How to Wife Well
When God parents you through your own parenting
I stood looking at my child waiting for her response. “What about him?” she said trying to avoid the consequences of her poor choices.
“What he does doesn’t have anything to do with how you should behave.” I speak the words. The words are right and true, yet I fall into the same what-about-him trap. Same trap. Different him. God pricks my heart with “That goes for you too.”
When my children do this, I recognize it as immaturity. It’s obvious. When I do the same thing, I’m ready to defend myself. I feel the it’s-not-fair welling up. Just like my children, I can easily define “fair” as anything that goes my way. I feel righteous when the spousal scorecard is tallied—giving higher points to my strengths and minimizing my weaknesses. My husband always loses when I pit my strengths against his weaknesses.
God calls me to wife well without a special what-about-him escape clause. My Heavenly Father parents me with his word and repeats my own, “What he does doesn’t have anything to do with how you should behave.” Instead, he holds me to a much higher standard than whatever I think is good and fair. The measuring bar is his definition of good. In marriage, God wants me to wife well.
Being a good wife requires action and purposefulness, that’s why I decided to use wife as a verb. What word do you know that wraps all the actions tied to being a wife, like mothering is to mother? Wife-ing well means living intentionally to esteem the God-given role. Honoring the wife role doesn’t require a husband to husband well. (That husband is accountable to God too.) The Bible speaks truth and challenge on how to wife well. Here is one verse from the Proverbs 31 passage to meditate on:
“She does him good and not evil All the days of her life.” Proverbs 31:12 NASB
Verse 12 struck me in a new way. “She does him good.” I stopped and drew the words out like a picture. I added color. I needed to remember the message of the verse. This verse put the full responsibility of the wife’s choice on her. What does she choose? She chooses to do what is good for him. And how long does she do this? “All the days of her life.” Wow. I may not be able to buy and sell fields or make clothes for my family (or leap tall buildings in a single bound as many have interpreted this passage), but I can choose good to do.
Choose good to do.
Choose good to do for him.
Choose every day.
That is how to wife well.
I suspect that a husband who chooses to do good for his wife will be husbanding well. The key is to chose to do good without needing the other person to do good first.
I want wife well. Don’t you? Every day I choose what is good, I am taking one more step in the right direction.
A note of caution
If you are in an abusive marriage, please don’t use these words to accept abusive behavior. Seek out good council and a healthy support system. If the marriage is strained, getting help is doing what is good for your husband and for you. A healthy you (body, mind, soul) is a gift you give to your marriage. You are not in charge of what your husband decides to do, but you are in charge of you. Choose well.