On Wanting to Be That Wife
By Janel Breitenstein
For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved to be appreciated, loved to achieve, loved to be a good example. I make a fantastic firstborn.
Nowadays I don’t call it a “good example” in my mind. It looks more like me wanting to be that person.
You know, that person: The one who’s a good listener. Or the one whose kids behave. Or the one who is thoughtful, remembering to text after praying for a prayer request.
Or that wife who is supportive and compassionate and there when he fails.
Of course it’s good to establish goals for the kind of woman I want to be and take real-life steps. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be a good mom or wife or friend and following through!
But let’s imagine you’re my husband when I hand him a lunch I packed so I can be that wife.
Instead of loving my husband as my first goal? I’m loving me just a bit more. My ambition and lofty thoughts of myself motivate me more than my love for him.
And honestly, that’s what my problem with trying to be a good example was really about, too. I was often cleaning up the outside in lieu of cleaning up the inside—which Jesus loathed (Matthew 23:25). Most of my horizontal problems with being an “example” are first vertical problems.
My husband sometimes calls me out on ways I’m shooting for “good wife” points (like spending my time on a meal before he leaves, rather than spending time with him).
It takes work to see and love my husband … rather than the idea of my best self.
(Would you like a packed lunch with that?)
Action points: In what ways do you get caught up with being a textbook spouse … rather than loving your spouse specifically and sincerely? Ask God to expose ways you’re tempted to “love” your spouse in order to maintain your own image rather than give genuine affection with no ulterior motive.
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