My wife, Gwen, and I experience and observe what we call "Life Partners" moments (lifepartners.org). These are moments that we recognize as relevant to marriage relationships. It might be that we are in a restaurant and observe how a couple ignore each other while they eat or how friends resolve a conflict in front of us.
One such moment happened for me recently. I was watching the PBS documentary "Liberty! The American Revolution." (BTW, Happy 4th of July!) The documentary highlights the relationship and written correspondence between John Adams, founding father and second President of the United States, and his wife, Abigail. Abigail wrote to John in this way:
In the new laws which you will be writing, please remember the ladies. Don't put unlimited power in the hands of the husbands. Remember, all men would be tyrants if you give them a chance. If you don't pay attention to the ladies then you can't expect us to obey any laws in which we don't have a voice or representation."
And later she wrote:
"I'm sorry, but I still find it odd that while you are proclaiming peace and good will to men and emancipating the nation, you still insist on retaining the absolute power of husbands over their wives. Remember, John, arbitrary power like everything else that's hard and brittle is easily broken. In spite of all your wise laws, we too have it in our power to free ourselves."
These lines were written by a woman back around the year 1775. In a way, it's a sad reminder that in over 230 years we haven't come very far. Am I a tyrant? Do I lay down laws in my home in which Gwen has no voice or representation? Do I exercise arbitrary power? God help me to change if any of these are true.
Your Ally in the Pursuit of Christlikeness, Kim