Monday, August 6, 2007

Marriage Monday - An Excellent Wife

This week's Marriage Monday, hosted by Spiritually Unequal Marriage, focuses on God's call to excellence for us as wives. Lynn rightfully points out that it is only in finding our very being in Christ that we can achieve this excellence and love our husbands fully. Here's a little snippet of what she says:

"The absolute best thing we can do for our husband is to love God. Our intimate love relationship with the King overflows into every area of our life and all of our relationships. Our willingness to obey God creates a willingness to partner with our spouse and turn over our need for control. We relinquish selfishness and discover new areas of fulfillment through Jesus.
Knowing God, experiencing Him is the only way to happiness, contentment, and joy in every area of our life and specifically our marriage."

I have to admit that too often I settle for "good enough." I don't strive for excellence in most of my life's endeavors. If you've read this post, you'll see that this is something I've been thinking about recently. I've really been convicted that God, and my husband, deserve much better than I've been giving them. So do my children for that matter.

One of my favorite authors, Elizabeth George, states, "Good, better, best; never let it rest until your good is better, and you better, best." The point being that we can almost always do better; to not be satisfied with just good, but to strive for better and then on to your best. Now, I'm not as foolish as to believe that overnight I can instantly be the excellent wife and mother that I long to be, but here are some concrete areas in which I can strive to improve day-by-day. Please note that these things are very specific to my marriage and circumstances and may or may not apply to you.

1) My weight - Wow, it's hard to blog about this to the world. But here goes - I have gained quite a bit of weight since we got married over 14 years ago. This has been a significant source of conflict between Hubby and I, really the major source. I need to make a more concerted effort and be more disciplined in my efforts to take care of myself and lose weight.

2) Homemaking - I will say that I have improved quite a bit in this area over the past two years or so. But still I find myself wasting far too much time. Hubby once said that he thought it was only fair that I work as many hours a day as he does and I would agree with that. I would say the he works on average about 9 hours a day. If I count the time I spend homeschooling, that leaves 4 hours a day which I should be spending on making our home a beautiful haven for my family. This could include not only housecleaning, but also laundry, ironing, grocery shopping, redecorating, etc. Whatever it takes to turn this into a place of refuge and peace.

3) Honoring my husband's wishes - You know, I think that he really doesn't ask very much of me. But there are a few, relatively minor things that he has asked for for years that I have been unwilling to do out of my own stubbornness. Things like ironing a week's worth of clothes for him instead of one shirt and one pair of pants each day. Like hanging his clothes to dry rather than putting them in the washer. Or being careful to enter my purchases into our check register. Small inconveniences for me, but symbols of my respect and love for him.

The point is to be the very best that you can be - by allowing God to flow in and through us, moving us to pursue excellence in His name.

10 comments:

Lynn said...

Lori,

You and I are of kindred sisterhood. This post is excellent. Your desire to change is so valuable in God's eyes. It's a life journey and you are well on your way.

I learned so much visiting with you here and I see your heart for Jesus clearly in your writing. Thank you for honoring your marriage this day. Love and hugs, Lynn

Refresh My Soul Blog said...

Great post! Praying for your marriage. Love your honesty. God will definately bless all your efforts!
Blessings,
Angela

On Fire For Jesus said...

WOW! I am impressed that you were so vulnerable to share that with the rest of the bloggy world. It really shows your heart. You can tell that you want to change and grow and do the best you can.
I believe if these are the desires of your heart, then He will help you accomplish them.
Don't forget to be praying and asking for His help in all three of your areas of growth.
Bless you.

Kellie said...

Amazing Post! I just love it! You are so wise! Thank you for sharing that!

I especially felt this:

"1) My weight - Wow, it's hard to blog about this to the world. But here goes - I have gained quite a bit of weight since we got married over 14 years ago. This has been a significant source of conflict between Ibrahim and I, really the major source. I need to make a more concerted effort and be more disciplined in my efforts to take care of myself and lose weight."

I am right there with you. This also is a source of battle between my husband and I. Only because he sees how much my personality has changed because of the extra pounds. Meaning, I am more crabby and pessimistic than normal.

Betty Jane said...

I absolutely love the quote from E. George. That is going up on my computer at work and home. Praying that your goals will become tangible for you and a source of genuine motivation towards excellence! Blessings!

Lizzie said...

Lori -

I'm with the other ladies - great post :)

I identify with the weight and housekeeping issues. In the last 11 or so years that I've known my husband I've gained 20kg (something like 45lbs). Of course it may have had a teeeeeeeny bit to do with producing three kids in three years, but the last one is almost 6 now, LOL. No more excuses! The weight thing does impact a bit on my relationship with my husband though - he's smart enough not to directly corner me with it - LOL - but being heavier trowells on the inhibitions - in public, in the bedroom, wearing certain clothes and so on.

Five things please my husband more than anything (well, okay, almost more than anything...there is that ONE thing....LOL!)

1. Clean clothes. I get bonus points if they're ironed but as long as they're hung right out of the dryer a few small wrinkles doesn't bother him (he works in a job that normally requires a uniform but he's currently in a division that wears plain clothes - yay!)

2. Nice meals. He has his favourite meals, and he has his not-so-favourite meals :) He's on a 3 week roster which essentially gives him one week out of three where he eats dinner at work. This is an area I'd like to work on - providing him with a meal (sometimes just leftovers) to take to work. We're working at about 50-50 brown bag vs takeout for his work dinners at the moment.

3. A clean kitchen. With every last dish washed and put away.

4. A neat and tidy (not necessarily spotless) house.

5. Having snackfood on hand. It sounds trivial but the guy is lucky enough to be stick-thin and can eat what he likes (grrr...lol). He appreciates coming home to a snack.

I'm working on a few things with hubby...they're always on the backburner :)

* Forgive him his stubbornness.
* Allow him to be wrong without trying to 'prove' my case.
* Accept that I have more than enough faults of my own to rival his, so I should cut him some slack (LOL)

And I've recently started dropping everything to give him a hug as he walks in the door, and offering him his snack shortly thereafter as he relaxes on the computer. I'm telling the kids to give Daddy some space, and so on. And as often as I can, use physical touch (no not THAT physical touch, LOL) like touching his hand, giving hugs, giving backrub etc.

It's *extremely* hard sometimes. Just this week I was horribly offended and annoyed at him and the absolute last thing I wanted to do was to be nice to him - I didn't even want to be anywhere NEAR him, LOL. I kept my mouth shut for a few hours and by the end of that I'd found my annoyance had dissipated a great deal and I was just mildly peeved. Slept on it, woke up the next morning, put on a smile, and everything was back to normal by the time I'd finished my morning cup of tea :)

Last example, then I'll stop monopolizing your comments section...LOL...

My husband has always preferred me with long hair. I usually don't give it much thought until the point where I'm rinsing out fistfuls of hair in the shower - then its all 'I must get my hair cut NOW'. This happens maybe once a year or 18 months. Hubs sulks. Sucks all the thrill out of a trip to the hairdresser. It's an issue he's never been able to fully articulate and one we've never been able to find a compromise on. It's not that I prefer short hair, per se, but that my hair is super-thick and very unmanageable when long. I wear a perpetual ponytail. When the urge to get a haircut came around this time, I was surprised to find I wasn't as 'one option' oriented. I asked DH's opinion on having my hair thinned out and trimmed an inch or so, and maybe coloured, and he was fine with it. So that in itself is a compromise. Hopefully it will make the mop-top a lot easier to manage!

P.S. I may as well just cut and paste this as a blog entry! Sorry, LOL!

Cheers,
Lizzie
http://lizzieshome.blogspot.com/

Melissa said...

I have an honest questions and I hope this does not offend. It seems so often that as women, we are always trying to please other people, sometimes to the detriment of what we ourselves need. When I read about trying to do what your husband wishes, I think, "that's nice, but what about what I want?" Do you ever find yourself in constant conflict about certain subjects/areas? How do you deal with that? Also, as someone who is overweight, if my husband bothered me about that, I would have a big problem with it. After all, he has areas I wish he would change as well. Thoughts?

Lori @ The Simple Life at Home said...

Oh, heck, Melissa, you know you aren't going to offend me! To be truthful, that's a very good question. For me, the answer is that marriage is very much a two-way street, but I can only be responsible for my part of it. Fortunately, Ibrahim is very wonderful and gives me whatever I need. But even if he didn't, that wouldn't absolve me of God's command for me to be the best wife that I can be. Just like we teach our kids not to be mean just because others are mean, I feel that even when I do occasionally feel that Ibrahim is being unreasonable or unfair, I'm still called to honor him. It's not an "if you do this, then I'll do that" situation. But, I'm sure there are times that Ibrahim feels I don't give him what he needs.

As far as the weight issue, there has been a raging debate going on about this yesterday and today in my curriculum forums (obviously we deal with more than curriculum there!). My firm belief, even if I haven't gotten a handle on it in practice, is that my husband is entitled to desire for me to be fit and healthy for him. At this weight, I am not the happy, outgoing person he married, so he's lost out on two fronts - not having as strong of a physical attraction (right or wrong men are attracted by physical beauty) and on top of that having to deal with the self-esteem issues and general unhappiness with myself. Do I feel that he handles it correctly? Usually, but not always. But that doesn't negate the fact that he is right that it's a problem.

Feel free to keep the discussion going - I'm happy to keep talking about anything!

Gretchen said...

Wow, I really identified with many things on your list, Lori. Especially the making the house a haven and doing the little things. The pastor who counseled us before we were married told us that "it's the little things" that will make and break a marriage. So true. Blessings.

Lizzie said...

I agree with Lori -

My old self would get horribly offended at even the slightest notion of my weight having anything at all to do with ANYTHING, LOL. Even now, I struggle with letting go of that mindset.

Still pretty new to the Christian way of thinking but I'd like to think my husband (regardless of his unbelief) would prefer to 'drink from his own well', LOL - at least from a Biblical viewpoint, even looking at someone with lust (over their looks, attractive clothing, and whatnot) is a sin. From purely a woman's perspective, I *WANT* him to be looking at me in the same way that he did when we first met.

Of course it goes without saying that our marriage is only stronger now with the passage of time and all that, and weight probably doesn't play a massive role in how strong the marriage is. But even when you put the whole 'my husband would like me to be...' thing off to the side, *I* certainly don't enjoy being 45lbs overweight! It's a constant battle I rage between my old habis and the new ones I'm trying to put in place. And even putting aside the VANITY aspect, there's a health one to consider. Both of my parents have had heart attacks (my mother died) and with genes like that, I want to make sure my body is in the best position possible to deal with whatever health issues crop up in the future. Plainly put, if I continue on the way I am, its more than a little likely I'll end up dead at 55 like my mother.

So for me, the whole weight thing boils down to three points:

1. I want to be attractive for my husband. Though I'm absolutely certain he loves me for me, I still want to look pretty for him.

2. I want to lose weight for asthetic reasons (yes, I'm woman enough to admit it! LOL)

3. I want to lose weight for health reasons.

Cheers,
Lizzie
http://lizzieshome.blogspot.com/

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