Can I really be an excellent wife? What happens when it’s too hard?
I recently addressed the question, “Why Should I Be an Excellent Wife?” and the short of it is this: because we should want to honor God by honoring our husbands. Yet sometimes that can seem like such an overwhelming concept.
We often carry the misconception of what it means to be excellent; such as being an excellent wife means being a perfect wife.
We can also believe being excellent will look the same for every couple when this is not always true.
It’s important to understand why being an excellent wife isn’t just some biblical fad. It truly is foundational for a strong marriage.
Each husband will hold to desires, preferences, and needs which will vary from other husbands, and as a wife, it’s up to us to know these and how that affects our marriage.
So when the idea of being an excellent wife seems too hard, start here…
At first, this may seem to be a simple task, but to really nail down being kind, you must be kind when things don’t go your way; when things aren’t done the way you prefer; when your husband has a stressful day at work and comes home less than happy.
Be kind when you’re having a hard day and when you and your husband have a disagreement (yes, you can still be kind when you disagree!).
This can take a bit of practice if it’s something you’re not used to doing. It’s not that we want to be intentionally malicious, but often, we allow our emotions to run away with us in a moment and the result is being harsh. The goal is to keep these emotions under control so our response will turn away potential, and often unnecessary, conflict.
Each husband will have specific characteristics that we must recognize and learn to work with.
For example, many husbands become stressed over finances. After being married to someone for a short time, you might find this to be the case. You discover a pattern of ups and downs when the money flows and when it doesn’t. It can even be as often as weekly!
This is a situation when we will have the opportunity to show kindness through our words, tone, and actions as we deal with a stressful situation.
Being kind can be the difference between a situation escalating or softening.
What are some practical ways you can be kind to your husband?
- Encourage him with words. Husbands need to be built up, especially by their wives. When he has a rough day at work, praise him for working hard for his family and tell him how much you appreciate it. Don’t assume he already knows. Tell him.
- Show he is valuable. Make him his favorite dinner regularly, make it a point to keep his favorite shirt clean, make the time to enjoy doing something he likes. Tell him how valuable he is by showing him.
- Don’t scold or nag. Let’s just be honest…this can be a hard one. The use of the terms scold and nag may seem harsh, but are they? When we correct our husband because he did the dishes or laundry wrong, we’ve scolded him for helping out. When we consistently remind him of a project he needs to start (or complete), we are nagging him because our timetable is more valuable than his. Believe me when I say this usually has the opposite effect than you intend.
While being kind can definitely have a positive impact on your marriage, especially over time, you may come to find the results aren’t always immediate or even what you might expect. Sometimes, you’ll deal with personal emotions as you break down the walls of your own expectations.
Some things you may experience as you make kindness a habit in your marriage:
- Sacrifice. Being kind when it’s hard to be kind is going to be a sacrifice. But this is where the growth will take place — in you and your marriage! This is where it is really going to count. When you find it tough to be kind, pray. Pray and then engage. Trust that God will bring the fruit — even if it is not immediate.
- Disappointment. You will experience some disappointment when your husband doesn’t recognize your efforts right away. Remember your purpose here…it isn’t for you to get the glory. You may never hear, “I’m so glad you chose to be kind to me in that moment.” But you may hear, “Honey, I love you. Thank you for supporting me.” Or you may just help diffuse a hard situation. Refrain from seeking his gratitude but know you may not directly receive it.
- Self-Control. In those moments when you find it most difficult to be kind, this is where you will learn more self-control. Sometimes you will need to pause and pray before engaging in a kind word or gesture. If you feel like you’re in a place of reacting, step back before interacting.
Keep in mind, this isn’t a fruit you can produce all on your own. You will want to call on God’s help as often as you need to! While it’s easy to be kind when we want to be kind, doing so when it is far from our own desire will require work from the Holy Spirit. He is faithful!
For His Glory,