It is a skill we all learn from birth. To cry, sleep, kick.
It is a skill we learn after understanding right from wrong.
- When I was a child, my parents made decisions for me.
- When I was a single, I made decisions with my parents' guidance.
- So what's the next step, when I am married?
I have had this conversation with many Indian women (married/single) about independent decision-making. It's a conversation that leads into an argument of our role as a spouse.
Naturally, as a woman, there are thoughts of 'oppression' and 'dependence" that creep in, but I've learned the role of a decision-maker is progressive.
Growing up in an Indian community, there was never a clear guide on what a healthy role was for the wife in decision-making. It was always a mix of extremes ranging from Bossypants to Underpants. Either "I'm the boss" or "I'm under the boss." Neither works because they're both unhealthy and lead to dead ends.
What I've learned about a wife's role has come from the Bible. In popular belief, the Bible's take on a wife's role is always dumbed down to "wives submitting to their husbands." Clearly, if I took those five words and identified God's heart, I would not accept Him. It is unnatural for a human to be told to submit your full mind to another human.
Break It Down:
- Book of Ephesians: A letter from apostle Paul to the Christians in Ephesus.
- Paul: An apostle that traveled through the Roman empire, spreading the message of Christ.
- Ephesus: A thriving city within the Roman empire.
- Greco-Roman household: Man was the master of the household. It was a place to serve the master's wishes (watch any Roman movie).
- Role of a woman: Do the will of your master under the threat of death. Bear children. Accept that your husband may have mistresses and treat you poorly.
Paul was writing a letter, challenging these masters/husbands to break that culture. To be revolutionary. Husbands were told to love their wives and to be sacrificial. They were told to treat them as their own flesh. The opposite of everything that their society had defined.
Wives were told to respect and to accept their husbands as their protectors and leaders. Not as their masters or owners. He writes, "However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband."
Decision-making in a married household isn't a one-man/woman job. Nor was it ever the intention. Decisions are discussions rooted in love and respect of each others' God-given roles. Unless of course, it's the last Chewy Chips Ahoy cookie. Then, it's every man/woman for themselves.