I have to admit that I was suffering from a bout of boredom or insanity when I decided to experiment with being more submissive to my husband. Take a poll asking friends and family to describe me, submissive will not rank- it would not even get an honorable mention. In my opinion, a man who cannot trust a woman to conduct herself properly should not marry her. We are equals and our relationship is honest and forgiving enough for each of us to ask for and expect what we need.My husband purposely married me for my fierce independence, but I wondered if he wouldn’t be happier if I was more docile or dependent.
So I made in impromptu list of the behaviors a wife is supposed to display and went to work. Of course I would have to conduct a blind test. The temptation to put me through the paces would be too great for my normally mild-mannered hubby. I could just imagine the smirk on his face as he filed down his newly sprouted horns while visions of “yes dears” danced in his head.
I began immediately last Friday night. I had to be subtle. He knows me too well and would have become suspicious and maybe a little frightened had I come in all sweetness and light offering backrubs and pedicures. I decided to stick to a subject I was familiar with- dinner. It did not go as planned.
Normally I decide the menu, cook and serve (when I feel like it- there’s nothing wrong with his arms) and many nights I don’t cook at all because…wait for it….I don’t feel like it. So this particular night I decided to ask hubs if and what I should cook. I expected him to say ‘sure’ and dictate the menu, but he did the unexpected- he said “nah, I’ll get it myself”. ‘HE KNOWS!’ I thought for a brief, irrational moment, but I quickly pulled it back together and changed strategies. I offered up several of my Southern specialties to entice him, but he wouldn’t budge. Then a strange thing happened. I got pissed.
Here I was offering him the dream. How dare he not exploit me for my domestic qualities! I would not be ignored. Over the next three days I was a quiet, gave him alone time and moved around washing this, baking that and caring for the kids without his help. I gave of my time and energy without argument or thought for my own needs, but he made no demands. This was actually disturbing to me. I felt invisible. I was about to learn that fake experiments produce real results and they are not always pleasant.
The experiment turned dark. For the first time I understood the desperation of women who love abusive men. They spend the entirety of the relationship trying to “get it right”. I was struggling to please him and placed my worth and ability to be happy in succeeding at doing so. I had no inner voice-my most trusted guidance. All my cues were external and whenever a person gives their power to an external source other than The Source suffering follows.
We never fight, but we came as close as we ever had the next morning when he called me on his way to work to inform me he had accidentally taken my car keys. He asked me if I wanted him to bring them home. I should have asserted myself and asked him to bring my keys back, but I deferred to him. He decided to forego returning my keys. I was not happy with his choice. I felt so powerless and that made me angry. I left him and took the kids two states away to stay with a girlfriend.
I have seen more serious version of this minor conflict play out in the lives of many sisters. No matter what the dictionary says, there is a huge difference between submission and deference. When Allah made us and set the order of the universe, I don’t believe He meant for us to give up our free will and wait for our lives to be decided for us. Yet this is the very interpretation that many religious people take.
Women wither on the vine hiding their talents, ignoring their desires, having their personal space encroached upon in the name of being a submissive wife. I believe marriage is made in heaven. My husband and I both bring talents to our relationship that makes us greater than the sum of our parts. We are both worker bees, but I am a visionary and dreamer while he tends to be more grounded. I am passionate and go about 100 miles an hour through every task while he has one very measured pace and nothing excites him. He needs my contributions as much as I need his. As women we must bring our talents, gifts, personality traits, passions and unique voice to our relationships or we are reduced to drudges and breeders.
The experiment has ended and while I’m sure I look like a total nut to leave my husband over an experiment I contrived, I learned a huge lesson about the importance of being authentic. I am who I am and trying to be anyone else, no matter how noble the reason, will have disastrous results. We made up after my interstate fugitive episode and he is happy with his sassy, strong and very present wife. Now I’ve got to go. I’m cooking breakfast.