“Have you never read that He Who made them from the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be united firmly (joined inseparably) to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder (separate).” (Mt 19:4-6)
I think America has a problem with honoring marriage. I’m not talking about gay-marriage, I’m just talking about the general state of two people coming together and being married. It comes out in our TV shows, movies, magazines, and in our interactions with others. It’s a regular part of popular culture to look at a happy marriage or spouses who actually like each other and make them the butt of a jokes or ridicule — and I find it ignorant and offensive.
A few months ago I was out shopping with a friend of mine. At the check out the lady asked if I wanted a credit card with their store. When I said no thanks, she offered again and said I would save ten percent off my purchase if I signed up. I said no thank you again, and I made the comment that I have an agreement with my husband that we don’t use credit cards. Maybe it was a little “TMI”, but it’s the truth and I guess I expected her to respect the unity and honor I have my for my husband and marriage.
Instead she laughed and replied, “Ah, I see. You just want to stay married.”
You’re right. How could my marriage possibly be more important than a being able to save ten percent off such cute dresses and shoes today? Give me the pen. Where do I sign?
It really wasn’t a big deal but it still bothered me for the rest of the afternoon. Later in the day when I had some time to process what the cashier said, I realized the reason it bothered me so much was because her comment not only attacked my character and the value I have for our marriage, but it also communicated that she found nothing morally wrong with selling me a product that was designed to take advantage of me.
And thinking back on it, I wish I would have told her that.
She was betting on the fact that I was shopping and making purchases I didn’t plan on telling my husband about. So if I was already doing that, what was to stop me from lowering my integrity a little more and signing up for a credit card behind my husband’s back?
It reminded me of another time when I was at the bank and the clerk suggested I keep my own personal account and get my own separate credit card “just in case” and to “protect” myself as a woman. Just in case of what? We get a divorce? Well thank God I’ll at least have my own credit card and bank account if that happens. Who has time to be devastated loosing their life-long partner and friend when you’re busy maxing out your spending limits on new clothes and pedicures?
Call me naive and simple, but I kind of think that making plans to “protect” myself in the event of divorce is just the same as planning for divorce. For me the question really comes down to this: When I made a covenant with my husband on our wedding day, did I mean it or were my vows to him and before God just words?
So yes, bank clerk lady, I’ll take that chance and pass on whatever supposed “protection” a credit card offers.
It’s not that I have a problem with a woman’s right to vote, open a bank account in her own name, work a full time job or open doors for herself. I think it’s amazing we live in a country that gives women so much equality. But it isn’t freedom to make choices out of fear and in the interest of self-preservation.
As a married woman I maintain the same liberties I had before I was married, but during certain times I choose to give up some of my rights to maintain unity with my husband. Just because I can open a bank account or credit card in my own name, doesn’t mean I have to or that it’s the best decision for our marriage. I know that for many people it actually works better for them to have their own separate banking accounts. And that’s great if that’s what’s working in their marriage. What doesn’t work is when you maintain a spirit of “what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is yours” or “what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine” in your marriage.
Being independent and free are strong cultural values here in America. And they’re good values to have. But we don’t seem to know when we become enslaved to our desires and need for independence. This concept of being a woman in the 21st century who submits to her husband’s authority and gives up some of her “feminist” rights is seen as naive or weak. And that’s fine. I can comes to terms with being called gullible for sacrificing my so called rights as a woman. But I’m not ok with my marriage being attack by a society who can’t keep it’s national divorce average below forty percent.
Marriage is a holy covenant between two people. It is not a conditional contract that you get to toss out when your marriage or spouse is suddenly inconveniencing you.
So what I wish I would have told both the store clerk was, “You’re right, I do want to stay married, and I’m sorry making commission on credit card sales is more important than honoring someone else’s marriage and respecting their commitments to one another.”