Heather Marshall on July 31st, 2008

Okay, I’ve had a few days to think, ponder, and gauge responses from other wives reading my blog. For the most part, it seems that most Christian wives are striving to be a woman who treats her husband with love, respect, honor, and service.

One thing I failed to mention, though, is that I do realize that life in 2008 is much different from life in the 1950’s. Back then, the man went out to work while his wife stayed home. Her only focus was her house, her kids, and - once he came home - her husband. The 1950’s wife was not expected to be out climbing the corporate ladder, putting in 40+ hour work weeks ON TOP OF all the cooking, cleaning, and family care.

Unfortunately, women of today have muddled their God-given roles in marriage by insisting on their own careers. Now (before an attack comes), I’m not against women working outside of the home (I do!). I AM against women’s FOCUS being outside of the home. What do I mean? I’ll use myself as an example…

When Jason and I first got met, we were both high school teachers at a Christian high school. He switched careers right before our wedding, but I decided to put in at least one more year of teaching, against his better judgment.

Not only was I teaching 3 separate courses (one of them being a new course that year), but I was also the Senior Class Advisor. I was responsible for planning their Senior trip, fundraisers, and graduation slide show, among other things.

So here I am, newly married, with tons of responsibilities outside my home, coming home at least 1-3 hours after my husband got home (depending on the day), and still having school work to do. Most nights we’d eat take-out. If I did cook, it was often some “all-in-one” or “just add chicken” box because I just didn’t have the time (or energy) for anything more. Jason was amazing, taking on a lot of the housework, but I was often left frustrated and in tears because I didn’t have the physical stamina for TWO full-time jobs!

That year was my last year teaching. I “graduated” with my Seniors (Class of ‘07!) and decided to move on to something less demanding. I now work as an aide in a special ed class in the local middle school. It requires no preparation before hand, and when I leave for the day I have nothing else to do except focus on my home and my husband! (added bonus: I work down the hall from Jason, we get to eat lunch together, my work day is over by 3 p.m. AND it saves 40 minutes of commute time each day!).

Even though I am still working 5 days a week, my focus is back on the home. I’m not upset that I had to give up my “career” as a teacher - I’m relieved! I can still make money, but with ample time and energy for my top priorities. My marriage is healthier, my mood is brighter, my meals are more frequent and actually homemade, and I don’t have any other outside work hanging over my head!

I can see the difference that this change has made in my marriage! I am less stressed, my house stays cleaner longer, and we have more time for each other, for ministry, and for our own friends!

Here are some key tips I think are important in being a balanced, home-focused wife (this is my 2008 Christian version of the Good Wife’s Guide):

  • Plan out your schedule at least one week in advance. List out which days you will be making dinner, and which days you will be ordering or going out for dinner. Corresponding your meals with your schedule will help you to know which days a quick dinner is necessary, and when a more elaborate menu can be planned.
  • Make your shopping list as you plan your menu, and your shopping for the week will be finished in one shot! You won’t waste time running to the store for missing ingredients for a last-minute dinner idea, and you won’t find yourself out of tomatoes 10 minutes before your tacos go on the table!
  • Make yourself attractive for your husband. (Hopefully he finds you attractive no matter what, but it’s nice to make the effort anyway) Make sure you are showered, dressed (well, that’s optional ;)), and “done up” when he gets home. (Or, if that’s too much - at least get out of your p.j.’s or work out clothes!).
  • Exercise regularly - for health and beauty reasons! I feel so much better about myself after just one workout. That self-confidence will carry through to other areas of your life and marriage, too! Also, it will keep your heart healthy for your kids and for many more years with your beloved!
  • Tackle one major clutter area per day. Spend at least 20 minutes, but no more than 1 hour on it. Spend another hour doing basic housework - dishes, laundry, bathroom, etc. You’ll be amazed at how much work can be done in that little amount of time!
  • If your husband works outdoors, have a cold/hot drink ready for him when he comes home. He will feel appreciated by that small gesture. Look for other ways you can show appreciation too - making his favorite foods, giving a back massage, or leaving him a note in his lunch bag.
  • Give your husband your undivided attention for at least 20 minutes each evening. Turn off the TV (or the computer), send the kids off to play (or have them clean the kitchen after dinner while you relax with hubby, if they’re old enough for that), and talk. Aside from the obvious marital benefit, your kids need to see that Mom and Dad have a relationship with each other, not just with them. It gives them security!
  • Do your best not to complain to your husband. If you have concerns, share them… especially if they are related to your marriage! but minor complaints are often best kept unsaid.
  • Find ways to encourage and compliment your husband. He thrives on your approval and admiration! Shoot him an email at work, text him throughout the day, or face to face when you’re home… it’s all good!
  • Submit to his authority as head of the household. If you disagree with your husband, share it (respectfully!), but willingly submit to whatever he decides (except of course if it goes against God’s word and causes you to sin). Even if you are adamant against it, and even if he later finds out it was the wrong decision as well, you need to be united. Do not grumble, roll your eyes, or complain… and NEVER say “I told you so!”
  • Make time for friends. Get together with other couples, and also have some girls’ nights! During our first year of marriage, most of my friendships with other women faded out because I was afraid to go anywhere without my husband. Now, we both realize, for the sake of the health of our marriage - I NEED THOSE NIGHTS!! (Warning: Never, never, never belittle or disrespect your husband to your friends! Don’t join in to malicious gossip! Be respectful and loving at all times!)
  • Pray Pray Pray Pray Pray. Stay in God’s word, communicate daily with God, ask for the filling of the Holy Spirit so that you can be empowered to go and be the best wife possible!

I’m sure we can all think of other things, but… those were some basics I came up with. What do you think? What would you add (or even take away!) from this list?

Related posts:

  1. What Makes a Good Wife - Part 3 - Worldly Wife vs Biblical Wife
  2. Small Victories + Every Day = A Striving Wife!
  3. The Gracious Wife versus The Sarcastic Wife
  4. What Defines a Gracious Wife?
  5. The Gracious Wife versus The Nagging Wife

19 Responses to “What Makes a Good Wife - Part 2”

  1. Love this list. I would add “Speak highly of him to your children” as a sub-note to complimenting him.
    My kids soak it up when I talk to them about what a super hero their Dad is.

  2. Oh that’s really cute… the non-mom in me didn’t think of that one, but that’s a really good idea! :)

  3. Amen to all of your suggestions, though I think I would put “pray” in the top position. I would also add, pray together.
    Abundant words of encouragement also play a key role.

    keep being a blessing,

  4. love everything…
    the only thing i would add would be date night with your husband once a month especially those who have kids…

  5. Oh Heather - Thank you!!!

    This is a guide I can live by!!

    I’m at a loss for words….so again THANK YOU!!

  6. Great additions!

    And Karen, best advice would be to learn from other wives! All that I wrote I learned from experience - and some of it I just learned in the last couple of months! I’m so glad you’re here, reading this… and so glad to see you striving!!

    Keep on striving ladies! Thanks for all the input… keep it coming!

    ~Heather :)

  7. Great topic Heather!

    I agree with everything you’ve written to a point. I truly and honestly believe that men and women should learn how to be a good spouse and put it into practice! I too work outside of the home and it would nice to come home and find my husband (who often gets home before I do) start dinner. Point: Husband and wife must work together.

    If it’s ok with you, I am going to post this site on the Young, Married and in Ministry on Facebook.

  8. Fine by me, Sherice! Thanks!

    And I totally agree with your comment as well - my sister’s husband gets home before her, and often she’ll come home to a full dinner ready, the house cleaned, etc. He’s so good to her! (Cooking’s not my husband’s thing…. but I will say he’s great with getting dishes done!) :)

  9. I agree with the main points of this message and I hate to sound negative but I do have a few issues with some of the listed ideas.

    “Make yourself attractive for your husband”… I feel that making a particular effort every day to spruce yourself up for your husband is a nice idea but draining and shows an unreal image of yourself to your husband. If, for example, I have been slaving away with housework for the last few hours and he comes home to find me sweaty or flopped on the couch having a rest after a long day, what is so wrong with that image? I work hard too and get tired too; why should I hide that and put a front on for the man who knows me best?

    “Exercise regularly”…I don’t feel that this has anything to do with being a wife!

    “If your husband works outdoors, have a cold/hot drink ready for him when he comes home”…My first issue with this is a practical one: I don’t know if my husband wants a drink when he gets home and if so I don’t know what he wants! Also I feel that this is bordering on babying your husband and I am NOT his mother!!! He is grown up enough to walk into the kitchen and pour himself a drink! I understand that you just mean it as a kind gesture of concern towards your husband but I’m worried that people reading that would think that it’s their responsibility to do that along with everything else.

    “Do your best not to complain to your husband. If you have concerns, share them… especially if they are related to your marriage! but minor complaints are often best kept unsaid.”…I am a great nag and complainer and I need to heed this advice! BUT the last few words are worrying to me. “but minor complaints are often best kept unsaid.” That’s a BIG NO NO to me! Nothing should be kept unsaid in a marriage. Do not keep secrets. There is a time and a place for airing complaints and it is important to NEVER keep things inside that bother you. If you do bitterness and resentment can build up and that is just as bad as moaning and nagging.

    I don’t want to be negative because the heart behind your message is my heart too; the wife’s first priority after God is her family. Basically my point is that our husbands are grown men who have the ability to look after themselves and we need to be careful that our loving them doesn’t become mothering them. They need to be an active member of the household, sharing in chores and responsibilities and we need to show them how much we love them by creating a warm and loving home for them too. It’s all about balance.

  10. Rachel, thanks for sharing!

    I do agree with the points you have made - men do have the ability to care for themselves and we shouldn’t mother them…. but most of what I mentioned was from the heart and stand point of treating our husbands SPECIAL. Of course they CAN get their own drink, but isn’t it nice to get it for them?

    My heart in writing this is not to promote being a slave to our husbands or being someone we’re not… it’s to treat him special, show him love, and also take care of MYSELF so that I’LL be in a better state of mind and body when he comes home (hence the exercise and looking attractive part).

    One last thing I do need to mention - the “minor complaints are better left unsaid” part was not about keeping secrets from our husbands… it was related more to guarding your tongue, and evaluating what really needs to be said or not. Much of what I could complain about are not legitimate complaints; they are emotional feelings that arise that I feel like venting. Given a day or two, they fade… and often I have avoided an argument, hurt feelings, gossip, or simply unproductive and unedifying conversation by not voicing them.

    I hope that clarified things… I don’t want to seem defensive or argumentative, I just wanted to clarify my original intentions with this post.

    Keep on Striving!

  11. Thanks for your point,I am so astonished!Most women dont understand how this little tips, you mentioned, will do a great deal to their marriage.

  12. I love this, it’s what I’ve been trying to work out!

    I just read your January post about No fear year and sobbed. I’ve had a day of it you see, a week a month a year! I’m stupidly insecure to the point I can sometimes be afraid to think incase I’m thinking the wrong thing. The other reason I’m afraid to stride out (seemingly) alone and be the wife I know is right.

    A word about complaining to your husband. I’m learning the hard way, that not everything I say should be said to my husband. I’m ADHD as a child and I usually just open my mouth and say how I feel. It works well with my mum, sister and best friends (female). I’m learning that most of what I say has become meaningless prattle to my poor husband. He wants to help, but soon realised I don’t actually need any help. I just want him to do the same back. But men don’t get anything out of that kind of conversation!! Now he takes ages to reply to the important stuff, and I get impatient, because it took a moment to realise it was something that needed an answer.

    It is true that everything of importance, and any worries you have should be shared with your husband, but not every single little one! For example, my hair has grown really long lately, and I can’t decide to get it shorter again or just trimmed. I ask my husband what he would like best, and he said he didn’t mind; they both look good! I got really upset (duh) because I think he’s avoiding the question and I want him to tell me so I don’t feel insecure about it. How daft am I! In truth, he really DOESN’T mind, he just likes my hair, and me, fullstop. Solution, my sister is the hairdresser anyway, I’ll trust her instincts and make my own decision - and save my poor husband’s frustration.

    I haven’t sussed this. It took years to be this insecure, it’ll take years to get out of it; but I’m determined not to hurt my husband in the process.

    Thankyou again, this site is a Godsend.

  13. Heather this is some good stuff, really really good stuff. I do want to say something to Rachel’s comment, she says, “…the wife’s first priority after God is her family.” I have a differing opinion, I believe that a wife’s first priority after God is her husband then her children. Too many men play second fiddle to our children and while it may be subtle it speaks volumes. Yes they are our children and need attention but its wife first then mother, and I think that many men get treated unfairly, but we can’t forget them. I applaud your blog (though I haven’t read part 3 yet but I’m anxious) and pray that your husband praises you for your efforts but most importantly that you feel assured and blessed by God for your efforts.

    Stay Blessed.

  14. One thing i will add, that noone ever seems to is a fathers role with his children. I think fathers MUST have an active role with thier children. Not just supporting monetary wise, but actuall helping raise them. I always hear how it is a womans job to “deal” with the children and i dont agree. I am a stay at home mom/wife and my son is my responsability, however, when my husband is home, they love to play together, he helps with our son and always goes to every Dr. appointment and so on. We are both parents and both need to have an active role for our children.

  15. I love that so many women are making an effort to be good wives, instead of just existing in the relationship. I wish some men would make the same effort. It should not be the woman’s sole responsibility to keep it all together, be the only parent to the children etc.

    I also do not think the children should be the last priority in the hierarchy. The man is grown and raised, the children are not. The wife should try to give equal attention to the husband and the children, and the husband should try to give equal attention to the wife and the children. The marriage is important, but kids are only kids for so long. It is my opinion that part of the reason people are growing up so “messed up” is because too many parents have a “me me me” attitude. This leaves the child to grow up with lower self esteem and need a to seek attention how ever they can, even if it is negative. A man should be mature enough to understand sometimes being a mommy comes first!

    Just my four cents.

  16. I’m sorry, but in this day and age, I struggle with a lot of the things being said here. You all seem to have dehumanised yourselves in order to become preprogrammed robot wives. Idealised marital relations, such as the ones you are describing, are not a reality for most women in the modern era who are often juggling work and childcare commitments because if they didn’t, the family would go under financially.

    I’ve always been the female breadwinner in my family. What woman in her right mind would reduce the family income by two-thirds to do her Godly duty and make her husband feel like the most important person in the family?

    Female subservience has throughout the course of history led to women being exploited. Believe me, if the vast majority of women hadn’t been disatisfied with their lot in life, female emancipation wouldn’t have happened.

    It sickens me to see ideas being purported about female self-abnegation when so many women have proved themselves to be equally intelligent, industrious and capable as men. You all seem to be devoid of ambition, unimaginative and dull.

  17. LOVE IT.

  18. This post is so great! My husband and I have been married only since July and we have been loving it so much! Lately I’ve been really thinking over what it means to be a good, Biblical, wife. I stumbled upon this post and am so thankful for your words of wisdom! I plan on writing my own thoughts on this on my blog, so if you don’t mind I’d like to put a link to this post as well.

    Thanks again for sharing your wisdom! :)

  19. i am a medical doctor and a mother been married four years and i am striving to be a good wife as God has called me to be. My job is more tasking than my husband’s and i make more money than he does. But i still want to be the best wife not only do i know it gives him pleasure but it also makes me feel good about myself.
    I try not to count the number of good things i do for him vis-a-vis the number he does for me because marriage is not a competition.
    Brina emancipation is knowing that one has the choice to either be all these things or not and that you have chosen to do these wifely choices out of your own free will and not because society or one’s husband demands it.

    Give it a try you will be surprised at the dividends it pays :-)


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