A few weeks ago, our preacher asked us to come mentor and share with a young couple during one of their marriage counseling sessions. He had several couples in various stages of their marriage come in, and we were the "newlywed" couple. Isn't that a great idea?
I was very humbled and honored, but honestly, I felt very unworthy. I know a LOT of the right things to say. I have sat under some incredible teaching on marriage. I have been part of some awesome Bible studies, been mentored by some phenomenal women of the Lord, and been taught what it means to be a Godly wife. But, there are still a LOT of areas I really, REALLY need to work on and improve so I can be a better wife to Jonathan. I know that nobody is perfect, but there are so many areas where I fall short.
Here are some things I shared that I also plan to REALLY start refocusing on in my own marriage so I can be a better wife. I have a feeling this post will not go over very well with a lot of people, as I know these are not popular thoughts (especially in today’s society). However, they are Biblical truths, and as believers, we are to adhere to the WORD and not to this world’s standards. So, I’m going to share what’s on my heart about being a Godly wife. I’m mostly writing this as a reminder to myself anyway. Whether you are dating, engaged, a newlywed, or have been married for years, these principles can help you be a more Godly wife when the time comes. (Obviously marriage is a two way street and the husband has his own extremely important roles in marriage to make it successful. This is simply focusing on what the Bible says about being a godly wife.)
I guess I should really start this out as a letter to myself. So here goes.
1. Keep God first, your husband second.
Your relationship with the Lord should ALWAYS take priority in your life, and you should always be striving to seek Him. When you do that, the rest of your priorities are more likely to be in order. Make time for quiet time, reading the Word, and spending time in prayer so you can have the right heart and attitude throughout the day. And notice who comes second. Not you (selfish). Not your parents, family, friends, kids, job, hobbies, etc. Your HUSBAND is next. God wants it that way for a reason. A lot of households are out of order because lots of wives put their children before their spouse, and that is not the way that God designed the family. Eventually, children leave. God entrusts them with us temporarily to raise up in a Godly home, so they can go out and multiply and do the same. But that’s just it…they leave, and you are left with your spouse. That’s why so many marriages crumble when the kids are grown; couples lose sight of focusing on their own relationship and marriage and make the kids the sole priority. Kids LOVE to see their parents in love (even if they act like they don’t). It is really beneficial for them to see displays of affection and parents honoring one another and putting one another first. It teaches them the foundations of marriage so they will hopefully duplicate that healthy relationship in the future. It is our job to set a Godly example of marriage for our kids and model for them the type of marriage we hope for them to have. Be the kind of wife you want your daughter to be, and the kind of wife you want your son to marry.
2. Understand the covenant.
Marriage is not a promise, a contract, an agreement, or anything temporary. It is a covenant, and covenants are NOT to be broken. When you say your vows, you are vowing not only to your husband, but also to God and before Him. I have a copy of our wedding vows in my Bible, and I pull them out and read them sometimes. It’s such a good reminder. The Bible says it is better to not make a vow at all than to make a vow to God and break it. In a society where divorce is the easy answer and common practice, we seem to have lost the understanding of the seriousness of marriage. It is not meant to be a rash decision made based on emotions or feelings. And divorce is not an easy way out like we think it is. God developed marriage, and it is so precious to Him. (That is exactly why Satan wants to attack the sanctity of marriage and destroy the family unit.) God chose your spouse for you before you were even born. He hand-picked that person especially for you, and you especially for him! Is that not the coolest thing?? (I seriously tear up every time I think about that!) That is why I always teach my SS girls they don’t have to go out seeking a spouse. If they stay in His will, He will put that person RIGHT in your path. That’s how so many of us end up with ‘baggage’ and regrets….we try to force our own future rather than trusting God and His perfect timing. Now, does that mean it’s going to be easy? No. Marriage takes commitment, work, selflessness, and lots of grace and forgiveness. God expects us to put effort into our marriage. It is a gift from him, and we should treasure that by taking exceptional care of it. When things get tough, that’s time to cling to Him, the Word, and each other. Not time to bail.
Oh boy, here we go. I can remember being a little girl (probably middle school age) and hearing someone tell me the Scripture in Ephesians that calls women to submit to their husbands. My reaction then was much like most women and like the world’s view of submission. I remember saying “There is NO WAY I’m going to be some man’s slave and stay at home and cook and clean for him!” It was not until I sat through a Bible study on the book of Ephesians that I truly understood submission. Submission is not meant for bad…it’s meant to give us more freedom actually. We have such a negative connotation of the word because we do not fully understand it. We are called to submit to our husbands as to the Lord. (This does not mean we are a door mat or should tolerate abuse of any kind. That is not at all what submission means.) Another reason our households are so out of order is because so many women are trying to rule the roost and wear the pants in their relationship. That is not how we’re made or equipped. Even if you have a ‘stronger’ personality than your husband, HE is still called to be the leader of your home. This is how I was taught, and this visual clicked and made perfect sense. The husband’s job is to be the spiritual leader of the home…..to protect from the enemy and to provide for the family. He is to stand in the doorway of the home with the whole armor of God on to keep the enemy out. The wife’s job is to be inside the home, supporting her husband by managing the household and praying for him. God did not equip women to fulfill the man’s role, and vice versa. I know we live in a very feminist society, and I am not saying we’re not meant to be 50/50. (Actually, I believe marriage is 100/100!). Jonathan helps me out around the house a lot, and I also contribute financially. We make decisions together. We just need to understand God equipped each of us to have a role within marriage and the family, and when one is trying to serve in the other’s role, things are out of whack from the way God designed it to be.
4. Speak edifying words only.
Women are the world’s worst to get together and “husband bash” …and almost have a competition to see whose hubby has the worst faults. It is NOT acceptable to talk negatively about your husband to others. No excuses. We should always speak edifying words about him and be building him up to others (even if there are things about him that drive you BONKERS!!). Now don't get me wrong. There will be issues, and I do believe in communicating to your husband openly about that (see # 7) after praying first. I just know that it is so tempting to get sucked into complaining about things our hubbies do or don't do to others. YES, all of our men do things we may not love. However, by nagging them or complaining to our girlfriends about it, that is NOT going to bring about change. We especially have to be careful talking negatively about our spouse to our family because it can change their opinion of them, and there is no undoing that. Sometimes we just may be mad temporarily, but that is not something they can erase from our family's minds as easily. Always, always talk to God about it before you open your mouth to anyone else. Lots of times you’ll see that is enough “venting” to make you feel better. Do not tear your husband down to his face or behind his back. And on that note, it IS okay to PRAISE your husband. If he works hard, let him know you appreciate it. If you love that he always makes your coffee, give him some praise for that. If he’s an AWESOME dad, let him know you think so. Whatever it is that you love or appreciate about him, TELL HIM. (It’s funny how that works…men seem to thrive off praise and it makes them want to do more good things for you!) The Bible tells us our words either bring life or death. Speak LIFE over our husband.
5. Manage the home like the Proverbs 31 woman.
Learn this Scripture. Study it. Meditate on it. Strive to be like the woman described in this passage. Ask the Lord to reveal you what each of these things may look like in your life. We are called to be the managers of our home, and the atmosphere of our homes is often determined by our attitudes, words, actions, and reactions.
6. Do it anyway.
There are lots of things we don’t want to do, and even though we enter into marriage claiming unconditional love, our actions reflect a very conditional basis. We want to cook him dinner when he does nice things for us first. We only want to compliment him when he compliments us. If he doesn’t do this, we won’t do this….That’s not how it works. Your husband may not always be fulfilling his role, but that is between him and God. It i s NOT our job as wives to correct or discipline our husband. We are created to be his help meet; not his Holy Spirit; not his mama. We are his wife. His companion. You should do things for your husband because he is your husband, NOT because of things he is or isn’t doing for you. Of course it’s easier to want to do nice things for him when he seems to notice and appreciate them, but he may not. Do them anyway, because ultimately you are seeking to please the Lord, so think of it as being obedient in serving the Lord if nothing else. Serving your husband on a conditional basis is selfish and immature, and that does not honor or glorify God in any way. Our role as a wife is ultimately to bring God glory through our marriage, so we must choose to to view that responsibility as if we are working for the Lord.
He is not a mind reader, and it’s not fair to expect him to know or understand your wants/needs or what you’re thinking if you don’t TELL HIM. This is such a simple concept, but so many disagreements result from a lack of communication. Learn to communicate with him. Ask him questions. Listen. And don’t nag/fuss/yell. (That wont accomplish much anyway other than driving a wedge between you.) TALK. Like a normal person. We also need to put the phones/laptops down to acknowledge him when he is talking. Don't we like that type of respect demonstrated for us?
8. Remember the 80/20 principle.
Do not put yourself in compromising positions. PROTECT your marriage. There is no reason to ever be alone with anyone of the opposite sex. Be careful with social media and be cautious in friendships. The grass may be greener on the other side, but that’s because it’s being fertilized with poo. You married your spouse because he probably had about 80% of the qualities you wanted in a man. Lots of affairs happen because people are seeking to find someone else to fulfill that 20% their spouse is lacking, and they don’t realize the 80% they are throwing away in doing that! If you will focus on building up your husband for that 80% and focus on his STRENGTHS (rather than focusing on the 20% & weaknesses….nagging, trying to change him, etc.), you will both be SO much happier. Be content with what you have. It’s all about your attitude and perspective…think about what you are choosing to focus on. If you are constantly telling him things he is doing wrong and things you wish he’d change or do differently, you are tearing him down. It may help to write out all the things you love about your husband. If you don’t have a very long list, maybe you should blame that on the person in the mirror. After all, you’re the one who married him, right?
9. Strive to please him.This is tough for us girls too. We tend to be self-centered and are more concerned about if our husbands are "meeting our needs." We think we ‘deserve’ so many things. Imagine how happy it would make your husband if you tried to cook meals he likes, talk about and take interest in things that interest him, and do things with him that he likes to do. He would probably be tickled to death!! Yes, you may HATE watching basketball, but that’s not the point. The point is the man you love loves watching it. When you are willing to sacrifice with the small things like that, I truly believe that helps his love grow deeper for you and it will return tenfold in some way. This also means taking care of yourself. Exercise, eat healthy, and try to dress up for him sometimes. No, I’m not saying you have to be a little trophy wife, but if you take care of yourself, you’ll feel more confident and desirable, and you will both benefit from that. Lots of women “let themselves go” after getting married and having kids. (I know, lots of husbands do that too…I don’t think that’s okay for them either). I want to take care of myself for Jonathan.
10. Cover him in prayer.
We should pray for our husband every.single.day. No excuses, ever. He NEEDS your prayer. Think again about his role as the head of the household. Since marriage is so sacred to God, you know the enemy is going to be constantly trying to attack, which means our husband is constantly battling spiritual warfare. He needs for you to cover him in prayer daily to help him stay strong. Pray for his thoughts, his mind, his attitude, his relationship with the Lord, etc. If there is something you would like to see change in your husband, start asking God to do a work in his life. Prayer is POWERFUL. I take my role in praying for Jonathan very seriously and I make sure he knows that.
I truly believe if we focus on being the BEST wives we can be for our husbands, God will honor that and your husband will step his game up as well. Even if he doesn’t, our goal should be to live a life that is holy and pleasing to the Lord. If nothing else, do it out of obedience to Him.
Praying the Lord will bless you in your marriage.
Any advice you’d like to share?
Anything you’ve learned about being a Godly wife??