Confession: I'm Not A Naturally Good Wife

Last year I wrote a series called "Derek And Me" leading up to our five year wedding anniversary.  A few weeks later I wrote this post, and I'm not sure why it has taken me so long to share it.  I wrote it when my emotions were raw and I was feeling the most insecure about my wifely abilities, but I think so much of it still applies today.  I have to try hard in marriage.  It's not easy for me.  But in the end, I think my effort will be worth it.  I'm hoping those of you who can relate will find these "confessions" encouraging!


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A few weeks ago I wrote my last couple posts in my Derek and Me series, about our wedding vows.  I published them, and then a few days later I started second guessing what I wrote, and I took them down and tweaked them a bit before republishing them.  I didn't majorly changed them, but the incident made me think about exactly why I felt self-conscious about what I wrote.  And I realized one of the reasons I don't write marriage posts that often is because I feel a little insecure in this area.

When I thought it through, I realized that I'm insecure because I feel like a failure more in the role of being a wife than in any other role that I occupy.  I know I'm a good mom, a good hygienist, a good friend, daughter, etc.

But I don't really feel like I'm a good wife.

Paul's words in Romans 7 resonate with me right now:

"I do not understand what I do.  For what I want to do, I do not do, but what I hate I do. . . I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.  For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do - this I keep on doing."  (Romans 7:15, 19)

That's how I feel in my role as a wife.  I know what kind of wife I want to be.  I know the good I should do.  But instead I just keep on doing what I don't want to do.

I'm hard to live with.  I'm bossy.  I get irritable, I get snappy, I say things I know I am going to regret.  And I hate it.  I want so bad to do good for my husband - to be a fun, happy, understanding wife, someone he comes to when he needs a break from the world.  I want to be a good wife.  But instead I act like someone I wouldn't even want to be around, and I don't know why.

I think being a "good wife" comes naturally for some women in their marriage relationships.  But it doesn't come naturally for me - in the area of my marriage, my sin nature wins more often than I like to admit.  Marriage is hard, not because of Derek at all - he is so understanding and sweet.  It's hard because I have such a hard time doing what I know is right in the context of my relationship with Derek.

C.S. Lewis said in Mere Christianity that you don't really know how bad you are until you really try to be good.  Because you will fail, and you'll see how badly you fail.  You can't do the good you want to do without God's help.

I think maybe this isn't easy for me because this is an area that the Lord wants me to practice leaning on Him.  Because I already know that when I try to get better by myself, I fail miserably.  Paul goes on to say this:

"For in my inner being I delight in God's Law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war agains the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me.  What a wretched man I am!  Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?  Thanks be to God who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!" (Romans 7:22-25)

Paul recognized that he couldn't fully do right in his own power, because his sinful nature was still at work in him.  He needed Jesus to deliver him from his sinful nature, and I realize that I need that too!  I need Jesus to deliver me from my sinful nature when it rears it's ugly head in my marriage.  I won't ever be completely free of it until I reach Heaven, but I think through relying on God's help (and only through relying on His help) and keeping my focus on Him, He can help me do the good I want to do in my marriage more often.

And you know, I think because this is an area that is harder for me, in the end I'll get more rewards in Heaven through my struggle to be a good wife than a woman who is naturally a good wife.

Everyone has their areas in which they struggle, and though a naturally good wife may not have to struggle to do good in her marriage, she might have to struggle in another area - and she will get her rewards for persevering in whatever that may be.  But for me, it gives me hope to think that just because I'm not as naturally good at being a wife as someone else, it doesn't mean I'm a failure.

It just means that I have more opportunity for rewards in this area if I continue on and persevere.

It means I have an opportunity for character development, because perseverance develops character, and character develops hope (Romans 5:3-4).

 It means I have this opportunity for growth in my relationship with the Lord, because I have to rely on Him to help me in my marriage - I can't do it by myself.

And it gives me more opportunity to know of God's grace - because I am so aware of my failings in this area, it makes it that much more aware of how much I need Him.  It makes me realize how amazing it is that the Lord would be willing to save me and love me, wretch that I am.  Only when I realize how much I need Him can I truly appreciate what He did for me on the cross!  Those who are well (or think they are well) do not need (or don't think they need) a doctor. Those who are sick and know it are the ones who realize how much they need a doctor and appreciate Him that much more.

These are the thoughts that keep me trying, even when I feel like a failure.  I'm not sure it'll ever be easy for me to show Derek love the way I know I should.  But I think the Lord smiles when He sees me turning to Him for help and just trying.  And the thought that I might please Him through my attempts, as well as make my marriage better?  That makes it worth all the effort.
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Shae said...

You are not the only one it doesn't come naturally for. I am very controlling, bossy, and get irritated easily with my husband. Instead of being thankful for the things he does, I often find myself pointing out the things he doesn't. I, like you, know I'm a good mom, friend, etc., but I just wish I could let go more often and be more relaxed with my husband instead of trying to make sure everything is "how it should be". Really?? How "should" it be in the grand scheme of things. Ugh!
Just wanted you to know that I understand where you're coming from. Marriage is something that has to be cared for gently every day. I just want to be kinder to my husband. This is something I need to pray about more. This post really brought that to my attention. Thanks! :)

Unknown said...

This is a really encouraging post Callie! I'm controlling, irritable and have expectations for my husband's time that stress him out. I want him to give more to me (not presents!), but I am not always willing to give more of my own self! In some ways, I feel like I'm a lot better than I was early on in my marriage, and growth, too, is encouraging! But I know I still have such a long way to go.

HickChickBritt said...

I totally feel this way about being a mom. Being a wife comes easy I love pleasing my husband. But I struggle everyday being a good mom. I feel like I never have patience with them. Like I am letting them down. They deserve more than a mom who is crabby all the time.

The Jessa Olson Blog said...

being a wife is tough.. I struggle with it everyday. I love all these verses that you put in there too.

Danica Pardini said...

It doesn't come naturally to any of us wives, were all sinners!

Melanie said...

Understand this totally! For me I feel like I fail most at being a good mom (I don't know why..but I do)..I was never babies when I was growing up so for me..raising Makayla has been me winging it..with God's help!!

Cramer Coffee and Jesus said...

Excited to have found your blog from the faith and fellowship blog hop! and yes, it's harder for some to be "the good wife" than it is for others. :) Excited to be following along on bloglovin now!

sarah e said...

As the child of a single parent, I basically spent most of my life trying to be the adult and figure out how to do everything and take care of everything on my own. Now that I'm married, the domestic stuff comes easy...the hard part for me is learning to back off and let my husband lead us, help me, and do things. I have to remind myself that marriages are 50-50 and that he wants to take care of me....very strange. I love your honesty and feel like we're all better wives just for being able to admit the struggle and clearly caring enough to try to grow!

gen said...

His love and grace are all we ever need as we get refined and sanctified on earth. i pray you keep persevering. :)

Kristin said...

I totally relate to this. Thank you for sharing. I'm sure Derek would say you are a wonderful wife, as I'm sure my hubby would say I am to him... but I know I could do MUCH better and I'm praying to be the wife I long to be. Thank you again :)

Rachel said...

I 100% agree with your way of thinking that there's greater reward in eternity when we kept walking the race in the areas that were really hard for us, as opposed to the easy areas. I think I'm one of those women to whom marriage, wifehood, does come really easily....but that's just one area of life, and there's plenty of others where it's much more of an uphill climb!

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