by John Ellis
Tomorrow is Mother’s Day, and I’m taking my wife to Six Flags. Mainly because we’re assuming that very few people are going to take their mom to Six Flags on Mother’s Day, making the park far less crowded than usual. That, and tomorrow is “Bring a Friend Day,” which means that season pass holders (us) are allowed to bring a friend into the park for free for each season pass. My point, we don’t make a big deal out of Mother’s Day, nor our anniversary, birthdays, Valentine’s Day, whatever. We also don’t begrudge those who do. I think that Mother’s Day is a fine holiday, and I applaud those who take it seriously and enjoy it to the fullest extent allowed by law.
Of course, not everyone is as laisse-faire as I am about Hallmark holidays. Some, a growing “some,” in fact, seek to spoil the fun of others. Of course, the perpetually offended, smug, and safe-space craving Slate couldn’t allow others to enjoy Mother’s Day without serving a heaping portion of illiberal guilt. In an article titled, “Happy Mother’s Day: You Will Hate Your Husband After Your Kid Is Born,” Jancee Dunn sounds the warning bell that no matter how enlightened your cis-gender husband is, he will resort to a his natural state of being a troglodyte once a kid arrives.
Abandoned to a patriarchal system of suppression and servitude, the article cautions that women will lose all of their equality gains once a baby appears.
For starters, um, Jancee Dunn, have you ever considered that you married a jerk?
I mean, I know many husbands who are self-serving. Likewise, I know many wives who are self-serving, too. I also know many husbands who take seriously the command to love their wife the way Jesus loves the Church, and who surrender their rights and their “self-fulfillment” in the service of their family. And I know many wives for whom thinking about only themselves and their “self-fulfillment” is not a priority, or even on their existential radar, for that matter.
In unhappy marriages, the common denominator is sin and where the sinner places his or her identity.
One of the things that Jesus teaches us is that self-fulfillment is a lie. Jesus surrendered all of his rights and came to earth to serve his people. And he calls his people to surrender their rights in his service. That includes both fathers and mothers. Here’s the rub, if you, whether a father or a mother, or even a child, are thinking about how you are not being served, you are not thinking about how you are serving others.
Serving others is not easy, of course. Jesus never said that it would be. Serving as a mother is often thankless. Trust me, I am quite ashamed of how thanklessly I treated my mom while she was still on this planet. But, neither my shame nor my thankless selfishness had zero affect on my mother’s eternal joy when she heard, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”
Sadly, many times, I fail my wife. Sadly, many times, my wife fails me. Worse, during those times, we fail to live in light of the reality that we are in Christ. I daresay that our failings are not unique, by a longshot. Complaining about how we are not being served is further evidence that the individual is sinfully focused on how he or she is not being served. Likewise, having a reason to complain in the first place isn’t the fault of the God-ordained institution of marriage and/or motherhood/fatherhood. It’s the fault of being married to a sinner who has also swallowed the lie of the devil that self-fulfillment is a right.