Being Equal Partners, What does that mean to you? "In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners." (Family Proclamation, paragraph 7)
I feel this topic is a little redundant in the inital thoughts I have had. I have talked about the roles I feel the fathers have and those that the mothers have, and how Jeremy and I are in our relationship. This topic made me search a little deeper into the topic and seek other ideas. I think it will help the way I look at my marriage.
I came across a talk "Crossing Thresholds and Becoming Equal Partners" by Elder Bruce C. Hafen of the Seventy.
It starts out with this scenerio:
His house key is in the lock. He’s home from work and about to step inside. In the kitchen, real life is scattered all around. The baby is crying. The three-year-old just poured milk—not in a glass but all over the counter. The seven-year-old needs some daddy attention. And dinner isn’t ready.
With a deadline at work tomorrow, a head buzzing from rush-hour traffic, and a Church meeting tonight, he’s hoping she will greet him with some relief.
Hearing him come in, she is glad a relief party has arrived! But when she sees his face fall as he looks around, she defends herself: “Look—I work all day too. I’ve been with these kids nonstop, and I really need a break. Will you please fix this macaroni and cheese and help with the kids?”
In the heat of her request, his hope evaporates into exasperation, and he is about to react.
At this crossroads of their busy day, these two have some choices. Will they use this moment to practice being the kind of companion each has covenanted to become? Or will each one default to past conditioning—familial and cultural? Certain attitudes and ideas have crept into the very air they breathe, challenging them as they try to work with each other rather than against each other.
This is our house almost daily, although Jeremy is the one to roll up his sleeves and dig in and I will continue trying to get dinner on the table, which has become more of a struggle sas of late. I believe on Monday we were actually eating dinner at 8:15pm when he walked in the door from a late night at work. It was totally my fault not his, but I think he was glad to at least have a meal with his family. It makes the hardships of the day more tolerable!
It is at these times when you are both at your wits end and just need relief that you can tell how equal your relationship is. If one is alway throwing their hands up in the air and saying it is your turn. There isn't an equality or respect for their partner, I am not aying which one. It could be the one who constanly dumps on the wife or the wife who is never rolling up her sleeves and digging in. I think it is out of respect for me that Jeremy comes into the home after a long, grueling, stressful day at work, with the simple desire to relax and enjoy the one thing that matters most to him, that he ALWAYS gives me a kiss and gets to work. By doing this it allows me time to get dinner prepared and cool down and we get to enjoy a meal together where we are all relaxed and most at ease.
Later in the article it says:
Temple marriage covenants do not magically bring equality to a partnership. Those covenants commit us to a developmental process of learning and growing together—by practice.
You know that saying if it is not worth working for it isn't worth it, this is just like that. When you get married, it means that you have the initial love for each other (earlier in this article it states that "love is not a possession but participation," that means WORK!). Marriage is about communication, commitment, and work! It is through the hard times that your love grows and the bonds of marriage are stronger. I feel Jeremy and I are blessed to have the marriage that we do, I try not to take it for granted and make sure he knows how valuable I know he is to me. I know he is far wiser than I am. I have always been similar to a tea kettle (I think I have said this repeatedly!) I simmer, simmer, simmer, where no one can see, then the steam blows and lets out a nice powerful whistle. That is what I do and from the beginning, I don't know if it was wisdom or fear from my startling response, Jeremy has always let me blow off that steam. After that I could talk about it AND do so reasonably.
The article ends with this:
If our young couple could only know that this love is what they could feel and understand at the end of their lives, what wouldn’t they give! They’d listen more and choose better, over and over, day after day, crossing after crossing. They would learn, by patient experience, that “work is love made visible.” They would realize as the years pass that their marriage is helping them become better disciples of Jesus Christ, even becoming a little more like Him. Then they would understand as they cross the final threshold of mortality that the extent to which they have become one with Him is the extent to which they are one with each other.
So in the end it is about having an equal partnership of three, you, your spouse and a loving Father in Heaven. The more each person in the marriage tries to be Christlike the stronger the marriage will be and you will be able to see that equality of partnership shine through.
I am grateful for the opportunity to put some thought into this topic. I am far from a perfect wife and I would be lying if I didn't say that I feel, at times, Jeremy didn't exactly choose wisely when he married me. I feel like I am dropping the ball most days when the never ending list of chores lay untouched but my leisure book is read, and I am caught up on my blog reading and emails for the day. Yet I remain stressed that the house is a mess. Jeremy knows I try and that I love him, when times get tough, he knows I am always here waiting to support him in all things and that is what matters most.