Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Airing Some Dirty Laundry

I grew up with brothers, and a mother who did not discuss the unmentionables of feminine life. So, imagine the culture shock of marriage, and learning about the underwire of feminine living.

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?

1 comment:

  1. To be honest, I fell into the trap of role reductionism and didn't realize it until we were in Post-Modern Lit class reading Morrison's Paradise. It was disheartening at first, then I felt empowered to change for the better. Some of the things I have started doing to develop my individual self include blogging, writing poetry, beginning a book, serving others, and learning new things through formal classes, taking time to read studies and scholarly articles, etc. Everyone is different though, but I think that if you remember to avoid objectifying one another especially during the worst times, you will always treat each other as the children of God that you are.

    Thanks for posting this to FB. I didn't know you had this blog--just your other one.
    If you would like to check out what I have been writing, go to: