Meet Charlotte, A Woman Of Valor #mutuality2012

Oh, and I should also mention she’s my wife.

This week, my good friend Rachel Held Evans is hosting a week of Mutuality on her blog.  There is some awesome stuff being shared and, if you don’t check it out, you’re definitely missing out.

I’ve never bought into the complementarian view of gender roles, particularly the whole bit about wives submitting to their husbands, because over the years I’ve found that most men don’t keep reading through the husbands submit to your wives bit.

Are men and women different?  Yes.

Does one sex have an advantage over the other in some areas?  In a very general sense, yes.

Does that mean one should be “over” the other?  Absolutely not.

Paul, in Galatians 3, speaks of erasing all identity for those in Christ.

This brings me around to Charlotte.

When we met, we were both single parents just looking for a kindred soul.  Someone to laugh with, to cry with, to commiserate with, a friend who truly understood the challenges of single parenting.

The more I heard of her story, the more I began to admire her courage and her strength.

Our previous spouses were very similar…uninterested, selfish, and prone to drug use.  After Jake, who is now my stepson, was born, things in her house changed drastically.  Changed to the point where one day, while he was at work, Charlotte got her brothers to come up, help her pack, and left.

That takes courage.

Then she met someone, and moved to Arizona on nothing but a promise.

After some time, it became evident that wouldn’t work, and she faced striking out on her own with a, then, 2 year old son.

This is when we met.

She was renting a room from someone and the situation was becoming untenable for her and Jake.  I offered to help her move (little did I know I’d be the only one), and she accepted.  We packed up the U-Haul, drove it to the new place, and as I was unpacking, her new roommate decided that “this isn’t going to work”.

On moving day.

She was now officially homeless with a child.

To this day, I don’t know how she didn’t just lose it at that moment.

Merriam-Webster defines valor as such:

“strength of mind or spirit that enables a person to encounter danger with firmness : personal bravery

I offered to let her stay at my place until she found another, hoping I wouldn’t regret that decision later.  She accepted.  The next day, she was out looking at apartments and had her own place in 5 days.

She never quit.  She never gave up.  Even when the world fell apart, she kept going.

Eight years later, she still hasn’t.

She’s never quit on me.  She’s never quit on our marriage.  She continues to push herself to grow and, by extension, pushes me and the kids to grow.

She faces every hardship, every challenge, with a courage I truly admire and can only hope to emulate.

When I lost my uncle and my gramma within 10 days of each other, she stood tall, shouldered the burden, and carried me through my grief.  I can only hope I was able to return half the favor when her Dad passed away 2 months later.

She is my strength, my rock, my equal.

She believes in me more than anyone else I’ve ever known… even when I don’t believe in myself.

We model equality in our marriage as an example for our children, two daughters and one son.  We want the girls to know what a healthy relationship is so they don’t ever have to go through what we did in our previous marriages.  We want our son to know how you treat a woman.

With respect.  With kindness.  With encouragement.  With mutuality.

Everyday I wake up and I’m thankful I get to share, not spend, the rest of my life with her.

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