- Lalena Cooper
Honor and Obey?
The idea of submitting in marriage to a husband with Aspergers is something I had not considered 27 years ago on my wedding day. I had no idea what Aspergers or Spectrum Disorder was, neither did the wonderful man becoming my husband. We were about to discover it though, and it would turn our world inside out.
Growing up as a pastor’s daughter, I knew the meaning of “honor and obey your husband”. It meant “do what you’re told, without complaining.” Serving in church ministry early in our marriage, I learned what submission meant, “do what you're told, without complaining.”
Keep your head down, do what is expected and don’t ask questions.
This caused a TON of problems for me. I am a pretty easy going person and try to think the best of everyone. I hate making a mistake or drawing attention to myself; however, I also have an opinion and enjoy sharing it too!
I have questions. I want to understand. I want to be considered, heard, and understood.
For years well meaning people labeled this a Jezebel spirit, called me controlling and non submissive. I was corrected disciplined and silenced. This belief began spilling into our married life.
Seeking help for the growing anger and difficulty in our marriage, we asked for help from the church. I was told again I needed to submit. The husband is the leader and I must follow.
I know now, four years after my Aspie Mans diagnosis and deep soul searching, submission in marriage for a non neurotypical couple looks extremely different than a neurotypical couple. Individuals that do not understand spectrum disorder should not judge and demean women who must take a stronger role in marriage.
When church leaders accuse a wife of a being non-submissive, having a jezebel spirit, or selfishness, and are ignorant of the complete picture of spectrum disorder, they have judged wrongly.
For years I set aside what I truly believed Jesus was telling me and did what my husband had decided. It was agonizing. I was told by the same leadership that Jesus would cover my obedience and it is true, He will. Eternally speaking, I am not held negatively for submitting to my husband; however, I do have to live out the consequences of those decisions.
The truth I now believe is that as the wife of an Aspie, more responsibility falls to me.
A neurotypical couple can weigh options together equally, each bringing valid points and concerns. An Aspie couple does not communicate this way. Often understanding is blocked. A person with Aspergers may focus on a single area of a problem and literally not be able to acknowledge the multiple other aspects involved.
This does not mean a wife can roll over her husband and ignore his input. Men with Aspergers are extremely high functioning and brilliant. It just means
We as wives of Aspies can be true help mates by not backing down until we are heard. We must speak up when we believe the Lord has shown us something. Speaking calmly with kindness and respect to our husbands can help avoid arguments. Allowing extra time for our Aspie Men to process our requests can be helpful. Let him walk away and think for a bit, a few hours or even a day or two. Nagging and demanding our own way is controlling and not loving.
Co-leading and coming together in the decision making process is vital.