When Your Husband and Your Desires Don’t Match

Hi, I’m Shannon, Cap’s wife.

Usually I’m behind the scenes at Happier Far. I edit most posts for grammar and tell Cap he needs catchier titles (I do what I can).

I would like to say, though, that I couldn’t be prouder of Cap for the direction he’s taken with his blog. Not only for the literary reference of the title (Paradise Lost for the win!), but also for the stand he’s taken against sexuality in movies. I think it’s a message that many Christians need to hear—and that too few Christians are willing to speak.

But I must say that at the outset, I wasn’t too happy when Cap started thinking we might need to stop seeing films that objectify women. I mean, I wanted to see Star Trek Into Darkness! I wanted to see Catching Fire! I teach high school; I need to stay relevant! All my students were seeing them! All my friends were seeing them! But because actresses stripped down in both films, Cap wouldn’t pay to support turning them into sexual objects. Which meant I was alone in the dark, shying from spoilers like a spooked pony and eagerly asking my students, “Was it awesome?”

Cap is not afraid to be different from other people. And sometimes that’s uncomfortable for me.

Like the time he studied the Sabbath and decided that we needed to take a weekly day off work. None of my friends were doing that. None of the ladies I respected so much from our church were doing that. Certainly none of my fellow grad students were doing that! It meant we had to miss out on some events that non-Sabbath-keepers had planned for Sunday afternoons. It meant I was certainly bound to be 1/7 dumber than all my fellow grad students.

Heck, I even chafed when he decided to buy a Lutheran Study Bible. Why couldn’t he just want the ESV Study Bible like all the other godly people at church?

The ironic trap I keep falling into is this: though I fell in love with Cap for the ways he was different from other men, when we got married I wanted him to be just like all the other girls’ husbands.

It’s always rooted in comparison. I don’t necessarily want more than my friends at church have, but I do want at least what they have. I don’t want to miss out on movies they see, or the Sunday activities they do, or Santa Claus, or Halloween, or whatever else Cap might decide isn’t best for our family.

The reason I write about this is that I think most young wives (and who knows, maybe some older ones too) struggle with this to some degree. “I want a house because everyone else has one.” “We’re not having babies as fast as my friends are having babies.” “I want TOMs because I feel like a dork in my old Rocket Dogs.” “I want a bigger house because everyone else has one.” And if your husband doesn’t make enough money for a house yet, or says you need to wait on children, or decides that twenty pairs of shoes is enough and you don’t need TOMs, then that’s BAD of him.

When you were dating, you would have said, “As long as I have you, any of those things is fine!” And now that you’re married, you think, in the deepest darkest recesses of your grasping little mind, “He’s holding me back from what I want.”

I don’t know. Maybe I’m the only one who has that deepest darkest recess in my mind. Maybe all of you are thinking, “Yikes, Cap married a winner, didn’t he?” But as a young wife myself, I hear a lot of young-wife-talk around church, and I think a lot of us struggle with this.

Here’s the thing, though. Some of the ways I’ve been most blessed are the differences I initially protested. I would never trade my Sabbath rest now: Sunday is my favorite day of the week. I have seen so much growth in holiness, strength in Cap’s battle with lust, and enjoyment of our marriage now that we’re more careful with our movies. And yes, I’ve even benefited from the notes in his clunky Lutheran Study Bible. I don’t feel like I’m missing out anymore. I feel like others are missing out.

I teach at our home school co-op, and my job puts me in contact with a bunch of awesome kids. I love them all, but there’s one pattern I’ve noticed in many of the kids who most impress me with their spiritual maturity: they have all had something “normal” withheld from them. Maybe their parents said “no” to Harry Potter. Maybe their parents didn’t give them Easter baskets. It’s something different for each family, and I won’t list them all here.

My point is not that Harry Potter or Easter baskets are wrong—hey, I like both. My point is that their parents weren’t slaves to what was normal, to what everyone else had, when they were raising their kids. Their kids learned from the get-go that “everyone else has one” is not a good enough reason to get something. Would that I could now learn that as a wife!

Well, here’s a verse that I find encouraging. I’m no super-theologian like Cap, so this might be out of context, but the Spirit has applied this passage to this area of my life recently:

For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. (1 Peter 3:5)

Okay, so maybe Rachel Held Evans would roll her eyes at me for quoting the above. But look at what I’ve highlighted: it’s adorning to submit to your own husband (i.e., not to someone else’s husband’s standard). That means that if you’re reading this post, my goal is not to convince you that Cap’s standard is best. It is best for me. And the tenets your husband leads by are best for you (as long as they’re rooted in serious biblical principles).

They’re best for you! I never would have chosen some of the paths Cap has led me down. That means I would have missed out on the blessings I’m getting by following him. I think I know what’s best for me, but I don’t. God does, and He’s giving me what I need—sometimes against my protests—through my husband.

The verse also says that these women are hoping in God. He’s what I want to hope in—not relevance, not normalcy, not middle class comfort, but God Himself, bigger and more beautiful than any of those fleeting, transparent pleasures could ever hope to be.

photo credit: rikomatic via photopin cc