It all started with cookies. That’s how it usually goes, right? Something simple often turned into something representative of something much more. And so the story begins.
This past Sunday, my husband, son (who is four months old), myself and about 7 other family members met up at Golden Corral for lunch after church. When I finished eating, I let my son try mashed potatoes (his first real food!) and he loved them. The downside was that apparently I wasn’t feeding him fast enough because he would let out an embarrassingly high squeal each time my pace slowed at feeding him. This carried on for about ten minutes and even after eating, he continued to scream, carry on and just generally do the things babies do to let you and the entire room know that they aren’t happy with your parenting skills. As my husband finished his plate of food and started on his dessert (that I had yet to partake of due to our son’s tantrum), I took my son to the restroom, changed him and walked around with him. As I headed back to the table, he appeared to be a new man and all was well.
When I sat back down to the table, seeing my husband had finished his dessert plate, I asked him if he could hold the baby while I went up to the dessert bar. He readily agreed. I returned to the table with two cookies. As I sat in my seat in mid-chew of one cookie, my husband said, “Will you go get me some cookies?” Without batting an eye, I said, “No, I just sat down. But I can hold the baby for you while you go get yourself some.” And, if I might have a moment of sheer honesty here, I was a bit annoyed. I had spent the last 20 minutes attempting to productively channel the tantrums and whims of a four month old while my husband ate in peace. When I finally had the opportunity to do the same, I was asked to get up and go get him something. It seemed so annoyingly inconsiderate that I honestly did not even consider doing so. And I didn’t.
But that’s not the end of this story. My uncle, who is a minister at the very church we had all not long exited from that day, asked if he had overheard the conversation correctly that resulted in me telling my husband that I would not get him anything. I told him he heard the conversation accurately. He then told me that I could at least give my husband the remaining cookie on my plate if I was not going to honor his request. That didn’t appeal to me either. After all, I watched my husband down a huge chunk of cake and some ice cream. The internal exchange I had with myself said he was just being greedy and why should one of my cookies fall victim to his greed. I know, I know. I probably read way too much into the situation, but it did evoke a salient point that my uncle held onto for the rest of the meal: if my husband would have done it for me (he would have) then why didn’t I see the bigger picture, swallow my pride and go get him those blasted cookies?
Admittedly, I have always held on to the fact that I am fiercely independent and hate being told what to do. I won’t go into details, but I will say that my childhood coupled with a few bad romances helped to shape me into the stubborn person I can often become in moments of being “told” what to do. I hate that. At work, I’m good, that’s part of the deal. But at home, I strive for a home of balance, not one where one partner tells the other to do something and the other does it without question, no matter the task. It’s the age old question of submission. While I was certainly raised in the Church of Christ and adamantly believe in the tenets of the Bible, submission is one I have always had a difficult time wrapping my head around. And quite honestly, that is the issue Sunday’s discussion seemed to tap dance around. I also cannot say that even with Sunday’s discussion that given the chance to do it all over again, I’d still go get those cookies.
So what say you? How do you balance acquiescing to your partner’s, submission, self respect and your own personal ideals?