Still struggling with submission


#1

Hello. Some of you will remember me from my posts a year ago. I was about to be married and worried about Ephesians 5; specifically the part about wives submitting to their husbands as to the Lord. My fears were mostly theoretical at that point, but now I have some practical concerns so I’m back. Since I posted that, my husband and I are now married and I’ve converted to Catholicism (was Methodist before). I’m also 3 months pregnant with our first baby.

I love my husband very much. Don’t regret for a second that he was the right man for me to marry. Our marriage is about 90% great. The 10% I struggle with is the same issue I posted about before. Specifically, I have been working at the same job for 5 years, long before I met my now-husband. I love my job. We had talked about this prior to getting married and we both decided that when we had kids, we would like for me to be a SAHM to them. Well, now that this theoretical thing has become a sudden reality, I have changed my mind somewhat. My husband still wants me to quit my job, the sooner the better. I would rather take it slower, perhaps work for the next few months until I’m much later in my pregnancy, and then go down to part-time? I just feel panicked at the thought of quitting this job entirely. My husband has a good job but we’re never going to be rich on his income alone. We would be so much more comfortable with my income in addition to his. Or even half my income. It’s very important to him that he be the provider and that our children have one parent at home with them at all times. I can understand this, but I don’t see why it has to start NOW. And to be honest, maybe I don’t understand it as much as I thought I did before we got married. Our lives will be so much easier with two incomes. Even if one of them (mine) is part-time.

And then I worry about my mental health as well. None of my family live near us and so my entire social life is tied up with my career. I’m scared of losing that. I’m afraid I’ll lose part of myself if I lose the one link I have to my “grown-up” social life, KWIM? So I don’t know what to do.

My husband will not bend on this. He understands what where I’m coming from, and he listens to me, but in the end he still says that I can’t work in my last few months of pregnancy because it might be “too dangerous.” (I have a somewhat physical, demanding job). And then once the baby is born, he says there’s no way I can work until the baby is at least 1 year old because the baby will need me more than any job will need me. And that’s his big compromise!! Maybe, possibly, after a year, he’ll consider letting me go back to work part time. He doesn’t even like that, but he’s throwing me that bone so to speak so it won’t seem like he’s not listening to my needs at all. And I really am stuck too because I DID agree to this SAHM arrangement before we got married. So am I the one being unreasonable now that I’m contemplating going back on the plan I agreed to? I just don’t know what to do. I was so happy about our life that we had planned, and now I’m starting to get more fearful and anxious about it than anything else. I feel like I’m losing myself. :frowning: Does this make any sense??

If anyone understands me at all, please respond because I feel very alone in this, and like I might possibly be crazy. And I do love my husband and I want to understand where he’s coming from more. and maybe figure out if there’s a better way I can deal with him so he’ll listen to my ideas without feeling like I’m trying to break the promises we made eachother before we got married. I hope this makes sense.


#2

This is my first post after joining a couple days ago and lurking. I felt the need to reply to you because of my own situation. I am a Roman Catholic, born into the faith and love it. I have never felt that I am being submissive to my husband for being a stay at home mom. We have 3 children ages 6, 4, and 1 and I also homeschool my children. Taking care of my home and children is the most rewarding gift or "job" that anyone could hope to have. I know that since you are still pregnant, the reality of the little life growing inside you has yet to really hit home. Once you hold that precious life in your arms, your feelings WILL change. I myself had a dream before getting married. I wanted to be a nurse. I was in college and held down a steady 4.0 GPA. I was loving it. Three months after getting married, God sent us our first "package" ;) and after becoming pregnant I sat down and took a second look at what I wanted for my life. Did I want a daycare raising my child, or did I want to be the one to hold the reins on that job? Did I want the public schools filling my kids heads with unsound things? No. I wanted to be the one to raise my children up. I wanted to be the one to show them the path of Christ and prepare their souls for heaven. Is it a little difficult not having two incomes sometimes? You bet! But it would be more difficult for me to miss the chance of spending my children's lives with them. I hope that this perspective can help you some.

God bless you, and Congratulations!


#3

I think once you hold your baby in your arms, you'll want to stay at home, but if not what's the harm with part time? My wife and I work at the same place, and we only have one child, but my wife wanted to work. I was similar to your husband, I didn't want her to work at all, but we came up with a compromise and arrangement. She works part time. When our son was a baby this was more difficult. Thankfully our place of work is very flexible on hours. When our son was little, my wife went into work 3AM-7AM, came home talked a few minutes with me, and I went to work 8-5. Our evenings were very nice and normal, except my wife went to bed around 8:00. I had wonderful bond time with my son. I got him up every morning, fed him and played with him, and I put him to bed every night. I loved that set up!! WE never had to have a baby sitter, we had my wifes' extra income, and we both had a set of responsibilities with our son. The bad part was that in time this schedule got old for my wife in particular. You couldn't really do anything on the weekends, because she would fall asleep after 8:00, and she was tired much of the time. Now that he's in school it's a much better system. The good thing about her job is that we send our son to a Catholic school, a great school with a good amount of tuition, another luxury we couldn't afford with out her pay check. I don't know if this helps you at all, but it is an idea. Compromise is the name of the game, and if your husband is like me he'll realize that if his wife isn't happy, ain't nobody happy!:)


#4

[quote="Dj87, post:3, topic:205652"]
I think once you hold your baby in your arms, you'll want to stay at home, but if not what's the harm with part time? My wife and I work at the same place, and we only have one child, but my wife wanted to work. I was similar to your husband, I didn't want her to work at all, but we came up with a compromise and arrangement. She works part time. When our son was a baby this was more difficult. Thankfully our place of work is very flexible on hours. When our son was little, my wife went into work 3AM-7AM, came home talked a few minutes with me, and I went to work 8-5. Our evenings were very nice and normal, except my wife went to bed around 8:00. I had wonderful bond time with my son. I got him up every morning, fed him and played with him, and I put him to bed every night. I loved that set up!! WE never had to have a baby sitter, we had my wifes' extra income, and we both had a set of responsibilities with our son. The bad part was that in time this schedule got old for my wife in particular. You couldn't really do anything on the weekends, because she would fall asleep after 8:00, and she was tired much of the time. Now that he's in school it's a much better system. The good thing about her job is that we send our son to a Catholic school, a great school with a good amount of tuition, another luxury we couldn't afford with out her pay check. I don't know if this helps you at all, but it is an idea. Compromise is the name of the game, and if your husband is like me he'll realize that if his wife isn't happy, ain't nobody happy!:)

[/quote]

This sounds like a perfect compromise. Except I'd want to work maybe slightly less hours than your wife did. ;) Something like 10 hours a week would be the limit with me, I think.

To the OP, I agree you're likely to change your mind when your baby is born. As far as working while being pregnant, maybe see if you can go down to part time? If your husband isn't ok with that, honestly I would just go with it. You're going to be getting very tired and uncomfortable soon and I'm betting you'll be very grateful you have a responsible husband who makes it possible for you not to work now. I know I am. I liked my job too but if I had to work NOW?! :eek: wow, what a nightmare. Just consider yourself lucky if you can.


#5

Submission means doing what is the best for YOUR family. I think part time is a good compromise. As well, could you go back to work after your baby has grown a bit? It up to both you and your husband. Your husband has the duty to listen to you as you do to listen to him. Communicate, compromise, and possibly seek help/advice together if you need it. As well, your husband probably wants this to help you and do this for your benefit. I hear caring a baby for 9 months can really take a lot out of a person!

I'm only a teen, so I'm far from your position, but I hope I helped. God Bless.


#6

I worked up until my due date and I have to say, it made the pregnancy go much faster (I got my job when I was 5 mo pregnant). I went on leave on my due date and delivered a week later and that week of waiting was horrible. I was going crazy around the house and I even contemplated going back to work after 4 days off had my mom not talked me out of it. I suggest maybe going down to part time when you start to get tired. It would have been nice to only go part time the last month or 2, that's when I really started feeling the 8 hrs on my feet. I started getting horrible swelling, it was laughable how my feet looked, like huge balloons, all the way up to my thighs. They were really worried about me but it turned out to be nothing serious, just from being on my feet too much.
Your husband wants the best for you it seems, but i suggest having a nice long talk and let him know what's best for you. A happy mommy is a good mommy. No reason you can't go part time if you want to.
I thought I would definitely go back after my baby was born and I only lasted 6 months of working. I missed her too much, and even though I loved my job I had to quit. You have to do what's best for you and your family.


#7

I feel the need to recuse myself here, as I'm not married, nor do I have children (naturally since I"m not married! )

Anyway, I've worked with all sorts of different women who've fallen pregnant and have faced what you're facing now. Every woman is different and from my observation, some women need the social interaction with other adults the work place provides, even part time. I've met a few women who have been SAHMs that have had break downs because of the work they have to do at home, and becoming very socially isolated from their peers. Whereas other women I have met have had no such problems, and some find "mummy-baby coffee" groups to be all the socalising they need.

So, I think for you that's what you need to consider, can you manage socially/emotionally with just baby and husband (on his off days) or do you need some more grown up interactions?

But yeah, as others have said, submission isn't about obeying husband, its about doing what's best for yoru family, and you having a mental break down or being socially isolated is not going to help family.


#8

[quote="ac_claire, post:4, topic:205652"]
This sounds like a perfect compromise. Except I'd want to work maybe slightly less hours than your wife did. ;) Something like 10 hours a week would be the limit with me, I think.

To the OP, I agree you're likely to change your mind when your baby is born. **As far as working while being pregnant, maybe see if you can go down to part time? If your husband isn't ok with that, honestly I would just go with it. **You're going to be getting very tired and uncomfortable soon and I'm betting you'll be very grateful you have a responsible husband who makes it possible for you not to work now. I know I am. I liked my job too but if I had to work NOW?! :eek: wow, what a nightmare. Just consider yourself lucky if you can.

[/quote]

Just wanted to clarify what I wrote before, when I said "just go with it" I meant I think she should just go with not working, period, while pregnant if her husband hates the part-time idea.

Again, I totally think you should consider yourself lucky!!


#9

[quote="Mdybiblegal, post:1, topic:205652"]
...he still says that I can't work in my last few months of pregnancy because it might be "too dangerous." (I have a somewhat physical, demanding job).

[/quote]

I was in the gym, weightlifting, less than 24 hours before my Essie was born. And her delivery went a lot more smoothly because of my physical strength and muscle tone.

Now, if your job requires a good sense of balance--say, climbing ladders--that's a different matter. Or (God forbid) if you have/develop any sort of conditions or complications that your doctor feels would necessitate you leaving work earlier in your pregnancy, then by all means, quit! Since this is your first, I can imagine your hubby is extra-worried--which is very sweet, but probably unnecessary! If your doc is OK with you working late into the pregnancy, maybe he/she could speak to your hubby and calm his fears?

And congrats! :)

Miz


#10

[quote="Miserys_Fence, post:9, topic:205652"]
I was in the gym, weightlifting, less than 24 hours before my Essie was born.

[/quote]

:eek: I am in awe of you, Miss Miz. :D Sometimes it takes all my strength to just get out of the bed lately lol.


#11

I think one of the problems with the whole submission understanding is that sometimes people (no one who has commented so far, but I've seen some strange comments at CA before) try to apply what works in their marriage and expects it to work for others. I'm glad to see that someone mentioned that you have to do what is best for your marriage because YOU are the one who has to be submissive to your husband.

One thing that I have learned in my own marriage is being submissive means I need to hold my tongue. I can sometimes be a little feisty or "told you so" but lately I have been understanding that saying those things doesn't show respect to my husband. So as much as I'd like to just say what I want at times, by withholding my tongue and "without words, swaying my husband" with a "gentle and quiet spirit", I show submission.

I want to know how people take submission and think it can all of a sudden apply to things like compromising for working outside the home and related topics. First off, things change and that includes your mind. You need to let your husband know that although you had previously agreed to SAHM, you'd like to see how this pregnancy goes to see if you think you can handle working toward the later months. And if you realize that you can't (or can), take it one month at a time. For goodness sakes, this is your first pregnancy, isn't it? You don't know how things will go, and neither does he. I think the working part-time option is a good way to see if things will work out.

And for the record, your husband can't "make" you do anything-- that sounds an awful lot like control. Submission should NEVER be about control, manipulation, fear, anger, or doormatness. I always get concerned when a wife mentions that her husband "won't let her" or "makes" a wife do something. You're his WIFE, not his 3-year old child.


#12

[quote="Mdybiblegal, post:1, topic:205652"]
.... please respond because I feel very alone in this, and like I might possibly be crazy. And I do love my husband and I want to understand where he's coming from more. and maybe figure out if there's a better way I can deal with him so he'll listen to my ideas without feeling like I'm trying to break the promises we made eachother before we got married. I hope this makes sense.

[/quote]

Below is a site with some pretty good thoughts on this. This is not a Catholic site has some strange thoughts on Polygamy. I am trying to find something like this from a Catholic perspective, but these are pretty good. I would think that he should want you to be happy and you should want to do what will be best for your family.

ecclesia.org/truth/wife.html
ecclesia.org/truth/husband.html

If you find a Catholic Site please forward it to me.

God Bless,


#13

The bible says that the wife is supposed to submit to the husband, but that the husband is supposed to love her like god loves the church. That means he will take what you say into GREAT consideration and that if he loves you like god loves the church, he will go your way unless he sees some way to absoluetely go against it. I say go with the advice that the people on here gave. Have him talk to the doctor about it so he'll feel better about you staying at work.


#14

I don't know if this really relates but I read this a few days ago and I really liked it.

ebeth.typepad.com/reallearning/2006/09/what_is_submiss.html


#15

Congratulations on your pregnancy. How I wish my husband and I were in your shoes. I'm dying to stay at home, but my husband is unemployed right now.

Something that sticks out to me is that you expressed a lot of fear about the future. You're afraid you'll regret it. You're afraid you'll lose your social life. You're afraid of losing economic comfort, etc, etc. It doesn't sound to me like you really actually disagree with this choice you previously agreed upon, but rather that fear is making you second guess it, while he really feels deep down in his heart that this is the best option for both you and the baby.

My suggestion would be to tell your husband about these fear and ask him if the two of you could pray a rosary novena together for awhile to help unit your wills and to relieve any fears you have about the future. I think if he acknowledges the need to address these fears you have and doesn't just seem closed off to addressing your fears, you might feel a bit more comfortable and more open to not just submitting to an obviously fallible man, but in the bigger scheme mutually submitting to an infallible all loving God.


#16

[quote="twoangels, post:15, topic:205652"]

It doesn't sound to me like you really actually disagree with this choice you previously agreed upon, but rather that fear is making you second guess it, while he really feels deep down in his heart that this is the best option for both you and the baby.

[/quote]

I totally second twoangels--your dilemma sounds very fear-motivated, not principled-motivated. First pregnancies can stir up a lot of fears for many women, ones they couldn't anticipate they would have. Pray about them on your own, share them with your husband, and try to work through them together.

Understand also that your husband may be struggling with feelings of anger or betrayal, because he thought you agreed with him on this. Not that you shouldn't be able to change your mind, but it still must be a bit of a blow to him as well.

A word about submission: submitting to your husband doesn't make you less yourself. I think we (women) sometimes begin to think that if we don't have "something" for ourselves, we're losing ourselves. But that's not always true. Remember it is in "losing" our life that we find it: maybe giving of yourself entirely to your family could help you find the peace that is alluding you right now.

Just stay open, try different arrangements, and see where you and your husband both feel at peace.


#17

OP, you do realize that you said in your first post both "he listens to me" and also "he's not listening to my needs at all", right? I can see why you're torn. I'm talking to you as a woman with a PhD who quit working when her twins were born and isn't back eleven years later, not as someone who thinks you have to have a job to have a meaningful life, not as someone who does not value SAHMs.

This is quite a long time after the original post, but on the "too dangerous" part, I hope you talk to your OB/GYN about that before quitting your job, to get a professional opinion on what is best for your health and your child's.

Women have been working in the fields up until the day they delivered and back at it soon after for thousands of years. The practice of taking us out of the company of other women is the newer one. It is also not natural for a perfectly healthy woman to be cooped up alone with nothing to do all day but wait for a delivery that is still months away....and let me guess, your husband hasn't arranged to have anyone to hang around with you for those last "too dangerous" months, right? If he won't listen to you, have your doctor talk to him about this.

The idea that pregnancy cannot withstand a mother who is physically active is only true in a small number of high-risk cases. In the other cases, being active is generally better than not, for both mother and child. Post-partum depression, OTOH, is a huge danger to mother and child, too, and one that keeping the mother in a social circle can help prevent. Being home with nothing to do might also make it more difficult for you to keep your weight gain in the healthiest range, not to mention more difficult to manage your anxieties.

How do I say this delicately? The practice of husbands getting in on decisions having to do with pregnancy is fairly new, too. In times past, men wisely deferred to their wives, the couple's collection of female relatives, and the wife's doctor or midwife when it came to deciding what was and was not in the best interest of the mother and child.

If you are still feeling "possibly crazy", please learn and keep a look-out for the symptoms of depression. Promise that you'll contact your OB/GYN immediately if you start feeling symptoms. You don't have to wait to be diagnosed with the post-partum kind! Depression is nothing to mess around with.

Remember that Ephesians 5 also says this: "So (also) husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one hates his own flesh but rather nourishes and cherishes it, even as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body." Your husband is bound to sacrifice his own wishes in favor of your health, even as you are bound to be submissive, and that includes your mental health. In the end, after all, you are both in submission to the Lord, not to your own pre-conceived notions. You are the only one who can tell him the truth about your emotional situation. It is no one else's place, and no one else's job, except yours. He does not have the right to tell you he does not care to hear how you're doing, either. Taking care of your welfare is his obligation. You don't have carte blanche to nag, you don't have a magic "mental health" card to trump his authority, but you do have the duty to let him know how you feel and how you're faring. He cannot take care of you if you decide to stop telling him what you need.

Also, try submitting to your husband one day at a time, not a year at a time. Handle your emotional difficulties as they come up each day. Don't automatically imagine that you know what you'll have to enjoy or suffer tomorrow. This is a good way to handle all of life's decisions, and the best way I know to get through life's trials and sufferings.

Do you know what my OB/GYN told me? Get out with my husband for "couple" things like concerts and restaurants as much as I could before my sixth month (with twins, you get big faster), because after I got to a certain size, these outings would not be comfortable. He thought it very important for wifes and husbands to put a lot of time into their relationship and romance before the stresses of later pregnancy and the new baby arriving.

I heartily second that opinion. If you're at all able, get out and enjoy each other alone, while you still can, because a special part of your marriage is drawing to a close. Give it a fond send-off as it passes, in anticipation of your next adventure together!


#18

[quote="ForAll, post:16, topic:205652"]
I totally second twoangels--your dilemma sounds very fear-motivated, not principled-motivated. First pregnancies can stir up a lot of fears for many women, ones they couldn't anticipate they would have. Pray about them on your own, share them with your husband, and try to work through them together.

Understand also that your husband may be struggling with feelings of anger or betrayal, because he thought you agreed with him on this. Not that you shouldn't be able to change your mind, but it still must be a bit of a blow to him as well.

A word about submission: submitting to your husband doesn't make you less yourself. I think we (women) sometimes begin to think that if we don't have "something" for ourselves, we're losing ourselves. But that's not always true. Remember it is in "losing" our life that we find it: maybe giving of yourself entirely to your family could help you find the peace that is alluding you right now.

Just stay open, try different arrangements, and see where you and your husband both feel at peace.

[/quote]

Excuse me, but he wants her inactive for months before the baby arrives, and she's the one who is fear-motivated?

A new mother needs a social life. It is not healthy to not have one. Since he wants his child to have a healthy mother, her husband ought to be as concerned about that as she is, if not more so. That bit is in Ephesians 5, too, after all.

Also, of course our spouses might sometimes feel angry and betrayed when we don't keep the same opinions for the duration of our marriage, but does that make their expectations legitimate? The feelings are understandable, but the expectations they spring from are not even remotely realistic. Which one of us has the same ideas about marriage and parenthood that we had when we were single? None that I know of...in fact, most of us find plenty to laugh at in the big plans we had when engaged.

I'm a SAHM, I'm not knocking it. I am saying that submission doesn't mean never admitting to a change of mind from what we thought and told our husbands in all honesty before we married them. That's nuts.


#19

I read this this afternoon, and it stirred so much emotion in me, I had to leave it.
Easterjoy has hit the nail on the head IMO. And she's so good at bringing it all together...

Seriously, the thing I immediatly wanted to ask was with regard to how dangerous it is for you to work as per DH...

Is that his professional expert medical opinion?


#20

[quote="EasterJoy, post:18, topic:205652"]
Excuse me, but he wants her inactive for months before the baby arrives, and she's the one who is fear-motivated?

Also, of course our spouses might sometimes feel angry and betrayed when we don't keep the same opinions for the duration of our marriage, but does that make their expectations legitimate? The feelings are understandable, but the expectations they spring from are not even remotely realistic. Which one of us has the same ideas about marriage and parenthood that we had when we were single? None that I know of...in fact, most of us find plenty to laugh at in the big plans we had when engaged.

I'm a SAHM, I'm not knocking it. I am saying that submission doesn't mean never admitting to a change of mind from what we thought and told our husbands in all honesty before we married them. That's nuts.

[/quote]

I agree completely. Everyone has the ability to change their mind, but those who do should be prepared for certain emotional responses from others. It doesn't mean changing your mind is wrong, but just that it can stir up emotions in the other person. We can't label a person's expectations as illegitimate just because they were based on what she said--what else should he have based them on? All of us have expectations of one another, as we should. But IF he does feel this way, that's alright--and it's still alright for her to change her mind, too.

Hopefully, for you OP, this process doesn't have to be antagonistic. This is your husband--he loves you, I'm sure, as you do him. Hopefully if you both lay your feelings and fears out there on the table, consult with you doctor or midwife about what is safest for you to do, you guys can come to a compromise or a workable arrangement that makes both of you feel comfortable. And of course, that arrangement will be subject to change too, as the two of you and your family change.

Of course, if you feel truly that your husband is underestimating your feelings or the real danger of depression, then you should tell him that and tell him what you think would help you. Submitting doesn't mean letting him make the decisions on everything.

I hope this works out for the best, and that you'll update us in months telling us you've worked out a happy arrangement that works for your family.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.