In the months leading up to my wedding, the question on my mind the most was: how can I be a good wife? All I did know was how I wasn’t going to be a “good wife.”
I wasn’t going to be the 1950s housewife that some circles still embrace. I am not one of those people that gets stress relief or joy out of cleaning and creating the “perfect home.” And I’m certainly not going to be waiting at the door with my husband’s slippers. Most likely I will be the one wearing the slippers.
Yes, I like things clean, but I’m not enjoying dragging a vacuum around or scrubbing dishes. And some days, things don’t get done, because, well, life happens.
I believe in sharing the responsibilities of taking care of our home together. Now, since I am currently working from home and don’t have as long hours as my husband or a commute, I have been willing to take on more of the household tasks because it makes sense for us at this point. That may change in the future though. I have actually surprised myself though that I like cooking. Playing around with recipes is actually fun, at least when they don’t turn out bad. I’m lucky though to have a husband that will eat just about anything.
Also, I’m not going to achieve “Biblical womanhood” as most define it these days. I’m pretty sure that the fictitious Proverbs 31 woman, who has been giving Christian women a complex for years, would have never have gotten any sleep if she had actually existed. Maybe that’s why the passage says “she gets up when it is still night.”
So, we can trace women’s need for perfectionism back thousands of years. Using the Bible for a guidebook for womanhood or being a good wife is troubling when its directives for women reflect time periods in which the treatment of women, and as a result the expectations of and limitations on them, was patriarchal and troubling.
And I am definitely not embracing the message that we send to women these days that they can be and do everything.
This is why we have so many women walking around feeling inadequate, like failures, and that they can never get it right. Trust me I’ve been there many times. We aren’t superwomen, we aren’t even our next door neighbor or our best friend. What it means to be a good wife or even just a woman who’s got it together is, well, I’m not exactly sure. Should there even be a standard for something like that?
So, how am I going to be a good wife? I’m going to…
Stop comparing- It doesn’t do me or my husband any good when I compare myself to other women. He certainly isn’t doing that. After all, he married me for a reason and he wants me as his wife, not someone else. Being confident in who I am and what I have to offer as a wife can only serve to strengthen our marriage.
Let go of things- So I popped frozen pizza in the oven instead of cooking something for dinner, didn’t get to the laundry, or am wearing the same clothes that I did yesterday. Some days are just like that. He likely doesn’t even notice (as irritating as that can be sometimes) or if he does he really doesn’t care. Until he runs out underwear at least.
Put more focus on our marriage- If I’m always concerned about the “good wife” checklist instead of our marriage (which is kind of the whole point?) I’m not focusing enough on us as a couple. I want to be able to enjoy our daily life together and make him feel loved and feel loved myself.
Embrace screwing up- I’ve never been married before, so I am on a learning curve here. I shouldn’t expect to have it all figured out two months in. In fact, I think marriage is about learning and growing with your partner no matter how long you’ve been married. There are going to be times that I get frustrated with myself or my husband, say the wrong thing, do the wrong thing. But I need to stop feeling like an awful person just because I’m human and make mistakes sometimes.
Do you ever feel like you have to be the woman that has it all together or the “good wife”?
Read more about how I’m “Letting Go of Perfect.”