For example, I walked into our bedroom last night, and began clearing our bed of the day's discarded clothes (for the record, we're not slobs. The clothes made their way to their respective destinations: the bed was a way station on their journeys). I found: two blouses, a pair of pants, a sports bra, a regular bra, and a pair of gym shorts. The gym shorts were mine. As I sorted the clothes to their bins or closets, I began thinking about the laundry we bring to our marriage.
I am still learning what it means to be a husband. When we were married (as married folks will agree), I was not instantly changed into a husband. Instead, I am still Mike Lemon, only now heaven and earth recognize my marriage. The change in thought and being is a process I become more aware of each passing day. And yes, I recognize that Hilary and I have been married for only a few weeks, but the thought is pervasive. "How can I become a better husband? How can I support Hilary, as a woman and as a wife?"
In my senior seminar, I have studied the work of Toni Morrison. In class discussion, I have learned about role reduction: when a person reduces their life to one role in life. For many of Morrison's female characters, they sacrifice strong female friendships for marriage, individuality for motherhood, healthy relationships for unhealthy sexual relations. Many of the ills found in Morrison's novels can be traced back to characters being reduced to one role. While I concern myself with being a good husband, I also understand how important developing other roles is: being a good priesthood leader, an academic, a man, a brother, a provider, etc.
So, what does this mean for Hilary? I tell her how important individual goals are, and how proud I am when she pursues them. But do you think? What are ways you have developed your sense of self, while being a mother or a wife? What can you teach me and Hil about roles in marriage?