My friends and I would talk and they would say all they really wanted out of life was to be a wife and mother. I listened to them and I thought, “Yeah, kind of …” It faintly echoed a desire of mine, but somehow it just didn’t match up perfectly.
I wanted to be married and have kids, but being a wife and mother just came with that territory. I wanted to make someone’s life happy, but more-so I wanted someone else to make my life happy. I had other things on my horizon crowding marriage and motherhood to the sides.
I wanted to travel.
I wanted a career.
I wanted to love.
I wanted to change the world.
Being a “good wife” wasn’t just not the end goal; It wasn’t even on the agenda.
But somewhere along the way, something snapped.
Aaron and I started dating (again). We got engaged. We got married. And something just snapped.
A feeling was aroused in me I had never felt before. I didn’t just want to coexist in a living space, I wanted to make a home. I wanted the home to be joyful and happy and comfortable. I wanted it to be a place full of good memories and good food and good smells. A place where friends and acquaintances and strangers would feel welcome. That place you feel nostalgic for even though you’re not sure you’ve ever been there.
Much like a man can grow a desire to provide for and protect his family, all of a sudden I had this desire to provide. I wanted to provide a home. A haven where nothing ever seemed out of control. The desire hit me like a ton of bricks. It came out of nowhere.
I’m 23 years old. I’ve never been a wife before. Becoming a “good wife” (something that, in a lot of people’s minds is different from being a good person) is a new concept to me. I’m always trying to better myself as a person, but you don’t learn couponing and crock pot meals and checking accounts in Good Person 101. That all falls under the “good wife” category, I guess. And I have no idea what I’m doing.
So I became a part of the blogosphere. I tried to learn about being frugal and how not to waste anything and how to cook healthy, yet delicious, yet inexpensive meals. And there’s a blog for everything out there. And everyone out there is doing at least one thing perfectly, or so it seems. So my goal was to take all of those perfect attributes and cram them all into myself. If I could to that, I would become a perfect wife.
(I tried Pinterest because it teaches you quick tips and frugality and how to turn literal garbage into wall art. It actually helps you save time from looking at all those other blogs, so it’s even better. Because a good wife should manage her time wisely.)
But it turns out that the times I tried Pinterest, I ended up sobbing, engulfed in feelings of inadequacy. And it turns out that trying to be all those perfect bloggers rolled into one made me a fragile, insecure, stressed out nutcase. Because sometimes, I actually believe if someone is doing one thing better than me, they are a better person than me (as if I were to do them perfectly, it makes me better than them!). And seeing the things other people do overwhelms me with guilt. Because I’ll never be that kind of woman, that kind of wife.
The truth is … I don’t know how to be a good wife.
And the “good wife” in my head is nothing like the “good wife” my husband wants.
He wants someone who spends time with him rather than obsessing over how to save the half-gone bag of lettuce rotting in our fridge as I type.
He likes that I get lost in my writing, even if that means he cooks dinner.
He’d rather have a kind, peaceful, patient wife, than a wife who anticipates his every need and runs a perfect house.
He supports this blog. He supports the discipleship group and the Sunday School class I teach, even though they sometimes take away from the time I spend with him and the time I spend making our house a home.
His “haven” is different from the one I have in my mind. My “haven” usually turns out to be a prison — a museum with a schedule and perfect order where you can’t mess anything up. To him, happy, peaceful, not-stressed-out people make a happy home.
He has never put any “perfect wife” expectations on me. I have completely put them on myself.
And so I struggle with all these ideas of what I’m supposed to be like. What does society think? What does my husband think? What do I think? And what in the world does God think?
I really don’t know how to be a good wife by anyone’s definition. I am incapable of being perfect. I’m incapable of being “good”. I’m also incapable of not stressing out when I’m not perfect or good. I don’t know how to be a good wife on my own. And out of this comes one of the most sincere and powerful prayers I’ve ever prayed:
God, I don’t know how to be a good wife. I don’t know how to be a good woman, or a good person, or a good Christian. I feel like I am screwing it all up. I am past the point of confused. I am seriously lost. I seriously have no idea what I’m doing. I need more than just a little boost to make it through the day. I’m past the point of needing a cheat sheet. I need a lifeline. I need You.
P.S. If you really want some wisdom on the subject, read my mom’s response to this post.
*photo courtesy: britney @baretribeblog.blogspot.com