Jen Jeffrey: Single Minded

Thursday, August 14, 2014 - by Jen Jeffrey
Jen Jeffrey
Jen Jeffrey

There are certainly many adjustments when newly-wedded, but while focusing on the outward changes, we can’t forget the changes that should occur in our thought process. Though this isn’t my first rodeo, I did forget. My mind has still been living ‘single’.

Five years doesn’t seem that long to have been single, but when I add up all the other years I was single before, it seems that my independent survival mode has always been ready to kick in at a moment’s notice. I have been blessed to have family and dear friends in my life while I raised my boys as a single mother, but there is a prideful part of me that needed to do things on my own and sometimes I struggled silently.

That’s what moving to New York was about after a few years of being single. I had to make it there. I was away from home and truly on my own, paying my way with no help from family and, it was one of the best experiences of my life. It was where I gained confidence and I learned that I was in control of my life and I had a say-so in what was good or not good for me.

I love adventure and taking chances, but thankfully I am wise enough to pretty much stay out of trouble. I have never been an adrenaline junkie where I must find an outrageous adventure to be a part of lest I am bored, but I still like adventure. And I like to find adventure in even the small everyday things. Life itself is an adventure each and every day.

When I take the Greys for a walk and we go further than usual, I observe their nervous sniffing and their wonder of what is around the corner. Will we meet up with a stray dog off its leash? Will a coyote come out from the wooded area? Will we see a snake or a skunk on the trail? Our adventures are pretty tame, but I think the Greys and I both get a small rush from the ‘what if’.

Whatever life brings my way, I am a lover of life and I face it head on. I am not afraid of much (except worms). And when the unexpected happens, I am ready with my independent survival mode kicking in full force.

What I fail to realize now that I am married, is that I don’t have to always call on that independence and do things by myself. I have a helpmate.

I had been experiencing a starting problem with my Jeep Liberty for about a month and it has been frustrating to figure out just what was going on when it would start sometimes and then all of a sudden not start. I won’t bore you with the details of narrowing down an answer over the last few weeks, but we went through a few times of towing it in, having it in the shop and my plans having to be rearranged at a moment’s notice.

When we didn’t have an immediate answer of what the problem could be, I felt that I needed to do something. I didn’t know Jason’s mechanic – what if he was missing something? I didn’t know if it cost us to get my Jeep towed, but it concerned me as if I had to take care of it all and make it the least costly and stress-free for Jason as possible.

Why? Why did I feel a need to do this? After being a single mom for years and then caring for Mama last year, I was used to taking care of others (and myself) and it would stress me out if something was an unexpected expense that I wasn’t prepared to handle.

But I am married now and I realized that I had been stressing lately out for no reason. Sure, I want to take care of my husband and I don’t want to cause him undue stress, but the things that stress me out may not affect him in the same way they do me. Just as the things I am good at taking care of makes my husband feel more at ease.

If my husband’s mechanic didn’t know the problem right away because my Jeep would miraculously start again and I had to take a chance with my Jeep not starting later – so what? I am married. What is my problem is also my husband’s problem and vice-versa. If my Jeep didn’t start and I had to be somewhere, my husband would make sure I got where I needed to be. The grocery store? He could pick up what we needed until we got me up and running again. Doctor’s appointment? He could drive me or let me take his truck. It wasn’t as big of a deal as I was allowing it to be.

When we first got married, I knew I was going to have to spend money in order to make this house a home and to do the things wives do. We were in need of bath towels so I did my best to save money and I bought cheap towels (that were a joke). Since then, I have stopped being so afraid to spend for things we need, but marriage is still new to me and we haven’t really sat down and gone over our finances to where I feel a part of it and know the boundaries. It is important to do that so a couple can know what we are working with and make good decisions together. We will make the time to do that soon.

I am trying to be ‘marriage-minded’ and not feel as if I have to take care of everything myself. I try to be ‘at rest’. This is not to say that while my husband goes to work, I sit at home watching soap operas and eating bon-bons. I have my career too and I also put a lot of effort into our home and, that is just as big a part of contributing to our household.

My situation may not be for everyone, I know some women my age who cannot stand to be domestic and they refuse to cook, but I love it. I love doing laundry, organizing, cooking and making things nice. I am an interior designer, a chef, a housekeeper, a therapist, a secretary… I could go on and on with certain roles I fall into but to me, it is ‘just what I do’. It isn’t a job. It isn’t a ‘have to’… for me, it is a want to. I enjoy it and it is actually therapeutic to me.

I loathe soap operas and my metabolism won’t let me eat bon-bons all day so I like to stay busy. I am a do-er. I like to stay active and accomplish things, but I could never be ‘just be a housewife’ so I have my writing job and my projects for my personal fulfillment, but what is wonderful about being married is – I don’t have to do ‘everything’ by myself.

There are things I need to take care of and there are things my husband will take care of. We are in this together, so if one thing goes wrong – it goes wrong for us both and it will be taken care of together.

Jason won’t let me sit at home without a vehicle or take away privileges or yell at me that it is my fault… that is what happens in a toxic marriage like I left years ago. Even though I left that marriage, the scars are there and it is a refreshing challenge to apply all that God has taught me over the years and to live peacefully in the freedom of a God-given marriage with a man who truly loves me and cares for me.

Life isn’t always easy. There will be obstacles and hardships, but when two are one it is a blessing to get through them together.

When people refer to the creation story of Adam and Eve, I have heard Eve take all the blame for way too long and it is about time we think this story through. Yes, she ate of the forbidden fruit, but so did Adam. Men argue, “But Eve gave him the fruit.” This is where sons of Adam fail to recognize ‘their inherited fall’ along with Eve’s daughters’ inherited fall.

No matter what type of man or what type of woman you are or if you have a non-traditional role – the way our bodies were created as male and female is different from each other and is purposeful. Both created in the image of God, man represents strength and gives protection while woman represents beauty and is nurturing.

That was God’s beautiful design, but at the time of the fall something happened. The enemy came to Eve and told her not to trust God and Eve listened to the serpent. She took matters into her own hands. She didn’t trust God to share with her all she needed to know and she ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge. But Eve wasn’t alone. Adam was right there next to her. He wasn’t off somewhere on another path.  Read it.

When the enemy came to Eve, why didn’t Adam protect her? Why didn’t he rebuke the serpent and rescue Eve? Eve failed to trust what was provided for her and Adam failed to ‘man up’ and take a stand. This scenario actually happens today with so many men and women – it is nothing new and that is why ‘Mars and Venus’ collide. Sons of Adam still fail and daughters of Eve still fail. We fight the sin-nature we inherited even though we strive to do what it is we were created to do, but …we do not live in Eden and we will periodically fail.

Women strive to take matters into their own hands when they feel left out and they try to fix things while men passively watch and then they blame Eve. We have to challenge ourselves to be the man of strength, the protector and provider and to be the woman who brings beauty and rest in the world and who nurtures - the woman who trusts that things will be okay – because a stand-up man gives her a reason to trust. We have a better chance at harmony and in following God’s design if we both are mindful of who we were created to be and what God expects from us.

My Jeep had a blown fuse that ‘could be caused by’ the fuel pump starting to go out - but it wasn’t certain. So instead of the Eve in me thinking my Jeep should be fixed immediately and we should go ahead and get a new fuel pump to head off more starting problems, chances are… it may not be the fuel pump (and it could be that my 11-year-old Jeep may be on its way to the Jeep graveyard). Whatever happens, I can trust that my husband and I are in this together.

I have a good man who will not neglect me or abandon me. If my Jeep blows another fuse – it’s okay. If I need a new fuel pump – it’s okay. If my Jeep gives up its life – it’s okay! It isn’t for me to fix by myself, to control or stress over. I am no longer single and on my own. I have a help mate who loves me and is in my corner.

For readers who have followed my stories since my time in New York, you may recall my quest for finding ‘Superman’. Not just any man would do – he had to be a hero. He had to be a man who would protect me and care for me.

Superman may be able to stop a speeding bullet, but the man who calms his wife’s fears is the true hero. The man who steps in and stands with her (not over her) is her champion. When a man loves his wife as he loves himself and truly cares about her – there is no need for her to try and take control.  When she feels safe and protected, it is then that she can bring beauty and rest to his life… and to stop being single-minded.

jen@jenjeffrey.com


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