Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Excellent Wife

I would never consider myself to be an excellent wife.  Most days I don't even feel like a good wife.  Or even a halfway decent wife.  Because the truth is I make mistakes.  And I'm not talking about the mistakes I made in the past - big and little.  I'm talking about day to day "I messed up in how I treated my husband" mistakes that still occur with much repetition.

From my sarcastic tone when I'm in pain or upset (even if I'm not directly upset with my husband), to the constant pressure I put on myself to be sexually available even if I don't feel like it (that's a whole other blog post...), to the myriad of other examples I have of my failings - I just don't make the excellent wife cut.

But then again, maybe I do.  Because what I do have, what I can offer of this:

I want to be better.

I want to behave differently.

I want to be the kind of wife who lifts her husband up and supports him.

Not the one who gets all bent out of shape when he's running late from work for the millionth time.

I want to the be kind of wife who can focus solely on her husband and not all the other thoughts that go through my mind when I know my husband wants to have sex.  And even in saying that I realize my failing there, because I don't even think about sex in non-superficial terms.  There is, I'd like to point out, a huge difference between just having sex and sharing real intimacy together, or as some call it, making love.

But I digress, because this post isn't about my hang ups with sex.

What does it mean to be excellent?

I feel like I should know this answer.

I set extremely high expectations for myself.  Ones that oftentimes I cannot even attain, because they border on the absurd.  It keeps coming back to sex.  It wasn't my intention to use that as an example, but clearly it's on my mind, so I'm just going to go with it.

Maybe I'm alone in this-and maybe it's the norm.  But I expect myself to be always available to be there sexually for my husband.  If he wanted to make love, I feel like I should be ready, at the mere mention.  But the sad reality is that I rarely ever live up to this high expectation that I have set for myself.  My husband doesn't expect this from me.  I don't believe that God expects this from me.  I believe that I have a very real issue surrounding sex, and put unnecessary pressure on myself, which only stands to further prevent me from attaining that goal.

Another area where I set high expectations for myself is in my job.  I don't believe in doing just the bare minimum at work.  I expect myself to give 110% on good days, and 100% on bad days.  There's no room for mediocrity.  Do I always live up to that expectation?  No.  And yet, when I fail there, I internally criticize myself and berate myself for being inconsistent with the goals I set for myself.

I'm an overachiever in some areas of my life, bordering on obsession in some things.  So, if that is true in a few areas of my life, why isn't it true in all areas?  Why am I not as persistent in being a better wife and a better mom?  Why don't I hold myself to that same standard when it comes to cleaning my house?  How can I hate having a desk at work that is messy, but live in clutter at home?

The truth is this:

It does still bother me.  The mess. At home (and clearly in my brain right now since I feel like I'm all over the place tonight).  The only difference is that by the time I get home, or on weekends when it just seems unnatural to work, I am too exhausted or in too much pain to even contemplate giving another 100% to that area of my life.

What that ends up meaning though is that my kids and my husband all too often get less than 100%.  If I had to really evaluate and be honest about where I see myself, where I rate myself on how much I give to my husband and family, I'd say I give them about 75% percent on a good day.  On a bad day, it's too ugly to even look at.

I don't say any of this in an effort to be self-deprecating.  I'm taking an honest look at my life and my priorities and trying to understand why I do things the way that I do.

And maybe you're asking what prompted all of this.  Maybe you're just used to the way I ramble from one thing to another.

We have been doing devotions at night, just 15 minutes each night.  We went from reading the Jesus Calling devotional together to getting everyone their own devotionals and spending just 15 minutes in solitude, spending time with God.  Is 15 minutes enough?  No - but it's something, and hey, my devotional time is not on trial here.  Though the admission leaves me feeling like that is just another area where I don't give enough.

So, everyone got a new devotional for Christmas.  And my loving husband spent time at a local Christian bookstore searching for the perfect one for me.  He couldn't pick just one, so he got me two.  And I am just going to say it.  I hate them both.  Okay, maybe hate is too strong of a word.  But there are things in both of them that annoy me so much it is actually distracting me from spending close, quality time with God.

I've been wanting to get a new one, or find a book to read during our devotion time that will help me focus on God and really go deeper.  Tonight I decided to find a book that I bought at least 6-10 years ago.  A book that I read maybe two chapters in then put down because at the time, the last thing I cared about being was what Martha Peace calls women to:  The Excellent Wife.

Many of you know that for seven and a half years I was caught up in an adulterous relationship with another man.  Does that sound like the heart of someone who wants to be an excellent wife?  And yet, in the midst of all of that, I couldn't push from my mind the expectation I set for myself to be that excellent wife.  To be a godly wife.  I was failing.  Miserably.  In light of that, my current failures seem a lot less severe - but that doesn't mean I should settle for mediocrity or "just okay" in my marriage.

So tonight I was on a mission to find that long lost book and crack it open.  The devotional books I had were annoying me, as I am pretty sure King James himself of the ever-so-popular-with-Southern-Baptists Bible wrote them personally.  I'm not trash talking the KJV - I'm merely stating that reading and re-reading something 20 times to glean meaning from it is just not my thing.  I need something that is more modern in speech.  I applaud my husband's efforts in trying to find me something great, and give him an extra pat on the back for being an overachiever and buying me two, but they just don't leave me longing to get back to my time with God that we have designated each night.

I suppose that getting back into this book, especially being at a completely different and ultimately better place in my life and marriage has left me contemplative.  I read something tonight that really struck me.

God's will for every Christian wife is that her most important ministry be to her husband (Genesis 2:18).  After a wife's own personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, nothing else should have greater priority.


First, I had never really thought about my marriage being a ministry.  Second, boy have I been missing the mark there!

All of that to say that I have a lot of work to do, and I believe that my desire to do better, to be better, is a huge step in the right direction to becoming an excellent wife.  What about you?  In what areas of your life do you want to be excellent, even though you miss the mark?


  1. The Excellent Wife and The Exemplary Husband are two books we highly recommend to couples. They are hard reads, especially in today's society where couples seem bent on demanding "their rights". But the books teach us how to serve each other. Read on, sister! And blessings to you and your hubby!

    1. Thanks! I'm not sure if my husband has read that one or not. I'll have to look into it. Can't wait to see what else this book holds.