He did it with just a touch of his big toe.
My husband and I were having coffee with friends, sharing our spiritual highs and lows of the previous week when he saw the warning signs. It was subtle: a rise of my shoulders, an intake of air, leaning forward, my mouth beginning to open, and he knew. He knew what I was thinking and what I was about to say. He knew that I was prepping myself to be argumentative and to say something unnecessarily controversial.
So he nudged me under the table. Just once.
In full disclosure, we’re not the stereotypical conservative couple—we simply don’t fit the personality paradigm. He’s type B; I’m type A. He’s quiet; I’m outspoken. He actually enjoys cleaning and after ten years, I think I finally believe him. (He says he likes bringing order to chaos, which on further reflection shines significant light on why he fell for me in the first place.) But there in that moment when he expressed his disapproval with the slightest nudge of his big toe, I immediately stopped.
Most conservatives would hail this as a great victory, that this is exactly how marriages should function. Husband directs, wife obeys. But I have to admit, my response to him in that moment had little to do with an immediate understanding of headship and hierarchy. It wasn’t mapped out by a complementarian flow-chart. It wasn’t because of a role.
It was because I love him.