As a wife, do you ever feel like you can never do all of the things your husband expects?
"Marriage should be honored by all..." Hebrews 13:4a (NIV)
Have you ever felt overwhelmed with expectations you perceive other people have of you?
When I first got married I was determined to figure out how to do this "wife" thing well. I wanted to truly honor my marriage like Hebrews 13:4 encourages. So, I made note of what I perceived other 'good wives' did.
• She cooks meatloaf.
• She vacuums every day so there are lines in the carpet indicating its cleanliness.
• She sticks love notes in her husband's brief case.
• She buys and wears lingerie.
• She likes wearing lingerie and wears it three times a week.
• She gives her husband his space when he gets home.
• She hangs up the phone when he walks in the door.
• She learns facts about football and watches games with him.
• She prays for her husband every day.
And the list grew and grew.
Eventually, the list in my head of what a good wife does so completely overwhelmed me I cried. I felt inadequate. I started to shut down.
I assumed the list in my head was in my husband's head too.
I grew bitter. And in a moment of complete exhaustion, I yelled, "Your expectations are ridiculous!"
To which he replied, "What expectations?"
"The list... the list of hundreds of things I need to do to be a good wife," I sobbed.
His blank stare dumbfounded me. He had no such list.
I had so broadened my scope of things to do; I had diminished my vision of simply loving him.
Can you relate? I knew I needed to do less so I could be more. But, how do we figure out which things to keep and which to let go of? We ask.
"Honey," I said, feeling the entanglements of expectations loosening their grip on me, "I can't do everything good wives seem to do. But I can do three things. So, tell me your top three things and I will do those well."
After all, I could spend a whole marriage doing a hundred things half-way with a bitter attitude and an overwhelmed spirit.
Or, I could do three things whole-heartedly with a smile on my face and love in my heart.
His three things were simple... Be an emotionally and spiritually invested mom with our kids, take good care of my body and soul, and keep the house tidy. (Notice it says tidy—not perfectly clean.) That's it.
He could care less about so many of the things I'd been running myself ragged doing. And he was more than happy to take care of some of those things I can't stand doing like balancing the check book and getting the cars inspected. Whew... what a relief.
Of course, I do more than three things most days. But, if I don't have time to cook or vacuum, I don't feel like I'm letting him down. It's not one of his top three.
Now, he didn't say anything about lingerie. But, he could argue that's a subplot of me taking good care of my body. However, that's a topic for another day entirely.
For today, I've narrowed my scope to doing three main things really well which has broadened my vision for a great marriage.
I am a three things wife who really desires to honor her marriage. It's simple. And simple is good.
Dear Lord, I want to have a great marriage. Help me to see Your vision for my marriage so that I can honor You and love my husband well every day. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Spend some intentional time with your spouse to find out what his three main things are. It may surprise you!
How did this devotion challenge me? Encourage me? Equip me?
What do I predict will be on my spouses three things list? How will I plan to honor him by knowing this?
Romans 12:9a, "Love must be sincere..." (NIV)
1 Peter 4:8, "Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins." (NIV)
Psalm 26:3, "For your love is ever before me, and I walk continually in your truth." (NIV)