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The Way We Were

ORGANIZED UNDER: Marriage // Women

My friend Sally and I sat in our theater seats, sobbing and barely able to speak. Hubbell had left Katie for the last time, and as the credits rolled, we sighed. There was nothing more romantic to two college girls than the dashing, blue-eyed Robert Redford in uniform, indifferently walking away from the woman he loved, holding on to only a memory of the way they were!

In a few short years, as I graduated, married, and began to raise children, my idea of soul mate perfection changed. I had my own handsome man in uniform, but what attracted me even more were those qualities rarely shown on the big screen: a dad who wrestled with the kids, changed diapers, dried dishes, was kind and forgiving, and really listened when I talked to him. Forty years later, this is still what makes sparks for me!

Godly Christian Homeschool Marriage

In our early years as homeschooling parents, we were introduced to an “approved” version of “the godly Christian homeschool marriage,” and suddenly everything changed. Rather than continuing to enjoy our lovely, organic family life, we were handed lists of man-made rules and silly paradigms in magazines and on convention book tables. Feeling the peer pressure of other moms, I was tempted by false expectations and discontentment. I no longer thrived being my gregarious, free-spirited self and began to substitute my life with what I had been told were the true marks of godly womanhood. My poor husband wondered where the fun-and-joy-filled wife of his youth was hiding. Ignoring the truth that each marriage and each couple are a unique reflection of the individual gifts and talents they bring into the relationship, I found myself trying to stuff both of us into a box. It was a miserable time.

Thankfully, along our spiritual journey, we began to examine what Scripture really teaches about the beauty of a relationship between a husband and wife. I took off the idolatrous blinders I was wearing and could see more clearly what the Lord wanted me to know: our marriage relationship here on earth will only last for a short time, but our relationship as brother and sister in Christ is for eternity. As we began applying all the “one another” passages of Scripture in our marriage . . . love one another, forgive one another, exhort one another, submit to one another, encourage one another (as well as the other fifty “one another” verses), once again, we were able to experience joy and harmony. By God’s grace, that lovely, organic relationship was restored; we returned to the way we were!

Over the years, I have spent a lot of time talking with younger wives who find themselves walking down a similar path, headed toward a paradigm that is neither sustainable nor biblical. For many, so much damage has already been done that they feel like giving up. For others, peer and family pressure insists that they continue on this path, though in their heart of hearts these dear moms know it will likely end in
destruction. Still others grew up in homes where family life was one big exercise in role-playing, but they want their own marriages to be the real deal.

So what is the first step?

I believe it begins by looking at your own husband and choosing to be content with what you see! It means concentrating on how we can grow ourselves in God’s grace, conforming to the image of Christ, trusting that he is also working in your husband’s life and in your marriage. God will bless us as we purpose to obey all the “one anothers” of Scripture in word and deed.

Author Laura Ingalls Wilder once wrote:

Things and persons appear to us according to the light we throw upon them…unconsciously we judge others by the light that is within ourselves, condemning or approving them with our own conception of right or wrong, honor or dishonor. We show by our judgment just what the light within us is.

And so it is with each wife who considers her own marriage relationship and her own husband. Let me encourage you to get rid of the unhealthy paradigms of marriage and family life and pursue your husband with wild abandon! Let an organic marriage be the way you are!

Karen Campbell, who holds a BS in Human Relations and Secondary Education from Judson University, is a 28-year veteran of homeschooling, the mom of six children, grandmother of 14, and has been married to her husband, Clay, for 38 years. Karen loves baking and cooking for the whole gang when they are home and is actively involved in her local Toastmasters Club. In fact, citing Lucy Ricardo as her inspiration, she once won the District Humorous Speaking Contest for her tale of the homeschooling mom who mummified a chicken! They live on the Illinois prairie where Karen blogs and podcasts about relationship homeschooling at www.thatmom.com.

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