Sunday, April 7, 2013

Cowboy for life

Last Christmas it was my desire to carry on our new tradition of having duck for dinner. There was nary a duck to be found. I was about to give up my search when I looked down in the frozen food bin and saw a goose. I picked it up, put it in my cart, paused, and thought, "I'll give RLB a call quick and see if goose would be acceptable in place of the duck." While the phone was ringing, I glanced down at the price tag. $76. What?

It is that season again when hundreds of thousands of dollars fly over our home returning North - the beautiful Canada Geese.

My daughters and I were weeding our front landscaping today when a ruckus broke out in the pasture across the street. An injured Canada Goose was being stalked by two neighborhood roaming dogs. As we watched the goose waddling for safety, honking in distress, I said to the girls,  "I wonder where its mate is." Then we saw it fluttering about, swooping down towards the dogs in an attempt to divert their attention.

Its mate.

RLB's mom has referred to her and my father-in-law as geese. They've mated for life. Meaning; nothing but death will separate them.

As it should be.

We profess this commitment in our vows. How often do couples mean it? The current divorce rate shows us this clearly is not an instinctual understanding as it is with the Canada Goose. Even among committed married couples there is an indication that their relationship is conditional. Look at this comment by a woman who completely disagrees with biblical submission:
I love his affection and his input, but he must always know...
It matters little what comes after the "he must always know." It's a given that their marriage is conditional. There are set rules, terms, and boundaries that he must abide by in order to not face divorce.

Guess what ladies - our husbands are sinners as are we.

One of my favorite man songs is Tim McGraw's "The Cowboy in Me":


I don't know why I act the way I do
Like I ain't got a single thing to lose
Sometimes I'm my own worst enemy
I guess that's just the cowboy in me

I got a life that most would love to have
But sometimes I still wake up fightin' mad
At where this road I'm heading down might lead
I guess that's just the cowboy in me

The urge to run, the restlessness
The heart of stone I sometimes get
The things I've done for foolish pride
The me that's never satisfied
The face that's in the mirror when I don't like what I see
I guess that's just the cowboy in me

Girl I know there's times you must have thought
There ain't a line you've drawn I haven't crossed
But you set your mind to see this love on through
I guess that's just the cowboy in you

We ride and never worry about the fall
I guess that's just the cowboy in us all

When I was becoming obedient to biblical submission, I listened to this song a lot. How true was the line: "There ain't a line you've drawn I haven't crossed." What I've come to understand is how little this matters when a commitment to lifetime marriage has been made.

I've set my mind to see this love on through.

I've told RLB that I love him as a fellow child of God's. There is no sin against God that he can commit that will separate me from him. I will see it through. I will not leave. My commitment will not falter.

There's a fear that is hard for women to overcome. What is on the other side of 100% vulnerability? What will happen once the commitment of forever has been made? No conditions, no rules, no boundaries.

I know the blessings of having made this commitment. However I'm concerned my testimony isn't enough. For the men who are reading, would you be so kind as to comment what it would mean to you should you hear from your wife the words of forever...no conditions, no rules, no boundaries, no sin large enough to separate her from you.

Ladies, do you ride and never worry about the fall? Is there a cowboy in you?

21 comments:

  1. I'm not married, so I can't add anything other than to say that I admire your willingness to defend biblical submission anytime and anywhere.

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  2. donalgraeme that simply is not true, you have a lot to add. As a matter of fact, I was going to include a comment from you that I picked up from The Woman and the Dragon and put in the comments of my post Smile...and really just shut up So I'll put it here:

    Why would any sane man go forth an slay a dragon, only to be reviled for it? Only to find that the woman he seeks to “rescue” has been “rescued” many times before? Only to find that the woman refuses to respect him for what he does, but instead feels entitled to his service without recompense?

    On the flip side, there is nothing that I would not do for a good woman.

    For a good woman I would walk a thousand miles barefoot through sharp needles and jagged stones.

    For a good woman I would endure blistering heat and soul-chilling cold.

    For a good woman I would suffer torture and humiliation.

    For a good woman I would give up all my wealth and the trappings of this world.

    For a good woman I would go forth to slay a dragon, though it would likely be my end.

    I would storm the very gates of Hell itself, and do battle with the Evil One, just to win the heart of a woman who was beautiful and chaste and God-fearing.

    I have yet to find such a woman.

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    1. SD,

      Like you there is nothing my husband could do that would make me leave him. Even if he cheated on me I would stay. I would be hurt and angry, but I wouldn't leave.

      But, would I tell him this? Probably not.

      I am not willing to make myself that vulnerable. Yet, in the past six months or so --- as I've worked toward being more submissive --- I've definitely been more open with him, even about very sensitive issues than ever before in our 16 years together.

      Lisa in Vemront

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  3. But, would I tell him this? Probably not.

    I know. Because there is a fear there. "If he knew that, would he exploit it?"

    My darling, LiV...What you need to understand is the truth of men.

    He would not exploit it. If he is a normal man, this confession would be more valuable than the world's gold.

    You do not yet trust the immensity of men's romanticism, honor, and loyalty.

    To hear the words "I would not leave you even in the event of infidelity." Is the highest regard, respect, and loyalty a man can hear. I am fully convinced that a Christian man can not respond in any other way than honorably.

    Think of men interacting with each other. When going into any battle, when they hear loyalty from another, when another man proclaims his allegiance to him, they will fight to the death for him...for those who are loyal.

    You, sweetie, are missing out on that.

    It is an intimacy you have never known. It is beautiful. And, I promise you, you will regret holding off this proclamation.

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    1. I know. Because there is a fear there. "If he knew that, would he exploit it?"

      Bingo. That's it exactly. I put the infidelity example out there because it's something that's affected several women in my family. I'd be shocked if my husband ever cheated. But, I wouldn't want him to feel that I was giving him carte blanche to do so.

      I think he does know that my loyalty to him is undying and that I have his back at all times. Yesterday he said something that really touched me. He's been having a difficult time with certain family members who can be disrespectful and mean-spirited and he said, "Lisa, you're the one person who has always been kind to me."

      LiV

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    2. A man who is likely to cheat isn't waiting for your permission. Conversely, a man who is unlikely to cheat would be amazed to hear those words you typed above. I said that to 7man some time ago; I don't worry about him lusting after other women or anything of that nature. I give him my deepest trust and it is repaid with him treasuring that trust, not walking all over it (have had that happen too, but that won't make me distrustful in general).

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  4. LiV,
    To clarify, we, as women, project what our reaction would be onto our husbands. It is natural for a woman to recoil on hearing "I would remain with you even if you were unfaithful." It doesn't reciprocate. We inherently view supplication like that as repulsive (whether it comes from our husbands or even from a female friend). This is why it is so important to understand the distinct differences between men and women.

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  5. Haha, we actually don't know. We didn't hear any awful "goose gettin' killed" sounds so we assumed the dogs left it alone. Though, one of the dogs has been known to kill the neighbor's chickens (we've seen her carry them home) so they might have attacked so swiftly the goose didn't make a sound. It's a very large, open field and we lost track of them.

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  6. "To hear the words "I would not leave you even in the event of infidelity." Is the highest regard, respect, and loyalty a man can hear. I am fully convinced that a Christian man can not respond in any other way than honorably. "

    For any man of worth, such words would probably lead him to feel guilty every time he looks at another woman. A cad of course would find it hilarious, but then again nothing would bind him anyways (How I do miss the old ways... sigh).

    But honestly Lisa, your husband sounds like a decent man. Such words would have the opposite effect of encouraging him to cheat. He would almost feel compelled, no actually, he would be compelled, to try to live up to the expectations they convey.

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  7. The idea of a women saying and meaning that is massively appealing. I recall my days at Christian forums and these dogged women stating that "they told their husband that this marriage is for life BUT they will not tolerate......cheating/porn/lying...whatever, deal breaker".....Oh really?

    The problem is the conflation of saying you will not leave over it with permitting it.

    Those marriages that lasted through infidelity, through even births of a child from outside the marriage, are inspirational. The manager at the bank i used to deal at, call her Michelle, one day a woman showed up at her house asking for her husband. She then introduced the husband to his child he'd fathered in a fling. The visiting woman had once been their housekeeper.

    Michelle said they adopted the child into their home, she did not divorce obviously, and I knew her for years longer as having a larger (+1) very happy strong family. She is a gold star example.

    But again, that's seen as letting some guy get away with it. And on Christian forums and I suspect in groups of women, there is some vicarious revenge urge, inexplicably taking any infraction to its extreme and up-defining it so as to be able to watch while the "victim" exerts max pain.

    The wife will have to literally shut all others out if she is to hold to that promise. Men are less prone to leave over affairs than women. But when women have affairs they are more prone to leave than men who have affairs.

    The other one was lying, and the standards set were literally absurd. "He told me he lost his virginity in a back seat, then later i learned it was on a picnic table, what other lies is he telling....whaaaaaaa I cant trust him"

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    1. Michelle said they adopted the child into their home

      I don't know how anyone sees an example like this and isn't inspired by this kind of selfless love. Beautiful.

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  8. While we are both committed, we are also both clear that there are conditions to our marriage. He would definitely walk out if I committed adultery. He did it to his ex.

    I, on the other hand, would be willing to work through anything less than serial adultery. However, if I were to find out that he was molesting our children, I'd be out the door. Likewise if I found out he was secretly a serial rapist and/or killer, or if he were to suddenly start beating us up on a regular basis. Egregious extreme behavior, in other words.

    Of course the chance of any of those things happening is somewhat less than .0001%. He's a good man While nothing is impossible, I think I can say with confidence that pigs will fly before divorce is ever a possibility for us.

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  9. Gwen,
    Could you explain why you felt compelled to comment on this thread, is it that you see the arrangement you and your husband have set up as superior to what God commands in the Bible?

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  10. My apologies. I suppose I didn't make my point clear enough.

    We all come into marriage with conditions. Some are ridiculous, some are reasonable. The wise person makes sure their reasonable conditions are fulfilled before getting married, but also searches their soul to ensure their conditions are reasonable.

    A woman who has a genuine desire to submit to her husband's authority needs to choose carefully and wisely when deciding to marry. This has been on my mind a great deal lately, as my two daughters mature. Their father is an example to them of exemplary masculinity; I have every hope they will hold the men they meet in the future to their father's standard.

    My mother chose foolishly. She and her children paid the price for that. That is why I was so careful when it was time for me to choose. That is why I am so careful in teaching my daughters how to make that choice.

    In the community I was raised in, submission was considered to be the automatic default. I have never considered that to be a matter of personal debate. I always knew my husband would be the head of our home and our family. Submission starts after marriage, however. Before marriage, any man or woman considering marriage has a responsibility to their future children and grandchildren to use the most careful discernment in making such an important decision.

    I do feel that if something were to go incredibly awry, despite my careful planning and selection, that I have a responsibility to my children to protect them regardless of the consequence to myself. Hence the condition of no extreme or egregious behavior, which my husband was aware of before we married. He knows all about my father and understands completely.

    I hope that is clearer. It was not my intent to offend.

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  11. There's no offense at all, don't ever concern yourself with that.

    I'm glad you responded as I'd like to discuss this further. You said:

    I do feel that if something were to go incredibly awry, despite my careful planning and selection, that I have a responsibility to my children to protect them regardless of the consequence to myself.

    Do you consider your children a higher priority that your husband? Until what age?

    Also, how do you regard the vow to not forsake him in sickness and in health? Your first post indicates a conditional commitment with regards to sudden onset of egregious behavior - behavior indicative of sickness.

    Protecting your children in an extreme situation does not equate to divorce. And, there is no biblical basis for divorce in that situation.

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  12. I wasn't thinking about divorce as much as I was thinking about submission. It's important to note that my opinion is heavily influenced by what I observed and endured as a child.

    Children vs husband, hmmm. I don't think the question is such a clear-cut dichotomy. Let's turn the question around. How far does submission go? Does submission require a woman to let her husband kick her child in the head while she stands by at his order? Or is it a more loving and wifely thing to get between your husband and the child and find a way to stop him?

    This is going deeper than I intended in my original comment, or what I think was your intent in your post. As I said my opinions are based in my childhood. This is not a situation most women will ever have to confront. It's extreme, yes. My mother chose to lay down and protect my brother with her body. I cannot find it within myself to condemn her for that decision. I do not claim to know the mind of God in this sort of matter; I do not think there was any good choice for my mother in that situation. I probably would have done the same thing though. Maybe. To be honest, I don't know

    You can see why I was so careful in who I chose to marry.

    Are my children a higher priority than my husband? No, with a caveat. They are small and helpless and placed in our charge and by God. I think it logical to assume that I will be held accountable for how I raised them when the day comes. I also think it,s logical to assume that I will be held accountable for how I treated my husband. If my husband were so ill that he thought to harm one of his family, knowing him as I do when he is not ill, I know he would want me to stop him. I pray I am never in that situation. It would rip my heart apart.

    As to divorce, I do not expect agreement on this - it is my personal opinion and I know it is controversial - but I can imagine situations in which I would divorce my husband for his protection. For example the situation in the above paragraph. If divorce was the only way I could keep my husband separate from the people he was trying to hurt, then I can imagine a point at which I would have a responsibility to do so. Yes, that could be seen as an excuse/rationale for my frivolous and unrighteous behavior. There are many who do use such excuses, in fact. That is between them and God. If I were to ever be in a situation where I felt I had to make that choice I would leave the judgment to God and hope for His mercy.

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    1. To clarify: My original post was talking about divorce. My second post was more about submission.

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  13. The Peanut GalleryApril 8, 2013 at 12:08 PM

    I personally know a family who suffered abuse. They have children together and he physically and mentally abused the wife for years. She stayed. He got help, he changed. He no longer beats his wife. They also had another child not that long ago. Marriage can survive abuse.

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  14. Gwen,
    I like your emphasis on choosing a husband wisely. Definitely something women need to focus on.

    How far does submission go? Does submission require a woman to let her husband kick her child in the head while she stands by at his order? Or is it a more loving and wifely thing to get between your husband and the child and find a way to stop him?

    Topics like this have a tendency to only focus on extreme examples. I know incidences like this have occurred. Clearly something very wrong has been going on that leads up to this. Healthy men do not kick their children in the head. So my advice to a woman who sees signs of dysfunction in her husband is to seek wise counsel from a trusted Christian man who her husband respects and preferably submits to. He should be someone who has an interest in the whole family's well being.

    This is not the state, or lawyers.

    For me, this person would be my father-in-law. Again, it gets back to choosing your husband wisely. I've written before that it was essential for me that RLB had a strong family. I know this is unfortunately becoming hard to find today.

    I would submit to his counsel and ask for him to intercede with my husband. There is nothing unbiblical about separating for a time if that time is spent in prayer and focus on healing and reconciliation. For a man who has become violent, who else would love him enough to see him through to health. This concept that he doesn't deserve her love (Agape) is tragic. Mothers remain faithful in helping their own children through dysfunction - that love and long suffering is the love necessary in successful marriages.

    I know he would want me to stop him

    Right. Most lucid men would and in doing so you would be submitting to him and his wishes.

    @CL
    A man who is likely to cheat isn't waiting for your permission

    I was going to mention this and I'm glad you did.

    The willful rebellion that women employ with the idea that it prevents his bad behavior is not rational.

    @The Peanut Gallery,
    I know families who have stayed together through it as well. For one in particular, it has been a very long time since the abuse occurred. He is not a Christian either but has become one of my favorite people (his wife too obviously).

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  15. I hate the "mental abuse" label since is so abused these days....

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