This was originally post on November 24, 2013 at On the Rock (very slightly edited for content).
I am very much a “Why?” person. I find the answer to that question to be motivating. The answer to “why” tells me the reason to accomplish a task as, to me, simply being told or asked to do something is not enough (also, knowing why teaches me things I would never have figured out without asking).
This very much defined the beginning of my marriage. Maritus would ask or tell me to do something, something I didn’t understand and simply did not wish to do. So, my very first thought and word from my mouth was, “Why?”. Sometimes it was asked snottily, because good grief, what do you want me to do now!? Sometimes it was a genuine inquiry because I simply could not figure out the reason and I wanted to learn something that might help me another time. Then one day, when I responded this way, he looked at me and said, “One of these days, something is going to be flying at your head and I’m going to say, ‘DUCK!’ And you’re going to turn around and ask, ‘Why?’” At first, I think I just smirked at him. Then I remember it hitting me. He was exactly right. In my need to know why, to either give him a hard time, or to help me understand, I was missing the big picture. My husband needed me to listen, sometimes immediately and without question. And very often, this would very much be for my own good. Even if it’s not, he still has a very good reason for what he is telling me to do.
It would still take years for me to fully understand the implications of what Maritus said to me that day, though I did start to get better at simply listening to him. I would still get frustrated and give him looks when asked to do something, but I started doing it without question. Part of me knew that this was right, though I didn’t fully understand it yet. Over time, even the ungrateful looks disappeared and I would simply do what was asked. But it wasn’t until these last few months that it really came into focus what was going on. Maritus is the head of our home. He is the leader and in him I must fully trust. I must trust that what he is asking me to do, whether I like it or not, he has a very good reason for it to be done. Even if it makes zero sense to me, I must trust that it makes sense to him and since he needs me to do it, I just need to do it. Sometimes he will explain it to me and sometimes he won’t. If he doesn’t, I must understand that he has a very good reason for this.
I was shocked at one point, when Maritus actually forbade me to do something. He forbade me read a book. It wasn’t so shocking that he forbade me read the book so much as I was stunned that his doing so didn’t bother me in the least. I still had that momentary flash of mild anger, but it immediately disappeared. That flash was a byproduct of habit. Nothing more than that. It was replaced by surprise in the realization that, I was happy about this. You see, Maritus forbade me from reading this book because he knew that I would be terrified by it. He was doing it to protect me. There have ben other instances of him telling me to do or not to do things that have only sent the message further home.
We don’t always need to know the “why” of everything (and, as Maritus is fond of telling me, “There is time for “Why” later). Oftentimes, our marriages must simply come down to trust. So many women these days staunchly believe that we must be the decision makers of our home and our family. Even when we don’t really have a good reason not to trust our men, we just don’t. We’ve been told so often through our culture that men are untrustworthy creatures and simply not as bright as we are. We fear letting go of the control we have in our relationship and our pride demands that we hold fast to that control. That fear is shown in our lack of trust in the man that we vowed we would be with through thick and thin. We say, “Sure! I trust him!” But what we mean is that we trust he will not cheat. We don’t think for a second that he will run off with another woman because we trust his fidelity. But what we DO NOT trust is his ability to do what is best for us and for our families. We do not trust him to make the correct decision, i.e. the decision we would have made. It’s time to let go of this idea that men do not know as much as we do and that our decision is the only correct one. Our men might even know and understand a whole lot more.
Your husband deserves your trust.** His decisions will not always be the correct ones. But he needs to know that even if he makes a mistake, you still have his back. He needs to know that should he tell you to duck, you will do so immediately without needing to know the why. He needs to know, in that crucial moment, you will not second guess him. We must trust that the man we chose to spend our lives with loves us. The decisions he makes are what he believes to be the best for the family. While we might not like or understand (we may even hate) the decision that he makes, it is based on what he believes is right. Through this trust, you have his back; you will support him through the decision even if it ends up being the wrong one. Trust often times means doing somethings that you will not understand, will not be comfortable with and will sometimes even loathe to do, but in your love and submission you will still give to him freely. You may be surprised by what this trust inspires in your man.
** I realize that there are men out there who truly are unworthy of trust. For those single women, you must be fully sure that the man you marry will love you (love as an action). Vet him through your trusted friends and family, most preferably through a man. Men are better judges of other men and their motivations (just as women are often better judges of other women). For those women who have married a man in whom trust is a difficult thing for past mistakes, you have to work hard to submit and trust your husband. Yours is a difficult path, but change can happen.