Something has not been sitting well for a long time. For the past year and one-half or so B has mentioned that he needs me to obey. This conversation has come up more than I care to count. It goes something like this:
“What does this mean to you to have me obey?” I ask.
“That I am the man of the house.”
“That you listen to what I have to say.”
“That you respect me.”
“That you respect the authority that comes with being the head of the household.”
“That I have the last and final word about everything.”
And then out comes the bible verse that he starts quoting:
22 Wives, obey your husbands as you obey the Lord.
23 The husband is the head of the wife, just as Christ is the head of the church people. The church is his body and he saved it.
24 Wives should obey their husbands in everything, just as the church people obey Christ.
And that is where is all goes to shit.
I am an almost 60 yo woman. Children obey. Dogs obey. Not women who are my age. They explode with vitality and life. They laugh. They explore. They are adventurous. They drink wine. They don’t obey.
Frankly, this discussion has gotten old. It has been going on so long that I can’t believe it continues. It is now November and it’s not the cold weather that is getting the inside of our home a little frosty. It’s this point of contention.
“If you want someone to obey you then I am the wrong woman for you!!!”
And, frankly, I am. The wrong woman. I suspect, Nhi, the Vietnam tour guide has assured him that she would be his submissive and obedient wife. That she would ask his permission. Iron his underwear. And agree with everything he says.
And you know what? There is no way that I can compete with this fantasy that he tells himself about her and their “perfect relationship.”
I have tried.
“Okay,” I suggest.”I will obey Monday, Wednesday and Friday. You obey Tuesday, Thursdays and Saturdays and Sundays we will take the day off.”
My suggestion does not go over well.
These days I often ask myself where did this OBEY thing come from? Why the sudden need to control me, your equal partner of 30 years, and your loving wife? What does it say about you that you think you need this and what does it say about me that I even listen to this crap?
Sometimes I go through a list of things that could be causing this OBEY thing to resonate so deeply in his head. What is it that can change a man into someone that is not even remotely recognizable? The only thing I can come up with is a brain tumor. Yet, there are no other signs and symptoms to suggest such a thing.
So here goes:
Sorry, but if you don’t feel like the man of the house I cannot give you permission to be the man of this house for that permission is granted to you from within your own head. You have to believe it and nothing I can say or do will convince you of it unless you decide to see you as I see you. Your insecurity about your manhood has nothing to do with me.
And so we are at a stalemate but what we are really at is the end. If you need me to submit to your will and to hold yourself above me then your mental health issues are getting much too serious for me to contend with. I am feeling mentally unsafe with you.
Yet, if I am honest with myself part of me understands this whole obey kick. I have done everything you have asked of me and hung in there when I should have left long ago. The only thing that I could never agree to, and you know it, is to obey. And so you use it against me to force me out because I have too much integrity to lie and agree to something I could never do.
You, sir, are behaving not like a mature adult man but instead you are behaving like a coward. Grow up and finally be the man you want to be…just be that man with the woman you really “love” and not me.
I wrote this in November. In the next few days I will let you know the changes that have occurred in my life since this piece was written. You won’t believe it…because I still don’t!