men: avoid the doghouse

Now, in all fairness, I have to admit that I bought FirstHusband a tape backup drive one year for Valentine’s Day. And he bought me printer memory one year. But we were newly married. And broke. And we couldn’t print anything but text.

But the ONLY vacuum cleaner allowed as a gift? The iRobot Roomba Vacuuming Robot. A few years ago, I got a iRobot Scooba Floor-Washing Robot for Mother’s Day.

I LOVE it. Again. LOVE it.

This video is really great – completely worth the 4 minutes, 45 seconds to watch it! I love subtle, smart humor. The folding, the recorded message in the background, the lunch menu.

Need a few more chuckles today? Check out Friday Funnies hosted by Homesteaders Heart!

sorry ladies, he’s taken.

Perusing Craigslist today and ran across the “Outback “Porta Privy

Me: “Outback Porta-Privy. It’s a pop up tent so you can have some privacy when you are camping.”

FirstHusband: “What? Do you just go on the ground?”

Me: “No. I’m thinking you put a porta-potty in there.”


FirstHusband: “See, now that’s why women will never rule the world. They can’t pee standing up.”

Me: “Can I quote you on that?”

FirstHusband: “Sure, you can even put in in a “therefore I quote” post.”

Me: “Those are only book quotes.”

FirstHusband: “I can write it down.”

Then there was rolling of eyes.

he is my density. part II.

Here’s another example of how well FirstHusband “gets” me. He truly is my density.

So, today was Homecoming for our church and I was asked to sing “I’m Building this House On the Rock.”

Now, I can get my twang on, but this wasn’t just a little bit southern gospel, it was a LOT southern gospel. I rehearsed all week and I tried to get into it, to make it my own, but . . . it just wasn’t happening. Last night, as I was rehearsing again, I stopped, turned to FirstHusband and asked,

“Do you know what I need to really make this song work?”

Without a moment’s hesitation, he nailed it.

“Big hair?”


And that’s what I went for this morning, although I toned it down a little. I didn’t want to scare small children. Reba McIntire would have been proud.

he is my density.

FirstHustband “gets” me.

His job requires some travel. Some weeks more than others. Last week, he went up to Ft. Walton on Monday and was supposed to come home Tuesday evening. This in and of itself is annoying because there USED to be a direct flight from Orlando to Ft. Walton on USAir. He USED to be able to go and come back on the same day. NOW, he has to fly Delta through Atlanta. We call Atlanta the “Black Hole of the Delta Quadrant.” Star Trek geeks fans will understand.

Unfortunately, he and his traveling companion missed their flight home Tuesday night, so they rented a car and drove home. Instead of coming straight to the house, he had to drive to the airport to get his truck, about 30 minutes past his exit to our house. Then he had to check in the rental and drive about 45 minutes home. He got in the house after 3:00 a.m. The reason he couldn’t wait for next flight out of Ft. Walton on Wednesday morning was because he was flying out of Orlando AGAIN on Wednesday around noon. I had to drive him to the airport on Wednesday because I put my car in the shop and needed to keep the truck.

So his Wednesday through Friday trip was to Knoxville, Tennessee (and yes, I pronounce it “KNOCKSv’ll, TEN asee”). Since I have the truck, I’m supposed to pick him up from the airport Friday afternoon. Then we are off to the varsity football game, hoping FavoriteSon will get some time on the field even though he’s only an eight grader. Friday morning, I’m on a field trip with PinkGirl and the text messages start coming in at 10:36 a.m.:

Him: “Weather problems getting out of Knoxville. I re-ticketed to a flight landing just before 3:00 p.m. If there is a problem there, I’ll have to drive.”

Me: “Drive from where?”

Him: “Atlanta.”

Me: “What time would you get to Atlanta?”

Him: “Not sure. We’re doing the math now on if we’re better off driving from here (Knoxville). If we drive from here now we’ll be home around 9:00 p.m.”

Me: “Get these mutts away from me.”

Him: “I don’t find this stuff amusing anymore.”

Me: “yep.”

It was an immediate and correct response. Like I said, he totally gets me.

Anyone else “get” me?

Hint: We were talking in song lyrics. Any guesses? (Click HERE to find out what song. )

pragmatic love, a wife’s choice

I’m joining in with Leslie at Lux Venit for the book study on The Excellent Wife. I’m a little late. I just posted my response to Chapter 8 yesterday (also late). This is my response to Chapter Nine, Love, the Wife’s Choice. Here’s what is highlighted in yellow on the first few pages of Chapter Nine in my book:

“Those romantic feelings I used to have are gone, never to return.

Since most wives are “in love” with their husbands when they marry, what happens to that love?

. . . three categories of sin that will destroy love: selfishness, bitterness or fear. Often it is a combination.

. . . no matter what has happened and what she is feeling, God can work in her life and her husband’s life and He can give them a love for each other that they never dreamed possible. (emphasis added)

Their biblical love can draw them together in a more lasting intimate bond than all of the intensity of their early days of infatuation put together.

. . . even if her husband does not respond in love, it is a choice when wife must make because of Christ’s command.”

The Greek noun for love here is agape . . .

. . . it is a sacrificial love, giving.

. . . it is a love that gives to others even if nothing is given back in return. The noun form (agape) is primarily an attitude. The verb form (agapao) is primarily a practical action. Either way, it is a choice and we are held responsible.

Remember, at times, you will have to go directly against your feelings.

Godly love is not primarily a feeling, it is a choice.

. . . think objectively (biblically), not subjectively (based on feelings).

This will not just passively happen to you. You must work at it.

Remember that you do not have to feel “led” to be unselfish, you just have to do it.

. . . many women who were selfish . . . they usually held some secular beliefs about love. Often those beliefs were “love is romance and feelings,” . . . “love is having my needs met.”

Unfortunately, longings of this kind can never be satisfied since our flesh wants more and more and more.

Basing love on romance and feelings is immature at best.

“Feelings” are always somewhat disappointing.

. . . most women are never recipients of the romance they desire. It is much better to think, “How can I show love?” (love is patient, etc.) rather than, “How can I get love?”

As you change your thinking, your expectations will change.

Any time someone has a philosophy of life that is based on “my needs” (self), they are likely to fall into the trap of being unloving, selfish, vain or proud.

But if your heart is set on the wrong thing, you are guaranteed to be disappointed.

Mrs. Peace? AMEN, sister!

I’m reminded of an incident when FirstHusband and I were first married. We had recently bought a boat and were taking it out. My two (teenage at the time) sisters were with us. FirstHusband asked me to take the wheel just a few minutes after “putting in.” I told him I didn’t know how to drive a boat. He said I would be fine. I drove the boat aground. He said a very bad word. Very loudly. He was angry. It was the first time I had ever heard him say this word and the first time I had ever heard him yell. My sisters were with us. They looked at each other. They looked at me. I was experiencing righteous indignation. Big time.


It was early in the morning. We were supposed to spend the entire day together on the boat. Having fun. It’s not like I was going to divorce my husband over this. We weren’t going to spend the rest of our lives angry over this. So what was the point of fighting over the fact that . . . what? I shouldn’t have run the boat aground? He should have believed me when I said I didn’t know what I was doing? Whatever we would have been fighting about would have been a complete WASTE of time! I had a choice to make.

I had witnessed the intense cruelty and immaturity of the “silent treatment” my entire childhood. I was determined not to EVER scream at my husband in anger or EVER call him an obscene name. I’d been on the receiving end of screaming and cursing and I did NOT like it. Although in my teenage years, I took the path of least resistance and followed suit. I had a quick and vicious tongue. As I grew older (and took more communication classes), I became aware of the fact that I didn’t have to react. I could choose to respond differently. I became DETERMINED to make different choices. I now have a core belief that emotions are unstable and decisions and actions which stem from them are, more often than not, irrational. I was not going to “right back atcha” my new husband in this situation.

I had a chance to show my sisters what healthy conflict resolution looked like. And I took it. I’ve mentioned before that FirstHusband and I have employed a conflict resolution model since before we got married. At that time in our relationship, we were getting good at it. Step 2 is “choose the best time to speak” and this was not it. NEVER try to resolve a conflict when one of the parties is angry. We were both angry. He was still angry about the boat, but also feeling bad about what he said. I was still hurt and angry. I said I wasn’t ready to talk about it – and then, to my sister’s complete surprise and confusion, I engaged in conversation and activities with everyone as if nothing had happened. No silent treatment while I waited for the best time to speak. I LET IT GO. I had fun. We had fun. I had truly forgiven him. Oh. Make no mistake. We were still going to talk about it, but I wasn’t going to waste the day pouting. Pointless.

Later that day, while fishing and bored, we went on to complete the conflict resolution model, in front of my sisters. (I have GOT to post about the model soon. When I do, I’ll put it on Pragmatic Communication and link to it from Compendium.)

Reading this chapter has also reminded me of a conversation I had with my mother a few years ago. I actually wrote it in my journal. Here are some excerpts from August, 2006.

She said: “I’m not in love anymore.”

I said: “IN love? After 15 years with my husband, I’m not “IN love.” I LOVE my husband. He’s my companion, my best friend and we can’t go half a day without talking to each other.”

She said: “Well, I think that’s kinda sad.”

I said: “You and I have a completely different idea about the definition of a good marriage.”

(I’m thinking: You can’t maintain “IN love.” It’s an unsustainable high. FirstHusband thinks “IN love” is chemical. Real love is a commitment and EFFORT. I agree.)

Later in the conversation:

She said: “After nearly 45 years of marriage, your father and I can’t learn to communicate differently.”

I said: “Yes, you can. You just choose not to. You go to the beach instead. That’s just what you do. It’s familiar. It’s a pattern. It’s easier.”

She and I made very different choices.

Beginning on page 88, there’s a list of what Mrs. Peace calls “Common Signs of Bitterness” In my opinion, that title should be changed to something stronger, like:


This list is worth the price of the book. If every married person in the world was dedicated to NEVER doing these 9 things, I think the divorce rate might actually hit rock bottom.

Another EXCELLENT suggestion? Mrs. Peace describes it using an example:

Supposed you believe that the problems in your marriage are 40% your fault and 60% his responsibility. God wants you to begin biblically dealing with your bitterness by taking 100% responsibility for your 40%.

Mrs. Peace? AMEN AGAIN, sister!

The entire section in this chapter which focuses on Bitterness contains some great advice, strongly supported by scripture. The suggestion to make “second mile investments” in a marriage relationship is founded on the idea that “My response is my responsibility.” I’m not responsible for my spouse’s actions and, whatever they may be, they are certainly not a “free pass” for me to forgo MY responsibilities. Check out this concept. Personally, I’m really trying to do this.

A long time ago, I heard a radio commentator explain a way to change an attitude by first changing behavior. The suggestion that I remember to this day is that, whenever I catch myself saying or even THINKING a negative thought about my husband, I STOP. Just STOP. In mid breath, if necessary.

And turn it around. Consciously choose to say or think something GOOD instead. CHOOSE to think only positive things about your spouse. REFUSE to say or even THINK negative thoughts. The more you do this, the more you won’t have to try. By changing this ONE behavior, you can turn around an entire relationship.

On pages 94 to 96, Mrs. Peace gives some very specific reversals of self-talk. Excellent examples.

She also takes this example I heard on the radio a step further. She recommends that you write down your thoughts word for word. Then take the time to go over each thought and convert it to a kind, tender-hearted or forgiving thought. She very wisely reminds us to destroy the bitter thoughts list no one would be hurt if they were to read it.

Bitterness can’t thrive in forgiveness. Where did I here this one?

“When you don’t forgive someone, it’s like taking poison, expecting the other person to die.”

Mrs. Peace also explains that forgiveness and trust are not the same. She points us to Chapter 14, the God’s Provision, Resources for the Wife’s Protection.

Then Mrs. Peace talks about pride. I think pride is a killer of relationships. It’s the need to be right at the expense of all else. Sometimes it’s the need for the other person to not only admit you are right, and that they are wrong, but to do it in front of witnesses. It’s a power struggle and it takes a relationship nowhere but down.

Mrs. Peace also talks about fear and points us to Chapter Nineteen, The Wife’s Fear, Overcoming Anxiety. I’ll wait till Chapter Nineteen.

Lastly, Mrs. Peace talks about 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. A perfect ending to this chapter.

researching the wife’s domain.

Chapter 8 of the Excellent Wife by author Martha Peace is entitled, “Home, The Wife’s Domain.”

I’m really trying to read this with an open mind, but I honestly admit, I have what, in communication theory is called a “latitude of rejection.” There are three “latitudes” when it comes to persuasion and the acceptance of ideas:

A latitude of acceptance is when you have a preexisting tendency to accept an idea.

A latitude of non-commitment is when you have no preexisting thoughts on the matter, thus no leaning towards acceptance or rejection.

A latitude of rejection is when you have a preexisting tendency to reject an idea.

My latitude of rejection is based on the fact that, in the early years of our marriage, FirstHusband and I, surrounded by Baptist doctrine, sorted many of these issues out ourselves. Actually, to be more accurate, FirstHusband (a preacher’s kid) had already sorted out much of what he believed about the wife’s role before we were together. He just had to help me to understand it. He told me the beginning of his perspective. When he was a teenager, his conservative Baptist church hired a husband and wife youth minister team. The wife was intelligent, articulate, engaging and a gifted speaker. The husband . . . looked good. (FirstHusband used the word “Himbo.”) The church had a difficult time letting the woman take the lead she was naturally gifted to take. They preferred the husband take the lead, even though he was a terrible speaker and was (in FirstHusband’s word) stupid. FirstHusband spent a lot of time in the Bible researching whether God really expected this bright, articulate, gifted person to stop serving God in this situation, just because she was a woman. I asked FirstHusband if he had a crush on this woman and he said, “No. I really respected her and thought she got a bum deal. Besides, she had red hair.” (Red hair confirms it – no crush. No offense red-headed readers, but FirstHusband is not attracted to red heads.)

I also taught (and graded papers for) business and professional communication at UCF for 7 years. My experience as a teacher steers me toward the holes in Mrs. Peace’s research and drives me to find support for her declarative statements. When I can’t find that support, the declarative statement loses it’s meaning.

I’m also struggling to figure out how to explain myself without sounding like I’m a heathen or that I think I’m exempt from the Bible’s instructions. I promise I’m neither. I just believe that if we, as humans are actively involved in a close, personal relationship with Jesus Christ and we actively seek to know and live within His moral will through the wisdom found in His Word, we will actively strive to live our lives in a way that is pleasing to Him and that glorifies Him. That “way” often looks very different from person to person, from marriage to marriage and from family to family. I believe “different” isn’t “wrong” – if it’s within the moral will of God. If someone doesn’t agree with my point of view, I don’t perceive them to be “out of the will of God” or sinful. I believe it’s okay to agree to disagree. I believe Christians have more in common than not. I want to focus on the stuff we have in common, rather than debate the few things we may see differently.

If we spend time in prayer, not only talking, but “abiding” then we will have a peace and understanding of how we are to order our lives. To come back to the topic of this chapter – and this book in general, we do need to be confident that the way we conduct ourselves as Christian wives is supportive of our husbands. We need to be confident that our husbands feel respected, needed and appreciated. I just don’t always agree with Mrs. Peace on how I should accomplish that. At the end of the day, it’s my HUSBAND’s opinion as to whether I’m accomplishing those goals that’s important to me.

For instance, it’s Memorial Day. FirstHusband isn’t on travel and he isn’t at work. He’s making pancakes. Right now. While I’m sitting on the couch typing this. Let me ask him why he’s doing that.

“Hey hon, why are you making pancakes?”

L O N G pause.

“Why not?”

“I mean, are you making pancakes because I don’t?”

“No. I don’t think of it that way. I just do it for the kids because they like it.”

“Do you wish I would make pancakes sometimes?”

“No. Not necessarily.”

“Why? Would it take away from your “thing?”

“No. I don’t think of it that way. I don’t mind if you want to make pancakes.”

See how pointless this is? He’s making pancakes because he wants to. Sometimes a guy just isn’t all that deep.

Does the fact that he’s cooking while I’m sitting mean I’m not exemplifying an “Excellent Wife?” What about the fact that he just brought me a cup of coffee, creamed and sweetened just the way I like? What does that mean? In our house, it just means that he was already fixing himself a cup and it was no big deal. He wanted to do something nice for me. Sometimes guys just aren’t that deep.

Now, he did use the coffee pot I picked out. (Thanks for the referral, Lisa Writes!) He got the creamer and the sweetener out of cannisters I picked out and placed in their current location. I picked those particular cannisters and placed them in their location in an effort to be organized and make them convenient. Using the Underwear Principle, I actually created a coffee “station” with all the supplies needed for coffee located in one spot.

coffee station

In the cabinet above are the coffee mugs, travel mugs, coffee filters and creamer refill. I bought identical plastic containers to store coffee in the freezer door (right behind this spot) and marked one of them “decaf.” I even decorated this area by purchasing multi-opening frames, finding, typing and printing coffee and tea “quotes” on pretty card stock and framing each one. (Please forgive the sideways photo.) One of the quotes says, “A man without a mustache is like a cup of tea without sugar.” (He’s had a mustache since I’ve met him.)

coffee art

I did this for him. For me. For us.

At the end of the day, I’m me. I have to live with me. I have to live authentically. For me, that means I have to go back to the Bible on all this. I’m seeking Biblical wisdom. I’m learning. I believe this book is prompting me to learn. What I’m doing here is documenting my learning process, probably more for myself than for anyone who happens upon these posts. So, fully aware of my latitude of rejection, here goes.

Chapter 8 begins with a description of two very different women, Tracy and Stacy. Two polar opposites. Both examples are extreme. Tracy sounds like a “pleaser” who can’t say no because she desperately wants people to like her and she’s probably headed for collapse due to exhaustion. Stacy sounds clinically depressed and should go to the doctor for a full physical exam. The thing is, in my circle of friends and acquaintances, most of the women I know don’t fit in either example. Most of the women I know are significantly more balanced than either of these women. I personally can’t relate to the examples. I don’t identify with Tracy or Stacy. So, if Mrs. Peace is saying that Christian wives should NOT be like either of these women, then check. I’m good so far.

Mrs. Peace follows with the statement:

“A godly wife is organized and works hard to operate her home with the least possible chaos. She also creates an optimistic, joyful atmosphere for her family.”

Still okay. But I can substitute “godly wife” with “good wife” and still agree.

Then comes a declarative statement:

“God has always intended for the home to be the wife’s domain.”

Here’s the thing. I probably agree with that. If we define it the same. But do we? To what extent is “the home to be the wife’s domain?” To the exclusion of what else? This is the crux of it for me. To the exclusion of what else?

As Biblical support for her statement, “God has always intended for the home to be the wife’s domain.” Mrs. Peace quotes only the “verses that pertain to the home” in Proverbs 31. She says that “out of twenty two verses, nine refer directly to her work in the home.” Less than half.

Let’s take these one by one, and I’m going to type EXACTLY what Mrs. Peace quotes here:

“She looks for wool and flax, and works with her hands in delight…” (Proverbs 31:13)

She works hard and enjoys her work. I can’t find anything to indicate this refers “directly” to her work in the home.

“She rises also while it is still night, and gives food to her household, and portions to her maidens…” (Proverbs 31:15)

Now here’s something I never knew before. “portions” to her maidens. I always read that in a very straightforward way. I thought portions meant percentage. I thought she gave her maidens “portions” of food. Here’s what says about the meaning of the word “portions.” The Hebrew word is “choq” and it means:

1) statute, ordinance, limit, something prescribed, due
   a) prescribed task
   b) prescribed portion
   c) action prescribed (for oneself), resolve
   d) prescribed due
   e) prescribed limit, boundary
   f) enactment, decree, ordinance
      1) specific decree
      2) law in general
   g) enactments, statutes
      1) conditions
      2) enactments
      3) decrees
      4) civil enactments prescribed by God

Now see, THIS is why I’m still reading this book. I’m glad I learned that. Mrs. Peace didn’t teach it to me, but if I didn’t doubt her proper application of scripture, I would have NEVER looked up each individual word in this verse. I never knew the Proverbs 31 woman wasn’t feeding her servants. She was giving them their assignments for the day. (I just told FirstHusband that if he really loved me, he would get me some maidens and he said I have to go do some sort of honorable work near the town gate and make sure everyone knows how great he is first. Bummer.)

“She considers a field and buys it, from her earnings she plants a vineyard…” (Proverbs 31:16)

This is straightforward. She buys a field and plants a vineyard. I really don’t understand how this is “directly” related to work at home. It sounds like she’s an entrepreneur. Unless the vineyard is near her home and the grapes (and wine?) will only be consumed by her household and not sold. In my understanding, this verse doesn’t relate “directly” to her work at home at all.

“her lamp does not go out at night…” (Proverbs 31:18)

Now this is why I’m double checking Mrs. Peace’s application of scripture. She left out the first half this verse. Here’s verse 18 in its entirety:

“She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night.”

Now why omit the first part of the verse? I’m off to to find out what it means. The verse used there is in the King James Version:

“She perceiveth that her merchandise [is] good: her candle goeth not out by night.”

Back over to blueletterbible to look up “trading” or “merchandise.” The Hebrew word is “cachar” and the Outline of Biblical Usage reads:

“1) traffic, gain, profit, gain from merchandise”

This part of the verse definitely doesn’t seem to relate “directly” to work at home.

Checking out “profitable” or “good,” the Hebrew word is “towb” and there are just too many synonyms to type.

Then I looked up the part of the verse Mrs. Peace DID quote here. I looked up the word “candle” or “lamp.” The Hebrew word is “niyr” and the Gesenius’s Lexicon Help reads:

“a lamp, always used figuratively of progeny.”

and then there’s text I can’t type due to keyboard limitations, followed by a reference to 1 Kings 11:36, “that David my servant might always have a lamp,” i.e. that his race might continue for ever; and notes to compare its use to 1 Kings 15:4; 2 Kings 8:19, and 2 Chronicles 21:7.

Figuratively? I never read that “figuratively” before. I took it literally. Lamp. Candle. Didn’t go out at night.

I need some commentary on the “figurative” use of this word, so I pick one on blueletterbible. A. R. FAUSSET says:

“17, 18. To energy she adds a watchfulness in bargains, and a protracted and painful industry. The last clause may figuratively denote that her prosperity (compare Pro 24:20 ) is not short lived.” (emphasis added)

Interesting. Totally NOT what I thought. Very cool! Thanks to Mrs. Peace again for prompting me to look up each word in this verse – even the part she omitted. Unfortunately, her application of this verse – that it refers “directly” to a woman’s work at home – isn’t supported.

“She stretches out her hands to the distaff, and her hands grasp the spindle…” (Proverbs 31:19)

This one seems pretty straightforward and let me just say, THANK YOU to Samuel Slater.

“…all her household are clothed with scarlet…” (Proverbs 31:21)

ewwww. I really didn’t need to know where the dye came from. But here she takes care of her family’s wardrobe. DIRECTLY related to her work at home!

“She makes coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple…”

She dresses well, and makes her own clothes. I can’t sew. I do not believe my inability to sew means I’m failing my family or God. When the literal translation doesn’t fit today’s culture, I look for intent. My clothes look nice, they fit and they are reasonably priced. I just buy my clothes instead of make them. Often second hand or at Ross. So is this verse “directly” related to the Proverbs 31 woman’s work at home? Sure, why not?

“She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies belts to the Tradesmen…” (Proverbs 31:24)

I don’t understand how this is “directly” related to her work at home. She’s an entrepreneur.

“She looks well to the ways of her house, and does not eat the bread of idleness.” (Proverbs 31:27)

DIRECTLY related to her work at home!

So I found three verses, not nine. But I learned that I need some maidens and was reminded that my prosperity is not short-lived. Good Bible study. Overall, time well spent.

Back to Mrs. Peace:

“The excellent wife’s home-based ministry does not apply just to King Solomon’s day, but to our day, as well. The Apostle Paul wrote to Titus about this very issue.

Older women (are to) teach what is good…that they may encourage the younger women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands… (Titus 2:3-5)”

Then Mrs. Peace gives some Biblical support! She notes that “worker at home” is translated from “oikourgos” and says that the word is derived from two root words, “oikos” which means “a dwelling, a home or a household” and “ergon” which means “to work or be employed.” But says that the second root word for “oikourgos” is “ouros.” Not “ergon.” So I look up both.

ergon does mean “business, employment, that which any one is occupied” but is it a root of oikourgos?

ouros means “a guard”

So while the definition of “ergon” is correct, where did Mrs. Peace get “ergon” as a root of oikourgos? She follows by explaining that a “worker at home” is someone who guards the dwelling or is a keeper of the household – which is the definition of “ouros.”

So I’m confused. What is she saying? How does “ergon” fit with “guards the dwelling?” She used one definition and supported it with the meaning of another. Did I mention I was confused?

It seems there’s a discrepancy as to the second root word. I’m going to break it down and follow the bread crumbs:

“oiko urgos”

“urgos” is the word I want to understand.

Some sources indicate it is a form of “ouros” i.e. “keeper,” – which more accurately means someone who is watching over something or being a guardian.

A form of.

Some sources indicate “urgos” is derived from the root word “ergon” which means “work,” “employment,” or “task.”

Derived from.

I understand that the Bible COMPLETELY reveals the moral will of God. I get that. But there’s a problem. For like . . . EVER, people have been using passages to support their premise and point of view. There will ALWAYS be disagreement, even among Christians, as to the specific directives found there.

So which translation is correct? A FORM of the word or another word from which it is DERIVED? This is why I will never go to seminary.

I’m cheating. Someone else must have done this research. After a little searching, I did find an interesting post which specifically addresses the translation of oikourgos. Here are some snippets:

“Oikourgos is a compound based on the word oikos, “house”. It is translated as if it was a noun (many Greek nouns end in -os). However, the -os noun ending is masculine. Since in this context it is referring to women, the masculine ending would not be correct. Therefore we know that the word is not a noun. Instead, the ending is actually a different suffix: -os in its usage as an adjective-forming verbal suffix.

The KJV translators saw the word oikourgos as a noun, and since it was describing a person, they took it to mean a certain type of person. Since oikos means “house” and urgos (a form of ouros) comes from a root meaning “to keep”, they translated it in the KJV as “keepers at home”.

Oiko-, as you should remember from the above explanation, means house. The form -urgos, a form of ouros, means “to keep”. In the case of compound words, it means “taking care to keep something (in good condition)”. The entire word, oikourgos, then means “mindful (or careful) to keep their houses in good condition”.

You decide for yourself. As for me and my house? I’m going with “ouros” and I’m going to be mindful to keep my house in good condition.

Forgive me if I don’t track down the meaning of “oikodespoteo” as Mrs. Peace uses it with regard to keeping widows of trouble and preserving their reputation. I’m just too tired.

But back to the term “worker at home.” I have a few questions? What about children? The two verses quoted here, Titus 2:3-5 includes “to love their children” and 1 Timothy 5:14 includes “bear children.” What does Mrs. Peace say about raising children in this chapter? Not very much:

” . . . but I do believe that God intended for the women, especially the younger women, to stay home and do a good job of caring for their homes and for their families. A wife who is gone with too many activities or work does not have the time nor energy to keep her home as it should be kept.

If a wife is working or is thinking of returning to work, she should examine her motives. What is it she really wants? What is her heart set on? Is it to avoid becoming a “non-person?” Is it more material things? Is it wanting to be out from under the demands of child care? Is it to relieve her husband from his responsibility to work? None of these motives are for the glory of God. They are self-serving and sinful. Godly motives would be “learning to be content” (Philippians 4:11), “gratitude to the Lord for what she does have” (I Thessalonians 5:18), and “whatever you do in thought, word, and deed, do all for the glory of God” (I Corinthians 10:31). Staying at home and organizing a clean, well run household is a major biblical emphasis in the God-given ministry of the wife.(emphasis added)

It’s the declarative statement I’m having trouble with. Staying at home and organizing a clean, well run household is a major biblical emphasis in the God-given ministry of the wife? “Major biblical emphasis” is some fairly strong language. Are the verses she quotes here the “major biblical emphasis” which support this statement? I don’t see the connection. Doesn’t the “God-given ministry of the wife” include raising her (and her husband’s) children?

I’m left wondering because there’s no more on this. Mrs. Peace moves on:

“Many times, if a couple did an honest appraisal of the wife’s income, and looked at how much they spent on transportation, child care, taxes, clothing, lunches out, dinners out, and increased grocery bills due to buying prepared foods, the couple would likely see that they are actually losing money. How much wiser might it be for her to stay home and care for her family!”

Now HERE I agree with Mrs. Peace. I actually drafted this part of the post earlier in the week and stopped to write another, entitled “to work or not to work, that is the question.

Then Mrs. Peace throws out a question.

“What if a husband instructs a wife to work? Is she to be submissive?”

Her answer makes me very, Very, VERY uncomfortable:

“Yes, unless she can show him that she would be sinning by working. It would be sinful for her to financially support her husband so that he could be irresponsible or lazy. Instead, she should take advantage of the biblical resources God has given to protect her.”

Why is the assumption that a man without a job is “irresponsible” or “lazy?” There are other possibilities. He might be an excellent family manager and caregiver to their children. What if she had a higher earning power? What about “unless the wife can show him that she would be sinning by working?” How would she do that? This is the most disturbing part of the answer for me. That she should “take advantage” of the “biblical resources” God has given to protect her. Is this using the Bible as a weapon? As a tool to manipulate? That’s a fine line I don’t want to walk.

Christians have been using the Bible – in and out of context – since forEVER to prove their point. (Did I say this before?) Each side using words like Mrs. Peace uses when she says, “Common sense would dictate . . . ” The problem is that my “common sense” doesn’t lead me to the same conclusions as Mrs. Peace. Now what? What happens when a husband and wife come to different conclusions? What if the wife believes she is sinning by working and her husband doesn’t? She should submit? But she should live in sin? In Chapter Two of Excellent Wife, Mrs. Peace says God’s authority overrides the husband’s authority. This reasoning is a circle.

I’m going to skip the part where Mrs. Peace believes the church has a responsibility to help a woman to be able to stay at home with her children if her husband were to die. In today’s culture, that’s not the norm.

Then Mrs. Peace relates some practical housekeeping tips that have obviously worked for her. Take what you can use, but since these aren’t biblical directives, no condemnation for not employing any of them. I agree 100% with the premise that “A little bit of prior planning makes all the difference in the world.”

Finally, there’s the “Lazy Person” vs. “Self-Disciplined Person” comparison chart on page 75. If you recognize yourself as a “Lazy Person” make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible. Make sure you are physically and mentally healthy. If you believe you may be a “Perfectionist,” please consider counseling. Whose expectations are you trying to meet? Are you a product of “conditional” love? Before you assume sin, rule out health related possibilities.

Lazy? Perfectionist? Maybe. Maybe not.

researching the wife’s role

Warning: This is L O N G. You may need a nap in the middle. Or at least a snack.

Here’s two things I read this past week.

The first, in an email sent to me from FirstHusband:

A woman died and was sent to heaven. One day while she was walking around on the clouds of heaven she saw God. She walked towards him and she stopped to talk to him. She only wanted to ask one question of him. So she asked, “Why did you create man before women?” God looked down on her, placed his hand on her head and explained, “Every good design needs a rough draft.”

(Yep. That’s FirstHusband. – Gotta love him!)

The second, in Chapter 6 (read it online here) of the book, The Excellent Wife, written by Martha Peace:

“Woman was created for the man, not man for the woman.”

Then Mrs. Peace notes 1 Corinthians 11:7-9 as support for her statement. According to her book, 1 Corinthians 11:7-9 reads like this:

“For a man is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man. for man does not originate from woman, but woman from man; for indeed man was not created for the woman’s sake, but woman for the man’s sake.” (emphasis added)

I looked these verses up on in an attempt to figure out which version of the Bible Mrs. Peace was quoting. The closest I found was from the New American Standard Version:

7 For a man ought not to have his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man. 8 For man does not originate from woman, but woman from man; 9 for indeed man was not created for the woman’s sake, but (C)woman for the man’s sake.(emphasis added)

Why does she misquote scripture here?

Because quoting the beginning of verse 7 would call attention to the context? Check out verses 5 and 6:

5 But every woman who has her head uncovered while praying or prophesying disgraces her head, for she is one and the same as the woman whose head is shaved. 6 For if a woman does not cover her head, let her also have her hair cut off; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, let her cover her head.

The head covering verses? Seriously. The head covering verses? Verse 7 was misquoted to avoid reference to the head covering verses? Mrs. Peace is a big chicken. And I know that of which I speak. I’ve been a big chicken myself.

I’ve been following along with a study of this book, currently lead by Leslie at Lux Venit. I haven’t posted until now, because I’ve been the odd “man” out. And I’ve been chicken. FirstHusband’s email has given me courage. So did Leslie’s commentary:

“Honestly, this chapter left so much to be desired. Peace packs too much into this chapter without giving much in the way of explanation. I read this chapter four times and still finished just as frustrated the fourth time as the first. Peace offers a verse or two on which to base her statements, and that’s it. She uses the controversial 1 Corinthians 11 verses without any helpful interpretation, and verses from Ephesians that Paul himself calls “a mystery.” A woman without any prior knowledge or understanding of these verses would be very confused.”

I’m not confused. I’ve just lost some confidence in the author of this book. It’s not just Mrs. Peace. Overall, anyone (book authors included) who makes a declaration of God’s will without supporting their point with the Bible loses credibility with me. And when they misquote scripture or take it out of context in their attempt to support their point? Not working for me.

Here’s the thing. I spent years in the Baptist church, accepting and believing everything that was taught to me, without question. When I met FirstHusband (ChristianFriend at the time), he challenged me. He was ornery. He would draw me into theological discussions and take the opposing view, just to see if I knew why I believed what I believed. I don’t like losing. And I was losing those debates. A lot. (He later told me he was “testing” me and that I was the first Christian girl who didn’t slink away wondering if he was a Christian when he asked them difficult spiritual questions.)

So as a result of all these discussions, I started asking my pastor and other Christians lots of questions, reading my Bible more, reading commentaries . . . learning. Grounding my faith in Biblical wisdom instead of heresay (not heresy). Taking responsibility for my beliefs. Today, I no longer accept what others say without question. (Oprah has no power here.)

So if Mrs. Peace wants me to view her words as fact or truth instead of opinion, she needs to prove them. Convince me. Show me. In the Bible.

She’s not convincing me. Rather, she’s prompted me to double check her use of scripture.

Wary, but undeterred, I move on. I pass by the diagram showing how we are made in God’s image because it was so unbelievably simplistic, until I realize the graphic is being used to set up for the next one. Mrs. Peace is quoting a retired professor from Columbia University who compares the relationship of man, woman and God to the Holy Trinity. My first response was to be creeped out. But wait. Let me think on this one a few minutes.

I’m liking it. Very cool. Check out Professor Hatch’s breakdown for yourself:

The planner who makes the plans—God the Father.

The one who carries out the plans—God the Son.

The one who also carries out the plans as well as keeps and empowers Christians – God the Spirit.

In the Trinity, of course, there is perfect harmony. All are satisfied with their roles. There are no “power plays” or role confusion. Note how the Lord Jesus describes both His work and His role as well as that of the Holy Spirit:

We must work the works of Him who sent Me, as long as it is day; night is coming, when no man can work.” John 9:4

Jesus therefore said, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will Know that I am He, and I do nothing on my own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me. And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.” John 8:28,29

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” John 14:26

Also, within the Trinity, it is interesting to note who gets the glory. The Holy Spirit did not come to call attention to Himself but to Jesus.

Jesus said, “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He shall glorify Me; but He shall take of Mine; and shall disclose it to you.” John 16:13-14

In addition, Jesus did not come to call attention to Himself but to the Father.

I glorified Thee on the earth, having accomplished the work which Thou hast given Me to do.” John 17:4 (emphasis and red letter added)

Empower? I use that word all the time to describe my training philosophy. I can relate. I can also deal with the idea that I should “empower” my husband. Very cool.

Then I notice the word “helper.” That’s from the New American Standard version. It appears Professor Hack is attempting to call attention to the similarities between the word “helper” as it applies to the Holy Spirit and how it applies to the role of a wife. Is that an appropriate comparison? Going over to, I look up the word “helper” used here. In Greek it means “paraklētos” and I’m grinning because the part of speech for this word is “masculine noun.” And it’s being sited as a word for the role of a wife in marriage. But what does it the word mean? I also find the outline of Biblical usage for paraklētos:

1) summoned, called to one’s side, esp. called to one’s aid

a) one who pleads another’s cause before a judge, a pleader, counsel for defense, legal assistant, an advocate
b) one who pleads another’s cause with one, an intercessor

1) of Christ in his exaltation at God’s right hand, pleading with God the Father for the pardon of our sins

c) in the widest sense, a helper, succourer, aider, assistant

1) of the Holy Spirit destined to take the place of Christ with the apostles (after his ascension to the Father), to lead them to a deeper knowledge of the gospel truth, and give them divine strength needed to enable them to undergo trials and persecutions on behalf of the divine kingdom

okay. I’m dense. I’m still not clear on how this applies to the role of wives in marriage. I go straight for the Greek definition: “comforter, advocate.”

Okay Prof Hatch. I can be that for my husband. I try to be that for him already. And even though I’m saying that on the internet right now, I really don’t need to take any credit for it either. Is that what you’re saying? I’m okay with that.

I move on again, because even though I’m not down with Mrs. Peace at the moment, I’m not ready to stop reading her book yet and I am gaining new perspective. I am however, very aware that it’s Professor Hatch who led me to that new perspective, not Mrs. Peace. He made a statement and backed it up – with the Bible.

After the last quote by Professor Hatch (shown above) – in both the printed book and in the online text of this Chapter, Mrs. Peace doesn’t clearly indicate that she has stopped quoting Prof Hatch and has gone back to her own thoughts again. It’s always confusing when a writer does that, but in this case, I figure it out immediately because of what she writes:

So, Just as Christ glorified the Father by doing the Father’s “work,” you are to glorify your husband by doing the husband’s “work”. Your role is to glorify your husband. You were created for him.

And now I’m creeped out again. It’s the word “glorify.” Not EVER a word I have considered when thinking about what I do for my husband. Back to (I love this site!). Glorify, in greek it’s doxazō and the Biblical usage is:

1) to think, suppose, be of opinion
2) to praise, extol, magnify, celebrate
3) to honour, do honour to, hold in honour
4) to make glorious, adorn with lustre, clothe with splendour

a) to impart glory to something, render it excellent
b) to make renowned, render illustrious

1) to cause the dignity and worth of some person or thing to become manifest and acknowledged

Okay, some of it I get (although if I tried to “clothe” FirstHusband “with spendour” I don’t think it would go very well. Something like bathing a cat.)

But still. The word “glorify” creeps me out. I’ll stick with the word “honor” (#3 above) if that’s okay with you.

I’m also confused about what Mrs. Peace means when she says I’m supposed to be doing my husband’s “work.” Why does she put quotes around the word “work?” Jumping over to page 55 of the book (towards the bottom of the page in the online text), I see the “Eighteen Ways a Wife May be the Glory of Her Husband.”

okay. Let’s take them one by one.

1. Ask your husband, “What are your goals for the week?”
2. Ask your husband, “How can I help you to accomplish these goals?”
3. Ask your husband, “Is there anything that I can do differently that would make it easier for you?”

I’m good with all three of these, given my freakish organizational nature and textbook communication skills. I don’t think a weekend goes by where FirstHusband and I don’t talk about what’s going on during the upcoming week. So, these are great ideas. Not Biblical directives but good, solid ideas to strengthen a relationship and make a household run more smoothly. For a week, at least.

4. Be organized with cleaning, grocery shopping, laundry, and cooking. As you fulfill your God-given responsibilities, your husband is then free to do his work.

My “God-given responsibilities” are to be “organized with cleaning, grocery shopping, laundry, and cooking?” So the fact that my husband and I share these tasks means what? I’m outside of God’s will? What does it say about my husband? What does the Bible say about the yardwork? In our house, we’ve figured out a division of responsibilities that works for us. If I were to do all the household chores by myself, FirstHusband would come home to me sitting wide eyed and comatose, needed a shower and saying “ba baba ba, baba . . . ” (remember that scene in Overboard with Goldie Hawn?). Besides. That Proverbs 31 woman? She had “servant girls” – not “girl” as in singular, but “girls” as in, more than one.

And why is there no mention of ANY of the responsibilities that come with raising children? Seriously. I found the word “children” ONCE in this chapter. In #6 below, where she says I’m to put my husband before my children. Even then, sometimes that’s not possible. When an infant depends on one of your body parts for food, you have to feed them, even if it means your husband has to wait.

So for all the wives and mothers out there who are exhausted at the end of every day, who smell like curdled milk, who want to know how to get dried caramel off the seat of their van, who don’t remember what it’s like to go to the bathroom by themselves or without someone talking to them with their lips pressed to the crack in the door, who accidentally wear mismatched shoes to work, who just don’t seem to ever put themselves on their own to-do lists and who pro-actively strive to run an efficient, but loving home . . .

You need yourself some servant girls. No servant girls? Then, no condemnation for “failing” to “Be the Glory of your Husband” because you can’t cross this #4 off your list.

And that’s all I have to say about that. (for now.)

Back to the list:

5. Save some of your energy every day for him.

Again, a good, solid idea from Mrs. Peace. But it is dependent on how #4 works out for me on a given day. I try, but truth be told, there are times when my kids “swim down together” and wear. me. out.

6. Put him first over the children, your parents, friends, job, ladies’ Bible studies, etc.

We are a team and we work together to accomplish the goals we’ve set for our family. We’re each other’s best friend. We raise our kids together.

7. Willingly and cheerfully rearrange your schedule for him when necessary.

If one of us needs the other to be somewhere, we are – if at all possible (unless he’s out of town). Sometimes we make concessions. For example, I’m scheduled to sing at a Mother’s Day Brunch on Saturday. We recently bought a boat. So you know what he wants to do on Saturday. But he doesn’t want to go without me. Do I cancel because I’m supposed to put him first? Should I have said no to the commitment in the first place? He says no to both of those questions, because he’s encouraging me to use my gifts in ministry (#17 below), so I’m going to go glorify God Saturday morning.

8. Talk about him in a positive light to others. Do not slander him at all, even if what you are saying is true.

We Never. Never. Never speak negatively about each other to other people. We may tease and kid sometimes, but never in a way that might hurt each other’s feelings or betray our confidence in the other.

9. Do whatever you can to make him look good, to accomplish his goals. Some examples are offer to run errands for him, organize your day to be available to help him with his projects, pray for him and make good suggestions. Give him the freedom not to use your suggestion, and do not be offended if he does not follow it.

We’ve got each other’s back and do these things for each other. However, I know that I have more flexibility than some women when it comes to organizing my day to be available to help him. A woman with a full time job won’t have that same flexibility.

In our house, FirstHusband and I both do these things. I don’t see how any of these are unique to women. This is what committed, married, Christian husbands and wives should do for each other. We know it’s work and we consciously strive for it.

10. Consider his work (job, goals, hobbies, work for the Lord) as more important than your own.

Because he works full-time and I work part-time, this is easy for me. Any woman who relocates to follow her husband to a new job does this. However, I know there are women who haven taken on the role as the primary bread-winner and their husbands have adopted the role of homemaker. What about them?

11. Think of specific ways that you can help him accomplish his goals. Examples are get up early in the mornings to help him get off to work having had a good breakfast, take care in recording telephone messages for him, anticipate any needs he may have in order to attain a specific goal, and keep careful records of money spent to keep up with the budget.

For our house, these examples are meaningless. I just focus on numbers 1 and 2 on this list and treat my husband with courtesy and respect. I try to do random acts of kindness for him – every day.

12. Consider the things that you are involved in. How do they glorify your husband? Ask his guidance.

So the things I’m involved in should glorify my husband and I should ask him for guidance to stay on track with that? I’m not sure what Mrs. Peace means. I shouldn’t be involved in activities my husband doesn’t support? This is an easy one for me because FirstHusband is very supportive and there’s not much he has asked me not to do. Oh! He asked me not to dye my hair red, so I won’t.

Neither one of us take on commitments which impact our daily family life without discussing it first. We have family “policies” we’ve adopted over the years to help us make decisions quicker. Like, each kid can only be involved in two extra curricular activities at any one time. We don’t make commitments which have us out of the house on school nights. I work as a consultant, but my husband isn’t involved in my daily business dealings. He doesn’t want to be. We talk about our work challenges and successes, and we offer each other advice and encouragement, but we don’t get involved in each other’s work much more than that.

13. Be warm and gracious to his family and friends. Make your commitment to him obvious to them.
14. Do and say things that build him up instead of tear him down.

Again with the good, solid ideas. But again, not unique to women. It’s just what people who love each other should do.

15. Dress and apply your makeup in an attractive manner that is pleasing to your husband.

This is a tough one for some women. I admit, when my kids were little (babies and toddlers) it was more difficult to fit in self care. I did smell like curdled milk sometimes, but I often couldn’t fit in a shower until FirstHusband was home to take over kid care. Since I turned 40, I’ve been changing some things. Maybe I’ll post about it someday.

16. When your husband sins, reprove him privately and gently, always giving him hope and pointing him to the Lord.
17. Encourage him to use his spiritual gifts in ministry.

FirstHusband and I do both of these for each other. We have a conflict resolution model that we learned when we were dating and we’ve been using it for 18 years. We’ve both memorized the steps and are actually very good at fitting a conflict into the model very quickly. It’s just something we do instead of fight or yell at each other.

We also encourage each other in ministry – as it fits with our goals for our family. When his schedule permits, he volunteers with a mentorship program. We’ve taught Sunday School together. I’m a vocalist, but because of our commitment to be home on school nights, I don’t sing in the choir or with the worship team. Rather, I perform solos. I can rehearse in the car, on my own time – not during family time. I also spoke and lead music at a few retreats, but quickly realized I didn’t want to be away from my family for weekends, as retreat leadership would require. It just doesn’t fit with our family priorities right now.

18. Realize that just as God is glorified when man obeys Him, your husband is glorified when you obey your husband.

Glorified? Still creeped out. Honored? Perfect.

Obey? It’s easy to “obey” someone when they put my needs before their own. I’m blessed that FirstHusband does that for me. He has never authoritatively “ordered” me to do anything. In our relationship, we don’t “defy” each other’s wishes. We respect and support each other’s preferences, goals, ideas . . . you get the idea.

All in all, an interesting list. However, NO scripture to support the items on the list.

Moving on again, Mrs. Peace is discussing the effects of the fall of man, one of which is “a power struggle between the man and his wife.” She quotes scripture again, but adds her own parenthetical comment:

“Yet your desire (to control or overtake) shall be for your husband, And he shall rule (to have power) over you.

Genesis 3:16, emphasis and
parenthetical comment added”

So first she leaves something out of quoted scripture and makes no mention of it. Now she’s adding to scripture and, while telling us that she’s doing so, she doesn’t tell us why. I want to know why. I’ve always read that scripture in a very straightforward way. “Your desire shall be for your husband . . . ” Why is she saying that desire means “to control or overtake?” She doesn’t say. I read that section again. She doesn’t say. I read Chapter Six again. She doesn’t say. I have to hunt for it, so it’s back to for the meaning of the word “desire.” The Biblical Usage is referenced as:

1) desire, longing, craving

a) of man for woman
b) of woman for man
c) of beast to devour

Of beast to devour? Okay, then. Never heard this verse interpreted this way. The Greek word for desire is “tĕshuwqah” with the root meaning “shuwq” meaning “overflow.”

Again, I’m dense, so I Google “shuwq” and come up with this: “From shuwq; a street (as run over)

Not getting any better. So I search for commentary. Wow. I get it. All the commentaries I read pretty much said the same thing, but here’s the bottom line: This same word for desire is used in Genesis 4:7 – the desire of sin to master over Cain.

Okay, Mrs. Peace. NOW I understand why you added your parenthetical comment to Genesis 3:16.

Then she gets back to the obey and submit stuff. When I saw the diagram with the crown and the little church on page 54, I waited for felt to fall out of the book. Okay. That was mean. I know. But she could have saved me a LOT of time by providing a reference for her parenthetical comment about Genesis 3:16 and its relationship to Genesis 4:7. Mrs. Peace is making it difficult for me to understand her book without searching out additional resources. Leslie went in search also and discovered Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. Check her post to her recommended reading of this great resource.

THAT was long. If you’re still with me . . . THANKS! And . . . if you did make it all the way here – and you haven’t clicked away, thinking “what a heathen!” – I would love to know your thoughts!

(Chapter Six is not the first, but rather the most recent pause I’ve taken while reading this book. I’m not sure if I’ll work backwards from here and explain – simply because it’s almost summer and I will have children standing between me and a complete thought for 2 1/2 months. We’ll see.)

during. and after.

We told PinkGirl today.

My parents were coming over to borrow FirstHusband’s truck. My dad was helping my mom by picking up a bed given to her by a friend and they needed the truck. So we knew PinkGirl would be seeing her grandmother. We knew that my mom would be leaving in 8 days and we knew we couldn’t put it off any longer.

FirstHusband and I sat down on the floor of the family room with our coffee and asked PinkGirl to come sit with us. We wanted to talk to her.


“Because we want to talk to you about something.”


“Well, if you come and sit down, we’ll tell you, silly.”

She sits, looking at us suspiciously.

“You’re not in trouble, don’t worry.”

“oh.” Grin. Giggle.

Now this is all meshed together, so realize I’m pulling things from my memory and they may not be (probably won’t be) in order. And some of the conversation is missing.

“Mamaw (pause) is very unhappy (pause) and she has been unhappy for a long time, she’s just been pretending she was happy. She has decided (pause) that she doesn’t want to be married to Pappy anymore (pause) and that she wants to live in her own house. (pause) Her new house is in another state.”

Silence. Eyes watering. Now she’s in my lap. Arms around my neck, face in my shoulder.

“Why?” (oh. How I have been DREADING this question.)

(pause) then almost simultaneously, FirstHusband and I say, “We don’t know.”

“Why can’t she just stay married to Pappy? Why can’t she just tell the marriage people, ‘Yes, we’re happy?’ When the marriage people ask them, ‘Are you happy?’ they could just say ‘Yes, we’re happy.’ and then they could still be married. They could still live together.”

“Sweetie, (pause) Mamaw and Pappy are already divorced.”

Head buried in my shoulder. “I don’t want a grandmother anymore.”

“oh, honey, why not?”

“Not if she’s not married to Pappy.”

“Sweetie. She’s still your grandmother, even if she and Pappy aren’t married anymore.”

“But why does she have to move away? Does she not want to be with us anymore?”

(Second and third most dreaded questions.)

FirstHusband and I both, first talking over top of each other and then taking turns: “No, honey, this has nothing to to with us . . .” (and all the other stuff you say to kids when you want to assure them that divorce has nothing to do with them.)

“But why does she have to move away?”

I take this one, “We don’t know honey. (pause) What reasons can you think of?”

“Well, maybe she doesn’t want to live in Florida anymore.”

“That could be one reason.”

“Maybe she wants to live where it snows.” (PinkGirl saw snow for the first time in March.)

“Maybe. That could be another reason.”


“Maybe she just wants freedom.”

“Freedom? What do you mean by ‘freedom’?”

“Like, freedom to live by herself. In her own house. And not share it with anybody.”

We’re speechless.

“PinkGirl, that is VERY smart.”

Then, silence. Thinking.

FirstHusband says, “PinkGirl, we need you to know that Mom and Dad will NEVER get divorced.”

“But what if you . . . “

“Nope. Never. You know who my best friend is?”

PinkGirl points at me.

“Yep. Mom is my BEST friend.”

“And Daddy is MY best friend.” I add.

FirstHusband continues. “When you are thirty and have finished college and YOU get married . . .”

“Da ad!”

“. . . you need to make sure you are marrying your BEST friend. And you need to date for a long time so you know how he handles things when you disagree with him. Marriage isn’t like Sleeping Beauty, where you are singing and dancing in the forest with a Prince. Marriage isn’t always exciting. You need to make sure you want to be married to him even during the boring times and during the hard times. You need to date a long time and make sure you marry your best friend. ”

I jump in, “And most of all, after you get married you have to work really hard at being married. People who get divorced start having trouble being married a LONG time before they actually get divorced. Mom and Dad make sure that we fix the tiny problems when they first happen, so that the problems don’t last and last or get bigger and bigger. If you make sure you work out little problems when they happen, you can stay best friends. (pause) Do you know what Daddy told me once? He said that every day, he asks himself a question. He . . . Daddy, you tell her.”

FirstHusband says, “Every day, I ask myself, ‘What can I do to make Mommy’s life easier or better today?'”

I pop back in, “Daddy does nice things for me all the time. It’s one way he shows me he loves me. I try to do nice things for Daddy too.”

Silence again. Thinking.

“Maybe Mamaw doesn’t know that real freedom is sharing.”

We are speechless. Again.

Then I say, “PinkGirl? You just figured out something really important about life.”

Small Grin. Silence. More Thinking.

“Can I ask Mrs. FirstGradeTeacher to pray for Mamaw? To pray that she will understand that real freedom is sharing?”

“Remember when we talked to Mrs. FirstGradeTeacher last week for our conference? Well, we told her that this was going to happen and you know what she’s been doing? She’s been praying for you.”

Grin. Then recognition.

“You knew already? Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Well, I knew you would be sad, so I didn’t want you to be sad for a long time between finding out and Mamaw moving, so I decided to tell you later, so you wouldn’t be sad for so long.”

“When is Mamaw moving away?”

“A week from tomorrow, honey.”

Tears again. “Why didn’t you tell me THEN? Now I have to be sad for a whole week!”

(Do I know my daughter or what?)

Snuggle hugs, and then I say, “PinkGirl, Mamaw and Pappy will be here in a little while, are you okay with that?”

Thinking. Then, “Well, just act normal. I don’t want to cry in front of her, so act like you told me, but that I’m not freaking out.”

“So you don’t want to talk about it with Mamaw?”

“No. If I talk about it, I’ll cry.”

Then Daddy says, “Hey, there’s something not fair here.”

PinkGirl looks confused.

But, I get it. “Mommy has been getting all the snuggles.”

PinkGirl climbs into Daddy’s lap for a huge hug.

Strategically, I ask, “Hey, would you like to invite someone over to play today?”


PinkGirl spent the rest of the afternoon playing with two friends – sisters. Happy. She went to bed without “tummy worries” as she sometimes calls it when she is upset over something.

There’s still the farewell to go through. But today? She’s doing okay.

Me? I can’t stop thinking about this.

now THIS is marriage

The Story of Us. Michelle Pfeiffer. Bruce Willis. Their kids have been away at summer camp. They spent the time “separated.” They pick up the kids, the kids get in the car and they are supposed to go to a nice, quiet restaurant to tell the kids. You know. TELL the kids. But then. They figure it out. THIS is marriage.

This is real life. Recognize it. Live it. Embrace it. Appreciate it. Give thanks for it.  It is harder than we thought it was going to be.  Don’t give up.  Fight for it.

Till death.

The Underwear Principle

What exactly is The Underwear Principle?

I discovered it as a newlywed:

Expecting marital bliss, I was dismayed to discover my new husband would toss his underwear in the same spot on the floor every. single. day. After months of pleading, begging and withholding stimulating intellectual conversation (this is a family friendly blog), he still refused to put his underwear in the hamper! So, determined to win this battle over underwear, I did the unthinkable.

I moved the hamper to the underwear pile location.


The Underwear Principle:

First, I had to let my idea of the perfect hamper location GO. Let it go. I had to pry my white knuckled fingers off of “MY Way.” I just liked the hamper there. It didn’t have to stay there. MY Way is not always the BEST way. MY Way is not the ONLY way. It is just ONE way. A DIFFERENT way. (But different in a more aesthetically pleasing way. Come on, he’s a GUY.)

Secondly, I had to accept this “flaw” in my husband. What was really important here? It was a HAMPER. It was UNDERWEAR. I wasn’t going to divorce my new husband over underwear. I wasn’t even going to fight with my husband over underwear. (I was going to fight with him over money, like any normal newlywed).

Third, I had to pay attention. He didn’t want to carry his underwear across the room every day. He wanted to dump his underwear somewhere along his normal walking path. Watching what WAS happening and figuring out WHY was the key. I was able to modify MY Way to accommodate HIS Way.

Finally, I had to do it all over again when we moved into a new house. Circumstances changed and I had to adapt. Application of The Underwear Principle is never a done deal. Some changes don’t work. Some changes make improvements, but don’t work completely. It requires modification over time.

So, I had to adapt my way of doing things to accommodate his way of doing things. A compromise, to be sure, but still. A win-win situation. The Underwear Principle can be applied in so many other situations. In the coming weeks and months, I’ll post some of my experiences applying it. See below for post links.

So, what’s your “underwear?” It may not be a tangible item. It may be a way of doing something or a difference of opinion. Have you unknowingly applied the Underwear Principle in your life? Can you see any possibilities for application now?

January 16, 2008: “don’t file paper at home anymore. part 1

January 21, 2008: “don’t file paper at home anymore. part 2

January 27, 2008: “don’t file paper at home anymore. part 3

Check out my freakishly organized page for more examples!