Yesterday I wrote:
[B]ecause I was too chickenshit to appear sexist or hypocritical about work,–I had been passively hoping that she would pick “stay home, cook, and clean”, and therefore angry that–in the absence (and complete abdication) of my direction–she had chosen neither and both…just as I had demonstrated.
The question, then, is why was I chickenshit? What was it of which I was afraid? Well, one can chase that squirrel for a long time, but it always comes back to the fact that I chose to believe my modern instructors
- TV shows
- pop music
were right, and that the clear text of the Bible was wrong; that Paul and Peter’s instruction–and Mary and Sarah’s examples–were wrong. I believed that what God had called righteous, I should call foolish. Even though the anger and confusion–within me!–witnessed that I was convicted this crap ain’t right, I still felt like I had to make up my own mind about it. Even though I wanted to have a wife follow me I still didn’t want to lead her and instruct her. Rather, I thought it better to let her wander after me because… because why?
Because I got a paycheck? Because I’m smarter? Because I was taller? Those things are fleeting, like beauty, and so even if they are momentary gifts from God, it is foolish to make them requisites for headship. The need for a husband’s headship will very often outlast these conditions.
That truth of the withering nature of material worthiness hounded me in my heart. I knew I could not keep it up forever, but my hope was in human frailty and inertia; that if I was just patient then she would realize what sweet and worthy guy I was.
At the same time I knew that wasn’t true because the longer we were together, the more we fought. If a wife’s drive-by spats are fitness tests of me, they should have subsided upon proof of fitness because I gave better than I got. They didn’t. They just got more frequent, pettier is scope, and grander is exercise. Bitterness crept into everything. No peace. Because I hated what God had to say–and because I did not speak out against hate –there was no peace in my house. No peace with my wife. No peace within me.
Really, I have those three peaces listed backwards. The argument that I described yesterday (“What do you want me to do?”) took place after I had moved back in from a nine month separation. My agreement to reconcile was based on several demands I made of her: You will always do this; you will never do this; etc. They were very specific to my main frustrations. But before I even made those demands, I had already decided the most important thing that I would ever do for my marriage.
I confessed, angrily, to God that I did not like His way; hat I had not tried it because it seemed crude to me; that I had tried to do my own thing that looked like His way, but which was more sensible for our progressed times and people. Now, no matter what, I would try His way, and by this I would prove whether He was right, or whether He was wrong. Either I would live or die and my marriage would survive or not, but I would do so by His Word, and everyone would know. If I had not made that decision, I would not have had the answer to my wife’s question of what I wanted from her.
At the point of the question I walked away and went to smoke a cigarette. There I reflected on what I had said to God I would do. I went back into the bedroom and said, “I want you to clean, and cook, and take care of my children and my house like a wife is supposed to.” To which she spat, “Great.” and we continued our fight…but this time I did so with peace; with the knowledge that I could not lose because it’s not Cane Caldo’s word or headship at stake.
Ten plus years of poor leadership, bad habits, and entrenched rebellion is not undone in one fight, but from there things got better. For one, our fights had a real basis of disagreement instead of just festering feelings and bitterness. I felt free to say to her, “Didn’t I tell you to do this? Why isn’t it done?” And she could be mad at me all she wants, but the truth is that I don’t ask her to do insane things, and the reason she doesn’t want to do them is because she’s got an ugly, rebellious spirit, and that she’d better check herself because the Lord loves a quiet, respectful spirit.
She could have left, but she didn’t. She still gets mad at me, but she does what I say. She quit her job (against her wishes). We homeschool now; which was my idea, not hers. The house is clean(er) now, but I am satisfied that she does her best. I put the kibosh on a lot of volunteer activities that she claimed to enjoy, but actually drained her energy and spirits. The further I went along with this idea of being a husband according to God’s Word, the more I realized I wasn’t doing, and started trying to implement. And the more I implemented, the more I realized that my wife hadn’t really been disciplined about anything. She had no idea what it was like to live under real expectations; not the pain of failure, and not the joy of success.
 Who could only be described charitably as misguided. It is more honest to say that I was deliberately going the wrong way.