Marriage is tough.
Even on the good days, marriage can be hard. On the bad days, it can be almost impossible to be the wife you once hoped you’d be.
None of us set out to be a bad spouse. But if we’re not willing to work at it, that’s exactly what we’ll be.
The good news is that we have a really simple guide for how to be a better wife.
Set Realistic Expectations for Yourself as a Wife
When Kevin and I first got married I had high hopes of being a dream wife. I assumed I’d quickly learn how to be a fabulous chef, incredible housekeeper, and doting wife, all while working and bringing home a full-time paycheck. I dreamed mostly of all of the practical, everyday roles I might be able to play (or slay if you will) as a wife.
Little did I know, none of that practical stuff mattered if I got all of the intangible relationship stuff wrong…
It’s hard to care about or even notice those practical acts of service if a relationship is strained. A gift doesn’t mean as much if it is given out of obligation. A helpful gesture falls flat if it is made in a passive-aggressive manner. Kind words don’t carry the same weight if spoken in manipulation.
I realized very quickly after we married that I wasn’t going to be nearly as good at this whole wife gig as I’d hoped. Or even expected if we’re being honest. I thought I would be a pretty great wife, able to make my husband happy most of the time.
Then, I figured I’d at least be able to will myself to be that same fabulous wife on those inevitably tough days. Boy, was I in for a surprise when I realized that there was simply not enough willpower to press through those times…
I literally couldn’t do it. Even though I deeply loved this man I’d married, there were days that I just could not muster it up to be that great wife. I knew I needed to do something.
Keep the Right Perspective on the Role Your Husband Should Play
So, I prayed about it. And as I began to pray, it became very clear that the problem was not my husband. Or his unrealistic expectations. The problem was ME! And it had nothing to do with my lack of household organization or my inability to cook delicious meals every night.
The real problem was that I was not seeking God. I knew God. I loved God. But I wasn’t letting God be God. I had put my husband on that throne and I was doing everything I could to please him instead of God. I was desperately trying to play this role that I believed God designed me to play but I wasn’t willing to let Him guide me in exactly how to do that.
I’ve seen this same issue play out over the years in new marriages and even serious dating relationships. A couple begins to date and fall in love. They decide to get engaged. As the wedding date approaches, this couple does everything they can to make sure they are ready to enter into a strong Christian marriage. They’ve prayed about this and they truly love each other. God has blessed them with a mate who loves them and believes as they do.
It should be perfect, right?
Prioritize God Above Your Husband
It is all too easy to get derailed in your marriage, even and I’d go as far as to say especially when things are going well. Satan knows that a thriving marriage is a beautiful picture of the gospel to a watching world; therefore, he will do everything he can to sideline that marriage.
At the start of a marriage relationship it might be too soon to tempt with infidelity, so he goes for a much sneakier tactic. He twists a beautiful gift of God into something it should never be.
Satan shifts our focus just enough to make us take the gift that God has given us in marriage and worship the gift instead of the giver.
We believe that we are supposed to love our spouse so we work as hard as we can at it. And ever so slowly, we begin to put that marriage and that spouse on a pedestal they were never meant to be on.
I found myself in this position early on in our marriage and I quickly realized it wasn’t healthy for either of us. I knew I needed to quickly shift my focus back to God.
9 Easy Steps to Becoming a Better Wife
As a Christian wife, I am filled with the Holy Spirit; therefore, I have access to all of the fruits of the Spirit.
One of my favorite ways to evaluate my relationships is to use the fruits of the Spirit from Galatians as a litmus test.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)
- Am I showing LOVE to my husband? In my words? In my actions?
- Am I bringing JOY into our marriage? Am I joyful towards him? Do I tend to have a negative attitude? How can I cultivate more gratitude to bring even more joy into the relationship?
- How am I bringing PEACE into our marriage? Am I quick to fight or speak harshly? Am I willing to be the first to apologize? Am I spending enough time with God to exude that inner peace that only He can give?
- Am I PATIENT with my husband? Do I become easily frustrated with him? Do I try to push him or manipulate circumstances to get what I want?
- Am I KIND to my husband? Am I putting him and his wants/needs first? Am I speaking kindly to him and about him to others, regardless of whether he is present or not?
- Am I GOOD to him? Do I “bring him good, not harm, all the days of his life?” (Proverbs 31) Do I make decisions based off of his best interests?
- Am I FAITHFUL to my husband? Am I loyal to him? Do I actively protect my marriage?
- Am I GENTLE in dealing with my husband? Do I approach him with tenderness?
- Do I exercise SELF-CONTROL in our marriage? Am I disciplined in the ways I take care of our home? Our bank account? Our marriage?
Are there lots of ways to work on our marriages?
This is just one simple tool that has helped me learn how to be a better wife, through different seasons in our marriage.
The fruits of the spirit are qualities and characteristics that we will all benefit from cultivating in ourselves.
And if all of our marriages were marked with these nine fruits, it would make for much happier and healthier bonds. This will also make for beautiful representations of the gospel, just as God intended for our marriages.
I’ve created a free printable with Galatians 5:22-23 as a helpful reminder of ways we can love our husbands (and others) well. (Download the full-sized PDF from the Resource Library.)
Finally, I’d love for you to consider our book, Why Toothpaste Matters, as a resource to strengthen your marriage.
Hopefully these tools will be a big help you as you seek how to be better wife as well.