Saturday, December 12, 2015

Loss of Identity in Marriage

A common theme among some ‘spherians this week is loss of identity in marriage, specifically wives, who allegedly should loose theirs in the name of elevating the status of their husbands and being godly women

Allow me to plainly state, I just threw up in my mouth a little bit. In this tangled mess of vines, roots, trees, and who is the bigger stick, blech. Which than begs the question, why do I read this dross and try to understand? I suppose because I am curious about why the world is rejecting both marriage and Jesus Christ Himself, and also recoiling in horror, rejecting the very idea of men leading in anything, at anytime.

Somebody smart gave me a piece of armor to use when wading through this muck, keep your eyes on Christ, and look to your own husband as an example of the sweetness to be found in marriage, in the character of men, in love the way God designed it. Ahh, both of those concepts soften my well armed heart…..

Anyway, loss of identity in marriage can be a real challenge, for both men and women, and no it is nothing to dismiss, demean, or ignore. It happens sometimes for a season, sometimes in the midst of raising children and life’s chaos, you become somebody’s mother, somebody’s wife, until you are really no longer a person in your own right. Hubby and I frequently refer to each other as “mom” or “dad” and honest to goodness it is because I have gone and forgotten the poor man’s name. He is really no better, a few times he has told the children did you ask “that woman?” What woman? The one that lives here, the one you call mom. What the heck is her name again??

I am very blessed because my husband has always had some awareness of the danger that can come from completely losing yourself, your sense of identity and personhood. Who you are outside the definition of wife, mother, sister, daughter. We are not our work, we are not our families, we are actually people in our own right. People with needs of our own.

Marriage, one flesh is not actually about being absorbed, grafted in, erased, it is about becoming a better version of yourself. It is about being the kind of person that attracted your spouse to you in the first place, and then amplifying and improving on that. It is about coming together, the two parts becoming greater as a whole. Symbiosis. Marriage lifts us up, it elevates us, it does not erase us.

This is similar to the way Christ takes the essence of who we are and makes us better, calls us to our higher selves, fixes what is broken. The fragrance of who we are, the essence of our being is not erased in the process, although some of us may hardly recognize ourselves when He is finished.

Jack Nicholson has a great quote in a movie where he says, “so many men complain about how their wives are dead inside, cold, how they’ve changed….and they’re the ones that killed her!”

Oh such harsh words, but words of wisdom indeed. It is in the nature of women to start to take on the identity of our families, our husbands,  our children, and to risk losing ourselves in the process.
I sometimes think of Eve, she seems to have forgotten who she was, the daughter of a most high God, having an identity in Him, a lapse which made her really vulnerable to, did God really say that? In essence Eve is so busy feeding her husband, gathering fruit, and talking to serpents, she is ripe for the plucking. You have no identity Eve, let me give you one, hisses the serpent.

As I’ve said, I’ve been so very blessed. Hubby has always known that someday the kids will grow up and move on and it will be just him and I. There must be enough “him” and “I” left over to keep that attraction going.  That sweet fragrance of who we are, the essence that entwined us must be preserved, because that is what draws us towards one another.

It is so vitally important that men, rather than tamping down and squashing their wives, lift their own selves up higher and encourage her to do the same. Leadership is a launching pad, not a lid.