazy Cycle” all the time, or even for people who think they’ve got it all together right now and just want to go for some encouragement and maintenance.
There was talk that Tumbler Ridge will be hosting it again sometime in the next 6 months or so, which means if you missed it this time, there will still be an opportunity to reap the benefits of the seminar.
In the meantime, you can hit up the website and start reading more about it.