Recently, I have been reflecting a lot on being a wife. Maybe this is because I am thinking so much about the baby, the changes that will occur in our life, etc, I don't know, but it has been on my mind a lot. Everybody has a different idea of what being a wife is all about. For some people it is a decision they made, something that just happened, something they put up with, a status that causes them to expect something or certain treatment from their husbands, etc. But I truly feel I am called by God to be a wife. For some of you that might make total sense, for others you may be scratching your heads. But I feel that God has called me to be a wife to Michael, and that is one of the most important callings in my life (along with being God's daughter, a mother, etc.)
So, what does it mean to be called to be a wife? For me, it changes day to day, but fundamentally it means I am to honor, respect, and submit to my husband. Lately that has come to fruition in a lot of little things in my life. For example, I used to be obsessed with efficiency. (God is helping me to let go of this one.) When Michael and I are both at home, if he is working on a yard project I feel like I should be getting the laundry done, or the dishes put away, you get the idea. But often he asks me to help him. My help is usually fetching this or that, or being an extra set of eyes, or even just sitting and talking to him while he is working. That used to grate on me a bit. I had other things on my to do list that I needed to get to and wouldn't the efficient use of time be for us to both work on our chores simultaneously? But what I have learned is that there is a lot of joy in spending that time together. When we are doing things like that together we end up talking, sharing ideas, telling about our day or something we are thinking about, just doing life together, and that brings us closer as a couple. The dishes will be there for me to do later, and laundry can get put away tomorrow, but that time together is precious and priceless.
It also means trying to think of things from his point of view. Simple little things, that may not mean much to me but do to him. In our house, I know he loves to have the island in our kitchen clear of cluttler and cleaned off. It's a little thing, but the first thing he sees when he walks through the door. I have a habit of leaving odds and ends or mail or what have you on there, or not thoroughly wiping it down every time I use it. But, if I make an effort to spend a minute cleaning it off before he comes home, it can make a big difference for him. Maybe that sounds like a 1950s wife to you, but to see the smile on his face when he walks through the door, it makes all the difference.
And on the submission piece...before you quit reading on me, hear me out. I know the idea of the submissive wife is not exactly trendy in our society. But I have done some study on the Biblical principles surrounding marriage, and that is what Jesus called us to be as wives, and who am I to argue with Him? Besides, submission doesn't mean I am a doormat, that I have no opinion, and that Michael dominates everything. What it does mean is that I share my opinion in a respectful way, not shouting or demanding or fighting or crying to get my way. I can calmly and rationally discuss what I think with him, and we can work things out together. (By the way, because I am married to a Godly man who knows that Jesus tells him to love his wife as Christ loved the church, that also means he would never take advantage of my submission, but will seek to make decisions that honor me!) What I have learned in practicing submission is there is a lot of liberation in it! It is amazing how much less stress I feel when I realize that, when tough things come up, I can hand it over to Michael and let him take responbsibility. It is freeing! When I try to take charge and do things my way, I end up with an enourmous sense of stress and tension, but when I turn it over to him, and know he will take care of things, I feel free and joyful!
Anyway, these are just small examples, but I find that more and more God is calling me to try to understand things from my husband's point of view, or do little things that I know will help him out, make him happy, or ease his day. Sometimes I ignore those inner promptings, but I'm always sorry when I do, because when I follow through on them it brings a new joy and closeness in our marriage that can only benefit all of us!