Saturday, May 30, 2009

Dawn

Yesterday was Dawn's 47th birthday. Pretty good day, I think, all around. She said she wanted mostly help clawing our way out from under the piles of accumulated undone chores, financial arrangements, and household bidness obligations. We got out from under quite a bit of it in the past 10 days, so all is (more) well.

I should write about her, but I'll only do so indirectly, in my own reflecting on living with and trying to be a decent husband / brother-in-Christ / partner in life to her...

On the superficial level, I love the look she has these days, and am so proud to be seen with her in public.

My fifth grade Sunday School teacher, Mr. Redding, said that as we moved into junior high we needed to watch how we viewed and evaluated women. He said, more or less in these terms, that you would see a woman as she looks now, and not as she might look down the road, or as she is today, but not as she once looked. And of course you would only *see* how she *looks.* So you might say, especially of an older woman--he / we meant one past her early thirties (this was before "Desperate Housewives," 'cougars,' and "Stacy's Mom")--that she's not very beautiful. But her husband would reply, So you think, but you don't know her as I do.

Overall still in a fairly superficial, stereotyped vein, but not misogynistic, like many comments I grew up with were.

I think that while one definitely has natural "love language(s)," over time any and all expressions of love might be required, appropriate, might connect and convey effectively, in changing circumstances. So works of service and quality time were much more important this year than, say, gifts or listening as such.

So: some movie set in Italy, maybe "Il Postino" I don't know, I saw only once. The last scene shows an older (60ish) man walking down a hill with a group of variously-aged younger men from a hilltop wedding. I think I've mentioned this before. And he's just saying, So, when you know your wife, you will know what she deals with and what she does in her days. So if you know she will need a fire that day for washing, be sure the wood is cut to the right length and in place before she ever gets to the laundry. And if you know she will want...

Still in the mode of traditional roles, but deeply caring.

We are basically like the bald kid in the first "Matrix" movie. We don't really believe that there is a spoon. So I don't think we *try* to do things "outside the box," because I don't think we really (as opposed to psychologically or sociologically) believe that there is a box. We relate as seems best to us over time, in the context of our vows and of our overall commitment to Jesus first and to missional living.

And so where's that portrayed? Where's the good model of nontraditional, nonsuperficial, nonstereotyped relationships?

Uh.

Um.

"Mr. & Mrs. Smith"? With handguns drawn over green beans? (We love the movie, but I am no Brad Pitt to Dawn's Angelina Jolie.)

Janis and Gareth in "Chef"? (Some of the very best contemporary marital dialogue anywhere, but they eventually get divorced in the end in the British tv series.)

So. Ahem. Role models?

Er.

Um.

And so we grope our way forward, with Wendell Berry's "The Country of Marriage" in one hand, numerous object lessons as to how not to do it all around, lovely examples of great relationships in cultural contexts other than our own all around, and prayer and (idiosyncratic?) biblical readings to undergird it all. She has entrusted over half her life to me, what a privilege and responsibility.

Happy Birthday, her.

1 Comments:

Blogger LA the plannerd said...

Yay Dawn and marriage!! I thought about her all day Thursday, remembered at first light this morning, but was apparently consumed by other thoughts (and, mostly, trying to kill a threatening cold with massive doses of sleep) to remember on the ACTUAL day. Expect belated love!!

12:26 PM  

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