I read something recently that has really stuck with me…I might even have read it on another person’s blog (if I have please let me know and I’ll happily credit you).
The sentence I read is incredibly simple, not particularly profound and glaringly obvious. When I tell you what it is some, maybe the majority of you, will think ‘so what!’
If I’m honest I’m not even too sure why it has stuck with me…maybe its something to do with the time of the year.
The sentence I read contained the words ‘before you was a wife you were a girlfriend’.
This got me thinking about the difference between being a wife and a girlfriend and the realisation a lot more effort was made when I was a girlfriend (by both me and my husband) although my value is surely more as a wife if we stand by the belief that marriage is forever.
And I’m not being sexist as you could reverse this and say surely if marriage is for keeps, my husbands value is more as a husband than a boyfriend despite the fact more effort was made when he was simply a boyfriend.
Just as a caveat in case anyone starts to get worried we are VERY happily married but I no longer shower, brush my teeth, wear my best clothes or re-do my make up before I meet him. During my wife period he has seen me in shrunken pyjamas, smeared make up from the night before and hair so lank and flat, a mop head seems attractive!
And then I started to think back to before I was ever a girlfriend although there were obviously other titles such as friend, daughter, sister that I owned. What expectations did I place upon myself? Do I still have these expectations? Were these expectations ever realised or realistic?
I began to think back to the ‘effort’ I poured into me before I had the opportunity to transfer this energy to my husband and three children. Although at times (homework, housework, personal life, career and general self improvement) I’m sure they would rather my energy had been directed away from them!!
And it brought me right back to that initial sentence ‘before you was a wife you were a girlfriend’ and I realised that before I was anything to anyone else I was a daughter.
I was a daughter to my amazing parents whom I have so much to be grateful for…love, support, encouragement, discipline etc. I know most people think they have the best parents but I can honestly say that despite the small mistakes they made (I didn’t come with a manual so mistakes are to be expected…made a few myself!!) my parents are the best!!
And even before I was a daughter to my mum and dad I was a daughter of God and inheritor of all that He promises for His children.
And if I acknowledge that, I have to embrace that at the same time God created me I became uniquely me, a human snowflake; here for a short while and inimitable. I belong to me. I am ultimately responsible for me. I predominantly get to determine the path I choose to walk. Despite similarities no one on Earth will ever be exactly like me. Just like no one on Earth will ever be exactly like you. That is quite simply the way God made us to be.
My reaction and action to others treatment of me, be it good or bad, is my responsibility. Emotional baggage I choose to hold onto is a choice I’ve made. My weight, be it over, under or just right is my responsibility. Another’s attitude towards me is not my responsibility but how I deal with the way it affects me is.
When it comes to me, as Snap sung back in 1990 ‘I’ve Got The Power”. I just need to remember that and assert said power, not over others, but over myself.
Sometimes I know I’ve been guilty of assuming responsibility for another instead of helping them be empowered, effectively using their power to bolster my own. And conversely there have been times when I’ve allowed a power thief access to my reserves and have stood by whilst they raided essential parts of me.
Which brings me back to ‘before you was a wife you were a girlfriend’ and how I want to be identified…not by others because ultimately their opinion is secondary. But what labels, what titles, what markers of identity (if any), I want to pin upon myself.