I want to take a moment to be very real with those of you, my friends, who are wives (or husbands).
Marriage is tough.
There is this ideal we have been given to expect when it comes to a marriage. Movies and books portraying “epic romances” or relationships where there is never strife or conflict. Husbands and wives are always beautiful, successful, career and family oriented in just the right combination.
Reality is very different.
Living with another human being is not always easy. People make mistakes, feelings are hurt, or choices made on the spur of the moment which bring in a mountain of trouble in the future (especially if those rash decisions involve money—even tiny nonsense purchases which over time eat away at a budget).
If I’m honest with myself, there have been many times over the past twenty-three years I’ve not been the helper my husband needs (or deserves). I’ve put my own selfish desires ahead of what’s best for our relationship. Those are hard things to admit to yourself, y’know? I was reading a post from Sheila Wray Gregoire which states that selfishness is the root of marriage problems.
Speaking as a woman who spent five years separated from her husband until God opened both our eyes to understanding covenant with HIM and each other—yes—selfishness is the root.
As a wife, I’m meant to help my husband. Support and respect him as the head of our relationship and home. I’m meant to be industrious and provide what my family needs (whether that’s income or healthy meals or a myriad of other things). My attitude sets the overall tone of our home. You know that saying which says “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”. Well—it’s true. Over the years, there have been sacrifices I’ve made for my husband. But I don’t always succeed in putting him above my own desires.
My husband is meant to love and honor me as his wife. He is to value me more than his own life (as Christ loves the church). That’s not an easy thing for anyone to do. It actually requires a lot of sacrifice, which can include giving up of goals or dreams in order to provide for me or our family. I’m not sure I’ve always taken into consideration the sacrificial giving of time and treasure my husband often undertakes (especially when I’m nagging the man about something). There’s a reason Proverbs 27:15 (NLT) says “A quarrelsome wife is as annoying as constant dripping on a rainy day”. Lord help me, that is not who I want to be.
Thankfully—love truly does cover a multitude of sins.
You want to know a secret? I’ve been married for well over two decades, but there is still plenty of learning I need to do as a wife so I may be a better helper to my husband. Or better yet, the helper God designed me to be especially for him. Selfishness can rear it’s ugly head even in the best of marriages over time. It’s important to remember, love always puts the other one first.
You know, I think I need to do some personal study (once more) on what it means to be a wife (helper). I’ve never been a fan of studying Proverbs 31. That woman seems like an impossible role model to live up to some times.
But I’m thinking, she’s worth another look.