To all my independent sisters who are afraid of getting married
“When you get married you totally lose your independence.”
Yikes. That was the exact sentence I used to say often, less than 2 years before I tied the knot. Marriage was not exactly in the Top 10 of my life goals, nor did I really understand what it meant for an outgoing, woman-with-a-plan, self-governing person like me to become hitched to another person.
Would I get a say in our life choices? Would I lose all my friends? Would I have to change who I am?
These are just a few of the questions I had when considering entering a serious relationship not only with my husband, but with my Savior.
After a boy dumped me early on in my messy and ugly dating saga, I swore to myself I would never get hurt again. I remember crying hard, wiping my tears, and telling myself “you will always be in control of your relationships”.
Boy, was I wrong.
I spent a lot of my in high school and college yeas drifting from one relationship to another, never letting anyone too close. Despite being surrounded by dozens of healthy and happy couples, I thought “that will never happen for me, and I’m okay with that” (raise your hand if you can relate, amiright?).
Marriage is exemplified in the bible all OVER the place – it is used as a synonym to Christ’s love for the church (Ephesians 5:22-32) and is often used to show selflessness and empathy (Philippians 2:3-10). Not only this, but it shows clear roles that a woman can take in her role as a wife, including being a helper –for those of you who just cringed at that word, congrats, you’re independent.
As I dug around scripture and tried to discover my place in this new role, I found a few key points that I think are useful to other women like me:
Submission does not mean slavery.
Being a wife that makes decisions alongside your husband and respects his leadership is a GOOD thing. If you’re marrying the right person, most times it may not even feel like submission. However, a lot of times it’s hard to agree on everything 100% of the time. Without getting too much into details, I’ve found that it makes me feel loved and understood when my husbands listens to my point of view, concerns, fears and millions of opinions before we make a decision – this way I’m much more susceptible to new ideas or solutions. My husband also knows my struggles with pride, and makes a point to affirm me how loved and respected he feels when I let him lead me.
Conflict doesn’t have to lead to chaos.
In past relationships, I was always the big personality that was “too much to handle”. In fights, I fought hard and tended to say a lot of hurtful words (sound familiar, anyone?). Once I looked into it, the book of James really helped me to calm down and go back to the basics – listen before speaking, be slow to become angry. These principles help me tremendously when I am tempted to sink into the selfish world of hurting rather than helping.
Control isn’t everything
This was a big one for me. Being a person who has thrived on doing things my way and thinking my way is always best, I’ve sunken into a rhythm of completely dismissing my husband and taking over every aspect of our lives. There have been times when I’m so busy planning that before I know it I’ve developed a 5 year plan with a house, dog and two kids without even talking to my husband about it – yikes.
Personally, I believe I am this way simply from being let down in previous relationships, and thinking “If it doesn’t get done my way, it won’t get done the right way”. This is NOT true! It is simply something we’ve trained ourselves to believe, when in reality letting go of that control can sometimes be the most freeing thing you can do for your relationship with your husband, and even God.
While this is something I struggle with, I love the way God has moved in that area of my life. Showing me time after time that when I let my husband in to take a little control, he doesn’t disappoint. It’s a stress relief for me, it’s a leadership boost for him, and it strengthens our marriage tremendously.
Ultimately, there is no one fix for our fears as independent women when it comes to letting someone else into our world. It is messy, difficult and sometimes hard to swallow. However, be encouraged that your personality is the forefront of how God made you. Even the ideal “Proverbs 31 Woman” was a hard worker with a lot on her plate. If you are struggling with this in your relationship, talk to your partner. Talk to God. Talk to another independent sister.
Remember, just because we’re loud, doesn’t mean we know everything.
Can I get an amen?