About mid-December I had the realization that I had lost my focus as a wife. I shared this in my article, What I learned While My Husband Was Away.
Shortly after that article, I decided that I had to do something about this. It wasn’t going to be okay with me to prioritize everything else before my marriage anymore. After all, we always hear that it should be God, husband, and then family in that specific order of priorities.
The big question that lurked over my head was, ‘how do I do that?’
I mean really. We have so much else going on in our lives, what does it look like to put my husband before my one year old? How do I put aside the fact that I am 6 months pregnant and tired after chasing said one year old, and make my husband feel like the king of my castle?
I am no June Cleaver. I do my best, well, my own version of my best…but it is nothing near a Stepford Wife and I am quite honestly okay with that.
What I wanted to know was not how society believed I should be a great wife, but what God planned for me and how He wanted me to be as a wife.
I always knew how to be a great girlfriend, it’s all about being fun right? That’s easy! Plus, you got time to go home to your house and be alone, recharge, watch your chick flicks, and technically have the selfish wind down that we all loathed and longed for.
But now you are a wife, and what does that really entail?
I remember shortly after getting married, feeling like I had no idea what I was doing as a wife. I didn’t know how to fulfill that role. Sure, I had my mom as an example, but I never really looked at her as a wife. I looked at her as a mom. Besides knowing my parents always had a date night, cuddled for a nap after dinner, and gave each other a nice long hug when they were reunited at home, I didn’t know how she fulfilled or saw her role as a wife.
So, after Christmas I sought out bookstores to find some Christian based reading that I could focus myself on. I am still reading and still learning, but seeing as this is a great month to focus on love and improving our marriages, it seems like a great time to summarize the things I have learned thus far.
After searching bookstores and online, I settled on two materials. The first is a 30 day devotional that I am still working on called, Wife After God, by Jennifer Smith. The second is a detailed, how-to, book of sorts called, Becoming the Woman of His Dreams, by Sharon Jaynes.
Each of these materials have been eye opening in their own ways and I would recommend them both to any fellow wife who was looking for some guidance in improving her role in her marriage.
These are the top 5 things God has revealed to me through these materials thus far.
- My husband wants a wife not a mother. You may be thinking this is obvious, but some of the ways Sharon Jaynes describes this makes you sick to your stomach. First start with reading Proverbs 19:13 “…a nagging wife annoys like a constant dripping.” Ouch! Think about a leaky faucet and how it just won’t stop dripping. Or when your smoke detector is running out of juice and just keeps beeping. Are you cringing? THIS, is how our husbands view nagging.
So what are we supposed to do then, right? How will anything ever get done?
We are supposed to give the nagging to God and pray that he takes care of it. That could be solving it by laying a different answer or solution on our hearts, or by getting our husbands to do it on their own. Basically, God can take the nagging and it won’t hurt him one bit, but our husbands are not as immune to it and feel more like we are reminding them that they disappoint us.
- I am to love and respect my husband as much as God loves the church. I never knew that my relationship with my husband was to be a direct reflection of God’s love for the church. The compassion He has, I should have. The grace He gave me, I should give my husband. The passion that burns within Him for the church, I should share for my husband. And if I find myself lacking something in my marriage that God clearly feels for the church, then that’s what I need to pray for.
The scripture that really stuck with me as a representative of how God feels for the church is John 2:17. Jesus has just sent away all the merchants gathering outside the temple. They were treating and taxing people unfairly outside the house of the Lord and Jesus said enough. John 2:17 says that here the disciples remembered the prophecy from the scriptures that proclaim, “Passion for God’s house burns within me.” If we relate this to how we feel for our husbands we could compare it to finances that divide us, selfish emotions that build walls, or even exhaustion that creates neglect. The choice we can make is to say, just like Jesus did, leave this place because burning within me is a deep passion for my husband! Do not disgrace my marriage with thoughts of inadequacy. We can tell those thoughts to leave us because we only have room for love and sacrifice for the men we love.
- Not only am I a gift to him, but he is a gift to me. I had to giggle as I wrote this because don’t we all think of ourselves when the bible says we are “fearfully and wonderfully made?” We think about this pertaining to us individually and we use it as a pick me up. Dear husband, I present you the gift of myself! God magnificently made me for you! And then you curtsey.
How often have you thought about the fact that your husband was fearfully and wonderfully made for you? Psalm 139 tells us that God “knit me in my mother’s womb” and made me “so wonderfully complex.” Guess what? This isn’t just about you or your children, it was also about your husband. Your husband was created as a wonderful companion for you, just as Eve was made to be Adam’s companion. He is a gift for you, treat him as such.
- My husband needs to be shown respect. One of the biggest things I have learned is that men need to be respected just as much as women need to be loved. The second biggest thing I learned is that I had no idea how to show my husband respect. Is that sad? Maybe. Probably. But, maybe that’s why I am going through this process of learning how to be a better wife!
One of the tips I picked up in practicing this is to speak positively of him and to lift him up in public. It’s so easy for us women to fall into a trap of gossiping or dogging on our husbands for their decisions or something they didn’t do, but how demeaning is that?! How awful would we feel if our husbands talked unlovingly about us with their friends? We would not be quick to forgive. And even if it is that we are venting to girlfriends, not every thought we have should be spoken. Perhaps if it is negative or questioning of our husbands, we should just give it to God and be done with it.
Another hard one that we tend to fall into a trap of not taking care of our appearance for our husbands. We get dressed up and put together for the Dr. or for work, so why not for our husbands. I may still wear workout clothes half of the time, but I have made sure I am bathed and have makeup on so that’s at least something. The man of your dreams deserves some daily effort, right?
- I am not going to have it all figured out. I would guess that within the next month or two, I will have finished reading these books. I would also guess that my marriage would have continued to improved, but that I will not be done on my journey of finding my place as a wife. I will still be learning how to love my husband, how to ask for and give forgiveness, and how to set aside my selfish pride for the sake of our marriage. And I believe I will read both books over and over again, finding different messages each time. Isn’t that the journey of life? Isn’t that the journey of faith?
We are always improving, always changing, always falling human beings. No book will change that. But if we are always trying to better ourselves for the ones we love through God’s will, I think we will be doing pretty darn good.