Monday, June 1, 2015

Preparing to Be a Help Meet: Fleas: Part Four

Now that Debi's gotten us all good and warmed up, she moves into exactly how God exacts vengeance on wives!

If you think for one second that you can enter marriage with your past behavior stuffed out of sight and out of mind in a trunk in your attic, think again!  The attitudes you have before marriage will resurface.  They will grow and become monsters that will tear into your marriage.

So many mixed metaphors.....

If you resisted authority in your youth, once you marry you will feel just as trapped by your husband as you did by your parents.  The worst of it is, you'll blame your pitiful existence on your husband.  In your youth you can look forward to getting married and leaving the situations.  Now that you are married, to leave the situation is divorce.

 *Gapes in horror at the previous paragraph*

I'm not even sure quite where to start.

Problem 1: Everyone goes through rebellious periods of life.  Most people have at least three stages: toddlerhood, puberty, and mid-late teenage years. 

Toddlers are learning that they are independent beings from their parents and are learning how to express their feelings towards items and actions they don't like.  (After all, image not being able to say "no!" for 18 months of your life.  Wouldn't you want to spend a lot of time expressing "no!" after that?)

Puberty marks the beginning of a several year period where adolescents are primed to learn to conform to their peer group.  Yeah, CP will tell you that this is a cultural construct - and CP is lying through their teeth.  Read history - teenagers have always been vaguely annoying at best to adults and will go to amazing lengths to find ways to interact with other teens without adults around.  That's because your teenage friends of today are your marriage and business partners of tomorrow.  It's worth the time to build bonds that will benefit the teen in later years.

Finally, most older teenagers are getting ready to set off on their own - and need to get some emotional distance from their family to do so. 

None of these doom your marriage.  In fact, the absence of these stages is likely to be more of a problem.

Problem 2:  Your husband is not a surrogate parent.  A wife is not a dependent child.   Using the parent(s)-child relationship to predict spousal relationships is shaky logic at best - and at worst leads to some weird purity ball / Daddy-daughter dating crap.

Problem 3: Healthy adults take ownership of their feelings and choices.  If a woman is feeling trapped, she needs to take stock on why she feels that way and what she needs to do to change that - not blame her husband mindlessly.

Problem 4:Choosing to leave an unhappy home by getting married is A HORRIBLE CHOICE.  Unless you get some help - read therapy - you could well be jumping out of the hot frying pan into the fire.  Of course, you could leave by moving out as a single woman. 

Problem 5: Patricia/Debi forgot to explain why divorce is so terrible. 

Thankfully, God used fleas to wake me up to honoring and obeying God and my husband.

Fleas to the Rescue:
My husband would you put it....he was different.  I was horrified to realize he did not agree with me on much of anything.  I began to wonder how I could have fallen in love with such a cold-hearted, unromantic man.  The man had no feelings!

Since Patricia has previously described Jesse as bossy and forceful, I don't understand her surprise.

About seven years into the marriage God reached his loving hand down and found us.  We both, Jew and Gentile, husband and wife, came to understand the love of Jesus Christ.  But becoming a Christian did not change my zeal for independence.  I now wanted God's way in my life, although I had no clue as to what God wanted me as a wife.  I was to learn.

Poof!  They were saved - kind of.  Since CP requires absolute female submission, Patricia's want to be treated like an adult is a problem.

Notice Patricia and Jesse have been married seven years at this point - God's moving slowly. 
The years rolled on, and three children later, bitterness and resentment were my daily companions.  Under my breath I would murmer (sic) things like, "I'll show you!" or "I can't believe I marred such an insensitive person."  I would need a lesson from God if my marriage was going to survive and flourish.  Even in my rebellion towards my husband, God knew I really wanted to know and honor my God and my husband.  God sent fleas to the rescue.

Let's say Patricia had her three kids back-to-back.  This means this story is at least 3 years AFTER they became "saved" and at least 10 years into their marriage.

My biggest concern at this point is that Patricia is no more mature at least 30 years old than most 12 year-olds.  Muttering "I'll show you!" at your spouse is disturbingly juvenile for a married woman.

God's reaction to 10 years of immature bickering from Patricia is...fleas.  I'm not impressed.

One day, as I was helping a friend pack up her home to move, she offered me several of her houseplants.  I chose one, a beautiful healthy asparagus fern that hung just above where her cat slept.  I excitedly took my prize plant home and hung it in our bedroom.
Several days later my dear husband suggested, "I'm beginning to get itchy.  The plant must have fleas.  You better get rid of it."
I gave him a look signifying how stupid he was.  "Plants don't have fleas!"  I conveniently forgot his suggestion to throw the plant out.  Days passed and he warned me again, "you need to get rid of that plant, because the fleas are getting worse."

Mmm-kay.  I guess the fern could have gotten fleas - it's a bit of a stretch, but it could happen if the cat had fleas and the fern was fairly close to the cat's sleeping area.

By the time the fleas have infested the house - and are biting Jesse - throwing the plant out is a moot point.  The plague is here.  Time to start vacuuming and treating animals.

More importantly - how is this an example of God punishing Patricia using fleas? The plant came into the house infested with fleas before Patricia "defied" her husband.  

Has your dad or mom ever given you a command you thought was stupid?  The same Bible that teaches we are to honor our parents also teaches that a wife is to reverence her husband "... and the wife see that she reverence her husband" (Ephesians 5:33).

My parents haven't "commanded" me to do anything since I was about 12.  Like most pre-teens and early teens, I thought my parents were nuts and NO ONE understood me. 

My husband has "commanded" me to do two things - both health-related.

Time One:  I was very sick and breaking out in a rash and he told me that I needed to get in the truck so we could go to the hospital, NOW. 

Time Two: I was helping round up steers during the great Steer IceCapades of 2015 in sub-zero wind-chills for two hours in clothing that was too lightweight for the temperature.  As things were wrapping up, Nico looked at me and realized I wasn't shivering and was stumbling when I was walking.  (Both of these are signs of hypothermia.)  He said "You can sit in the truck, if you want."  I replied "No....I'll just...finish moving" He replied "Melinda, get in the truck."  I got in the truck.

I've "commanded" my husband to do a few things - also health-related.  We both have blind spots there....

When my husband and I insist that the other do something for the sake of their own health, I think we are much closer to the message of Ephesians 5:33 than Debi's ever gotten in this whole book.

"Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband."  (KJV!)

I had no idea that God expected me to reverence my husband!  He is just a man and is often wrong.  Reverence him?  But God gently continued to teach me.
By the next day, it was clear my husband was right.  The fleas were multiplying so fast that they infested the whole house, including Spike, out long-haired guinea pig.  My husband treated Spike with flea shampoo - over-treated, I should say.  Poor old Spike looked like a mop gasping for air.  I think he went into a mild cardiac arrest.  What a mess!  Getting rid of the fleas was quite an ordeal.  My disobedience caused my husband and my family a lot of frustration.  The big question is: did I learn anything?

 Hopefully, you learned the importance of reading dosing information when treating animals with flea shampoos. You also probably learned how annoying it is to get rid of fleas and some good treatments for flea bites.   Outside of that, there isn't much to learn. 

The Case of Fleas the Second Time Around
Remember the baggage you accumulated as a single woman will come with you when you marry.  I still assumed I was smarter and my way was right.  God sent Lesson Two.

My husband felt God was telling him to get out of debt, so we sold our home and started looking for a rental.  I found our first rental. It had everything I wanted in a house.  Jesse looked at it and didn't feel comfortable about renting it. I put my charm to work, convinced him what a great house it was, and voila! He signed on the dotted line.
God told Jesse to get out of debt - seriously?  Why didn't God speak up before they bought the house? 

I think it's reasonable that Patricia talked to her husband about why she liked the house.  If he was picking up on a real problem, he should have stuck to his guns.

Several nights after we moved into the house Jesse woke me up and announced, "We have fleas!" I rolled over and thought to myself, "Get a grip.  We don't have fleas." ( you see a pattern here?) Yup!  The house was infested.  We discovered the previous occupants were cat lovers.  It took months to get rid of the fleas.  By then Spike had gone to the happy hunting land, so he was spared my flea lesson. 

Patricia must believe in a deterministic universe.  For the fleas to be a divine punishment, God had to be setting up the punishment long before Patricia "sinned" by "disobeying" her husband. 

Don't believe me?  Run the timeline.

God, at some point in the past, caused a cat to become infested with fleas.  The cat brought the fleas home where they moved into something.  The cat owners move out.  Jesse and Patricia look at the house.  Patricia convinces Jesse to rent the home thereby "disobeying" her husband.  God punishes Patricia by a flea infestation.....that had started long before her "sin".
Evidently, I am a slow learner.  Maybe from this story you would think I should just start cleaning my house better, but I am and have always been a clean freak. 

Fleas have nothing to do with cleaning.  Or divine punishment.

AntiPearl: A different way to look at the "fleas" in our lives- "The very contradictions in my life are in some ways signs of God's mercy to me."

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