Pre-Wife Life

As I am here in the middle of one of thousands of Starbucks writing a paper for my history class, I can’t help but to make things personal.

My paper for class is slowly morphing into what I want to discuss, which is the second feminist movement of the 1960s and 1970s in the United States. I keep writing about the change of traditional roles of women in American society. Women began to burst into the workforce in larger numbers than ever before. Women started to demand the same respect that men receive in both their careers and personal lives. The passive, submissive, “controlled” housewife and woman had gone as women began their long climb to break the glass ceiling. I absolutely love this, being a woman I am in favor of equality for women (and everyone, but that is a post for another time). However, with that freedom came crazy power struggles, problems, and stigmas that are alive today. AIDS became a horrifying and real problem with the opening of sexuality. Feminists are tagged with negative thoughts and feelings. There was the struggle of power between men and women. And now with the options of education and work, if a woman desires a family or to stay home with her children, she is not doing enough. She is not living to her potential or taking advantage of the rights that those social martyrs in the 60s fought so hard to get. Women should be grateful, and go to college to stick it to the men. To prove we are better.

NO.

This is a new struggle I have just recently noticed. I am an educated woman; I am finishing my B.A. degree in a few months and hope to obtain more degrees from schooling in the future. And I am getting married during my time here at university.

Once I received my engagement ring and started wearing it proudly on my finger, people seemed to no longer see a respectable, educated woman, but instead a sell-out, anti-feminist who only wanted her MRS degree. I was instantly transformed from an individual person to a desperate woman. All because I had found the man who I want to spend the rest of my life with.

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With remarks and jokes from others*, I began to struggle with these ideas of being needy or becoming a trophy wife. I even wrote my fears in a journal entry. “I don’t know if I can do this. How can I be a wife? I am not finished yet. I can’t cook or clean like a good wife should. I can’t be passive. I can’t stay home and waste away in to nothingness. I am still a person.”
These may sound trivial or ridiculous, since some of these are old-fashioned ideals but these are the struggles I ran into when thinking about myself as a wife. Living in a world where the world calls for super CEO wives and moms, and being in the church where I had the Proverbs 31 “checklist”… these expectations became too much. I knew that there is no way I could do everything that everyone asked  or expected of me.

But here’s the thing: I don’t have to.

The thing about marriage is that it is the absolute representation of Christ and the church. The bride needs her groom and the groom cherishes his bride. This perfect partnership makes both people more effective for the sole purpose of bringing glory to God. When I accepted Christ to become a part of his church (and be His “bride”), he did not expect me to bring anything to the table. He does not require that I need to have mastered patience, kindness, gentleness, and love. All I had to be was willing to be with Him, to want to learn, and take on a new name as His bride.

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That is the same realization I had about my personal feelings.

My future husband is not asking me to be a perfect wife (there is NO SUCH THING.), to have the perfect budgeting with money, or to stay at home and be a trophy wife. All he asks is that I be willing to be with him and to learn with him. I mean, that is how he proposed, right? “Will you do ME the HONOR of being my wife?” That’s it. I bring him honor by being willing to marry him. I become a new person by marrying him and taking his last name. New beginnings happen. Just as in Christ we become new creations.

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All the pressure to be the wife I imagined that I should be is now gone. That imaginary wife is imperfect in her perfection because she is impossible to be. All I can do is be willing to love, learn, grow, and be with my future husband and make the choice to do that each day.

I know the stigma, jokes, and meanies are out there. I still hear from them. But I am not doubtful in myself, or my abilities.

I am right where I need to be.

Much love. Much grace.

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*Disclaimer: My fiancé never said any of those things. I am referring to classmates, peers, and “friends”. Mr. Yell is quite the sweetheart and protects my feelings.

Movie Love: Queen

I am not a film buff. I don’t know directors, actors, or screenwriters. I don’t know how to tell if a film is “badlly made”. All I know is that I love movies that provoke emotion, show the human experience, or take me to a far off land (imaginary or real). For a long time I have been meaning to watch a Bollywood film because I have heard so many great things about the colors, singing, and dancing; but also heard they were very emotional… causing me to drag my feet when thinking about watching one.

BUT. The movie Queen is AMAZING.

Like I said, I am not an expert, and I do not claim to be. I just love sweet movies and this is one of them.

This film is such a journey, and takes some time in the storyline- it’s 142 minutes long! – but it is worth every second. Rani meaning “Queen” and played by Kangana Ranaut, is a traditional Indian girl who was jilted just days before her elaborate wedding to Vijay (Rajkummar Rao).  In emotional distress and a loss for her next step Rani decides to go on her honeymoon to Paris, France and on to Amsterdam alone. Never traveling anywhere alone, even in her town in India, the thought of traveling across the world is daunting and frightening to Rani.

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As she travels Rani meets people very different from herself. People who challenge her in many ways. In good ways. She is challenged to dance and shop. To do the things she loves like cooking and seeing new places. The people she encounters loves her as anyone would since she is an easy-to-love character. All I wanted while I was watching the film, was for Rani to enjoy her travels and her new life, and to be the Queen that her name called her to
be.

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I feel this way when I think about other women in my life as well. All I want is the best for them. I desire for their lives to be filled with good health, joy, peace, and adventures…. I want them to be respected and loved by others. I take joy in their triumphs and saddess in their trials. I want each of them to succeed, to be the Queen I know them to be.

How is it that I find it so hard to have these feelings for myself?

There are days where I think that I am not deserved of a good thought, let alone the idea of “Queen”.  Why is that? How can I love the other women in my life, when I find it so hard to love myself somedays?

And that is the very thing. I need to love myself, to see myself as others see me. To wish happiness, health, joy, and love to myself. A personal journey that must be taken to gain confidence in myself and who my God made me to be.

Rani had a physical and personal journey while roaming through Europe. Meeting new people, and learning that while they are different, those people cared for her deeply, more than her beloved Vijay ever did. And while I know most of us can’t drop everything and backpack to France, the personal journey to find confidence and love is still important. I don’t know what that looks like for you, or anyone else besides myself honestly. But I do know that it needs to be done. To change the world, we must have confidence in who we are; as women and men. As adults, teens, and in-betweens.

So go. Give yourself a little love. And then give it to someone else. (And then watch the movie Queen…)

 

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Digging Deep

Making friends and starting relationships has always been a bit of a difficult task for  me. When I was younger I would make friends, but then move on to the next ones quickly, effortlessly and without a second thought.

Part of this I owe to the multiple locations that my family has lived since moving tends to make friendships harder to keep up with and to start in general. Now that I am older, I am about to move on to a new part of life. I will be graduating from college in a few months and I keep feeling that there is no point in creating new relationships since I will be leaving in a short time. Why cause unnecessary heartbreak or waste anyone’s time?  I feel this way because I tend to be such a tourist in life. I have always loved meeting new people and having new experiences for the excitement… but once I decided I wanted to know that person on a deeper level, that friendship became too difficult for either me or the other person. I would enjoy learning about the deepest fears or joys a person has, which in the world we live in is  scary for most people to acknowledge or feel comfortable doing.

This behavior makes loving others so difficult.

It becomes harder to love that person once you know them on a deeper level…. because you truly know that person. You come to know their quirks and habits, but also what dreams they have or who they find facinating. We as people -even if you aren’t a part of the Millennial generation- are finding these relationships take too much time, energy, and are ultimately not worth the time.

What if we spend months or years getting to know someone and then not like them? Or what if they find they don’t like me for who I am?

All of these are FEAR. Fear of commitment. Fear of intimacy. Fear of rejection. We are beginning to let our relationships be overrun by fear.

But perfect love casts out fear.

If you are familiar with the Bible (even if you aren’t), you have heard 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. One of the most common verse passages spoken at weddings, but one that shows what love is even in platonic friendships. It talks about what love is, and isn’t. The last few words say that “love always perseveres”. Even through the fear, the quirks, the joy. Love is supposed to keep going forever.

This is such a hard message to accept. This means I cannot be a tourist. It means that I must try to dig deep to help the roots of relationships grow. Even if I am in a place for a short amount of time, I need to invest in others and love on them.

Love does not care about the time had, but about the effort put into the relationships.

Give love. And give it deeply. Get to know those around you, even if you are just passing through.  I encourage you, no CHALLENGE you to make deeper friendships.

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