This week has been a good one for us. Emily is recovering well and generally in good spirits (thanks go out to all who have been praying for her). But it’s also been rough for me, simply because I was hit a little more profoundly with the reality of the last two weeks’ events when my good friend Adam (correctly) mentioned, “your wife almost died.”
That really shook me, because while I knew, it hadn’t really sunk in. He was right. She had almost died nearly two weeks ago.
Tuesday night, Emily and I had a hard talk about her not taking the time she needed to take to heal. And I almost lost it emotionally; I just felt like a wreck. I explained to her how I was feeling, that I needed her to slow down as much as she needed to. I begged her to please just let me take care of her. And she did.
The rest of the week was pretty well. I didn’t think about this too much more until Saturday, when I stumbled into a debate on gender roles. It’s strange how the mind connects things sometimes, but…
As I read through comments talking about some very legitimate abuses of authority, husbands who terrorize their families, and how these appear to be the principle reasons, for many, for rejecting biblically defined gender roles, the reality of the last two weeks came flooding back.
I’ve been thinking about this for the last few hours now. I’ve been thinking about how much different my life would be if Emily were not here, be it working outside the home or gone ahead of me to Jesus. And it would be radically different. Never mind the upkeep of our home (something she does with great care), she is a wonderful mother to our daughter, Abigail. She always finds teachable moments for our little girl (we both like to throw little easy-to-understand theological nuggets into the mix with cartoons). She encourages me greatly; she often calls herself my cheerleader. She lets me know when I’m being a jerk and when I’m doing things that aren’t helpful or beneficial, like commenting on “Christian” message boards. She asks me questions and helps me to clarify my thoughts (I’m not always the best communicator). She tells me funny stories that aren’t always meant to be funny. She makes me smile.
If she weren’t here, I would be missing someone very valuable.
Some people talk a lot about gender equality, and women’s roles in the church, as if men have always, only, and continually abused authority that wasn’t really theirs to begin with and have been oppressing women by claiming to be the head of the home. That submitting to a man, especially if that man is her husband, means she is a second-class citizen. And this is a tragic error.
I love my wife. She is my great helper and my best friend. I love her by trying to be a godly man worth following. I love her by buying her candy. I love her by doing dishes when she’s too tired to after a hard day of looking after our toddler. I love her by taking our daughter out for daddy-daughter dates so she can have some peace and quiet. I love her by asking her what she’s learning from the Bible every day. I love her by confessing sin and repenting. I love her by loving the Scriptures and trying to be obedient to them.
I love her by pursuing maturity as a Christian and encouraging her to do the same.