faith · family · womens issues

Day 9: The Good Wife

This is not to be confused with the TV series. I have never seen it, but from what I have seen of its commercials, I’m going to say the title is somewhat ironic. Actually ironic, not the Alanis-ironic.

My thoughts begin to turn to what it means to be “good.” Which also happens to be an Alanis song. And similarly, I think about what it takes to be deemed as good. Is it my behavior? Like when my 11-month-old listens to me when I say no and she backs away and crawls to touch something else. Is it when I don’t get into an argument with someone even though I know I’m right and can prove it? Is it when I have pure motives, something deeper and less provable? Is it when I not only do the right thing, but I do it cheerfully?

Everyone goes to the Proverbs 31 woman as some kind of benchmark for “good wife.” I feel the need to check off a list, take a quiz, like seeing which character from Firefly I most closely resemble based on fairly generalized and simplistic answers to mostly inane questions. Because I like the color grey, I must be a terrible wife who hates having sex. It’s as logical a conclusion as many, many quizzes.

I suspect that putting up with my husband’s sinfulness is high on the checklist. Even in the devotional today, the story of a woman who was married to an unbeliever and endured a difficult marriage until the bitter end makes me feel a little bit like wives are called to be saints, to endure hardships and smile through disaster. These are all things we are called to in the bible.

But I think it goes farther than this. I think it includes becoming an expert in your husband. I think it includes living and breathing for his benefit. I know. That sounds codependent and neurotic. But I think in many ways, this is what I signed up for when I married him. My life became one and the same with his, and my goal in life has become synonymous with his goal in life – first to glorify God, and in doing so learning to love each other well. There is nothing more important.  And getting to know my husband well enough to know what upsets him, what pushes his buttons, what gets him excited, what makes him rested, what fills his soul, what breaks his heart, what makes him feel loved… this is my call to be a good wife. A good wife knows these things and uses this knowledge wisely and to the benefit of her husband. She knows, how deeply she feels it to her bones, when her marriage is struggling. She isn’t looking to make herself feel better. She isn’t looking to make her husband the brunt of the problems. She isn’t hoping that he’ll miraculously change. She doesn’t overestimate criticism and berating. She doesn’t underestimate prayer and relentless love. She has taken the time and effort to learn him through and through, to appeal to him in the way and at the time that is right and most productive. She has learned to let go what really cannot eat away at her. She has learned to extract expectations from reality and replace them with a truer hope, a contentment in what is, mixed with glimmers of what can be with constant prayer and selfless affection. This is a good wife. It is my prayer, dear Lord, that I would bless my husband, the one I chose and promised to unite with for all my days.

That I would be good.



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