Tuesday night after things had winded down I finally got the nerve to bring up plainness and headcovering. The background on this leading is that I’ve been (mostly) solidly resisting it for five or six years now. I’ve been fighting and fighting and fighting against taking it back up and within the last two weeks God has been grinding hard at me over it. I couldn’t take the pressure anymore! But at the same time, I knew I had to get Kevin’s nod of agreement. I hate to use the word permission, because it denotes the wrong sort of sentiment, but I did need his, "Sure, I can dig it. I’m on board with that, " kinda thing.
His reaction was not what I was hoping for, to say the least. The way he spoke about it was that my words and vague description brought up the mental image of either a nun’s habit, a burka or a bonnet and cape dress. I thought, “Lord, how can you pound me into following Your Will for so long and then keep me from doing it? ARGH!!!”
I didn’t say anything Wednesday morning about it, though I didn’t remotely have peace in my heart. When I got dressed, I put on a long denim skirt, cream-colored long-sleeve blouse and black stockings. Exactly what “plain” means for me, sans headcovering, of course. Tuesday, for reference, I had on my favorite black turtleneck sweater (it’s been chilly here), a long black skirt with red and tan flowers patterned on it and black stockings - also exactly befitting my personal plainness - and he complimented how nice I looked the second he got in the car. He’s told me flat out that he prefers black stockings to the regular tan ones, stated he prefers I grow my hair long again rather than keep it short and freely complimented the modest dresses I’ve made myself, so I hope it’s evident the confusion I was feeling as well when he said he doesn’t want me to be plain.
I wanted to try to stimulate a conversation, so I sat down and wrote out what turned into six legal-size pages worth of notes on the previous night. I explained my feelings, described how I’d come to them, went more in-depth with my personal faith journey and that I understand his path isn’t mine, etc. I told him about why I studied Judaism and attended a Temple for some time and how the Lord was quick to point out when He felt I had learned enough there, that I misjudged why God sent me there (I thought He intended me to convert, rather than to just study and provide a firm rooting for my faith) because I’m just an imperfect human, and so on and so forth. I folded it and tucked it into the book he is reading, where I knew he would see it.
Now, you may be asking yourself why I would write my mister a letter when I could just as easily have opened my mouth at the dinner table. The simple, honest answer is if you’re married to a silver-tongued Irishman, you would understand. It’s incredibly difficult to get a word in edgewise when he gets rambling on about this or that! Not only that, when we first met, we wrote letters to each other through e-mail and snail mail (I always sent the latter, s.w.a.k. of course, and he has faithfully kept every single one), so I hoped it would bring about that old rosy glow.
The letter worked like a charm. It gave me a single voice he couldn’t interrupt and allowed me to air all of my concerns and feelings in one clip. He sat down on the couch after he had read it and we did indeed discuss. Now, I know that I have to work or we’ll be sunk, I’ve mentioned that here before, so obviously I don’t plan to craft grass skirts and pluck a ukelele for money. That might suit some people, but with Baby #2 about three months from making his or her appearance, it’s simply unwise. He voiced his fears that our paths were too divergent and that he can’t keep up with my holiness (his word, not mine), which I can understand, but I didn’t have the words to allay that fear. I showed him a pretty A-line square necked jumper pattern I found, and he said he liked the “more contemporary” knee length, but the ankle length was “too Amish”.
He also said he can’t see the point of view that I should cover up for all but him in what he described as an 18th century perspective, and that he likes showing me off. And I didn’t think of it until later on, but it occurred to me that it came across as sounding like he wants to parade me around like a prize with which to make other people jealous. On the other hand, it could be that having a well-made-up-me on his arm is a little bump to his self-esteem and a source of happiness.
I know Kevin better than to think he wants me to wear skimpy outfits and whorish makeup, so that’s not my concern, but I don’t know where exactly that grey area between plain/modest and fancy/immodest is. But where’s the line between trophy wife and healthy morale booster? And where does obedience to God’s Will fall in that? Is it possible to obey both God and man? How does one be a godly wife to a thoroughly modern, wordly husband?