Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A Man's Best Friend ~ A Humble Wife's Story About Submission

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Ephesians 5:22-24 NIV
Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands.
 A few years ago, my friend gave my daughter a guinea pig. This would be our first "family pet." We had him for a while until we realized his favorite pastime was kicking his poo all over the floor. With a newly crawling baby girl, I did not want to risk her eating the pellets. He was a lot of work and my daughter was hardly two and the pig quickly became too much work for me. We found him a good home with an elderly lady.

About a year after that, we were offered a cat. Now, my husband hates cats but allowed the adoption because he loves his girls. Anyway, a week after getting him home, we realized that he peed on everything BUT his litter. Shoes, carpet, blankets, toys... nothing could escape the wrath of this cat's pee. We returned him to where we got him.  

A while after that, my husband and I began talking about how we were done having kids and maybe a dog was a good idea. We started talking over options for a pooch and we both really wanted a German Shepard. However, an opportunity came across that we could try to adopt a free dog found on the side of the road. We knew the risk but took her in for a few days. She had eye problems and was old. My oldest named her Carol (insert a shrug here). She would bite my newly crawling daughter for no reason and was super moody. Clearly not into having kids being involved in her life. We found her an old widower who really wanted a dog, and she did well there without kids.
But we really wanted a dog. By "we" I really mean, I. I really wanted a dog. My husband was fine with the idea of dog ownership but wanted a more ideal situation for a dog: lots of land, older kids, a house without white carpet. I had in my mind a dog that defended their family at all costs, sat awake at night defending the girl's beds, jogged perfectly by my side, pooped in the same spot in the yard each time, never chewed on anything but it's own bone, and came in the house dry, even after being out in the rain. You know the kind.

Well, my husband did something unusual. He said, "No." Now hear me out on this one. I never really have to ask him before I make a purchase or do something. I have always honored him with my time and purchases. My husband knows my heart. He knows the girls get clothes from garage sales for .25 cents a piece. He knows I only buy things with coupons and above all else, I love Dave Ramsey. So, he trusts me and I honor him in that way.
Moving on! He was not the only person who told me that having a dog, in the middle of the city, in a small house, with young kids was a horrible idea. Quite a few people were saying to maybe just wait a few extra years. But I justified my need for a dog (and by need, I meant want). Don't get me wrong. I LOVE DOGS! I really do. They are a man's absolute best friend after all.
After all the advice from others, toppled onto my husband's response, I began to manipulate. I did not see my: sending him pictures of cute fluffy puppies for sale, following him around the house reading him descriptions of the best family pooch breeds, and asking multiple times, as being manipulative. I saw it as, "making an informed decision before making a larger purchase," and "being responsible before jumping into something permanent." But no matter how much research I did, the answer remained the same. "Not right now."

Finally, one day, I showed him a puppy and said, basically, I was going to go get our new puppy. My husband let me. I brought home a Goldendoodle and we named him Toby. If ever there is a perfect family dog, it would be a doodle and if there ever was a perfect doodle, it was this Toby. 

If there ever was a horrible time to get pregnant for your third time, it would be while trying to raise a puppy. Being pregnant exposed everything wrong with having a puppy the size of a white tail deer, in the middle of town, in a small house, with long hair, through winter, with white carpet. Of course, while having morning sickness, extreme fatigue, and sleepless nights, I simply could NOT enjoy the dog. I could not work with the dog to train him to sit, stay, roll over, pray before he eats, and not to eat full plates of food right off the table. I was over whelmed and under amused. Not to mention, he chewed all my shoes, my kids toys, and anything else he could get his "chompers" on.
I knew pretty quickly that I simply could not keep up. We listed him and sold him.

But wait, the plot thickens.

The family came to pick up Toby. As they loaded him up and backed out of the driveway, my husband began to ugly cry. The kind of cry where you have snot on your face and all sorts of other things happen to make your face not like it once was. As they began to back out, the woman also began to cry in her car. As they drove away, my husband, sort of, you know, followed them. It reminded me of the scene where the dad in "Beethoven" takes the huge mass of a dog to be put down for biting that cruel doctor and the kids chased the car. Yeah, it didn't go well.

You see, I sold my husbands dog. His pal who was excited to see him come home. His pal who was excited to hop up in his masters truck for a ride. A pal who loved our itty bitty girls like his own little pack. A pal who was rather fluffy and all sorts of cute. In reality, I sold my husband's friend. The next two days were really hard. John was not recovering well from my sale.

I however, was shampooing carpets, humming, and jolly.

One week later I received an email. It went something like this, paraphrased, of course, "Hi, Kirsten. I am sorry to say Toby is not doing well here. I am deathly allergic to him. Can you come take him back?" Now, the Goldendoodle breed are hypoallergenic dogs. They don't shed. I instantly knew they felt bad for my husband. I cried. I begged God, "BUT LORD, I JUST CLEANED MY CARPET!" I couldn't understand why this was happening.

A few days later we pulled in the driveway with Toby in tow. It was my turn to not recover well for a few days.

Today, I look down at this horse laying at my feet. It's snowing now in the Midwest. I can prove it. My long haired beast brings the wetness in with him every single time he goes out to relieve himself. I will not even speak about my carpet, how many pairs of mittens he has eaten, or about the fact that he is now tall enough to eat food off the table without permission. I won't tell you about how bad his farts smell, how he snores in his sleep, or how he claimed my 'chair and a half' and now no human sits there because of the residue that covers the chair. This dog I hated so much has claimed my furniture.

And my heart. He loves my kids. He loves my husband. He still loves car rides, bagels (with cream cheese) when you walk away from your plate,  and we even get along pretty well, most days. I realize now that I am stuck with this decision for the next ten or so years. Through him I have learned the most valuable lesson.

"Respect my husband." Listen to him. You see, my husband didn't tell me no because he wanted to ruin my life. He told me no because he knew exactly what would happen. He knew that we didn't have the time, space, or energy to commit. He knew that I am a huge neat freak. He knew that this wasn't the best choice for me in this season of our lives. I know that now. I know that I need to submit myself to him even when we do not agree because he really does take looking out for our family seriously.

I have learned that in submitting to my husband as the decision maker that I am honoring God. God is the head of our home above my husband. My husband respects God and humbly serves us in his leadership. He is a man I can trust to make these choices for us. A good man with a wise, kind heart. God has taught me to respect and honor my husband as the head of our home. He is teaching  me about the little things that I do that undermine his authority and the ways that I lack respect for him. God is refining me each day. Every time I look at Toby I am reminded of how I can better submit to  and support John.

God has also been teaching me about love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal 5:22).

Now, if you will excuse me,  it sounds like Toby may have just eaten my Toddler's muffin.


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