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?