Most of us have given thought, and perhaps even have high ideals, of what makes a good wife. I know I thought about it often in the days before my marriage, for I wanted to be not only a good wife, but the best wife, by God’s grace, I could be. I did not expect perfection (I knew myself too well), but I certainly thought that at the very least, my husband would come home to a fairly neat and clean home each night, with dishes washed, dinner prepared, and a smiling wife, smelling of rose oil and hair shining. Little did I think that six months into our marriage, I would fail all of my expectations.

I did not expect that my husband would come home to a mess of clothes, dirty dishes, and papers. And a bathroom that hadn’t been cleaned in longer than I care to remember. I did not expect that dinner would be that last thing on my mind, or that I would be lying on the couch in my nightgown, hair unbrushed, sipping water out of a spotted glass. Had I never heard of morning sickness? Yes, I suppose, but I didn’t think it would ever happen to me. At least, not to this degree.

Some days I do feel well enough to actually get dressed, do the dishes, and at least attempt to plan dinner. But I cannot help but sigh, as that vision of a good wife, the best wife, slowly fades into the distance.

But there is one more thing that I did not expect: a husband so understanding, so loving, and so kind, that after a long day of work he comes home happy to see me, telling me that I am beautiful–even when I look green and bedraggled. A husband who does everything in his power to ease my discomfort and keep our home running smoothly. Who tells me every night that I am the most wonderful wife, when all I can do is smile weakly and kiss him from my reclining position. I am deeply humbled, and reminded daily: is this not our position in Christ?

I may have failed all my expectations, but I have learned some things about being a good wife, too. She is not the one who can do everything she dreamed of perfectly. She does not always have the cleanest house, or the most nutritious suppers laid out every night. She does not even always get dressed. But she does rejoice in whatever circumstance she finds herself in, she does continue to praise her God when things don’t go her way, and she does love her husband with her whole heart, even when her ability to show him through works has been diminished.

Oh, and the morning sickness? Knowing we will be able to see and hold our little blessing in a few short months makes it completely worth it.

I may have failed all my expectations of being a good wife...

16 Comments

  1. I remember reading this when it first came out and keeping it as a mental note. Now I’m in the same boat! Guess whose husband now does all the cooking because his wife can’t even open the refrigerator without being sick? Guess whose 1-rm apartment hasn’t been cleaned in 3 months? Can you say dust bunnies? Sleeping among saltines crumbs?

    But in reality it is not that bad and if anything it makes you appreciate your husband so much more seeing that he is capable of and willing to take care of you! Yes, I may still have delusions of meeting the perfect wife expectations once the pregnancy is over…ha! Oh well, there will be blessings there, too.

  2. Congratulations on your little one on-the-way…the morning sickness will be a distant thought when you’re holding that sweetie in your arms (I speak frome experience – LOTS of sickly experience, LOL!). I just found your site and really enjoy it. God bless!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Elizabeth:

    I really enjoyed your post about what a good wife constitutes, always in my mind i always thought the same, that a good and prudent and best wife will keep the cbildren happy, will keep the house clean and do the laundry and dishes and sometimes work part-time depending on the case, but you brought so many things to light you opened my eyes and you made me see that a clean house and a spotless home doesn’t constitute a happy marriage. Quite the contrary i bet it could be!

    You are blessed with a wonderful husband ๐Ÿ™‚
    Congrats on the baby on the way!
    that’s so precious ๐Ÿ™‚

    I also read your blog and enjoyed it immensely it was like a breath of fresh air ๐Ÿ™‚ such purity which you have is very hard to find.:)

    that’s why i always enjoy your articles on ylcf! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Keep up the good work of being a wonderful mother and a good wife!
    God Bless you and keep you! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Jane.

  4. Elizabeth~ What a necessary article to write! I would have to admit I’m one of those gals who said *I* would never be like that! Thank you for the reminder from someone who has been there and experienced it. On the baby note, click on over to (http://annehammond.blogspot.com/2006/06/blue-blue-blue.html, if you have time. My friend had some unexpected complications happen with her baby’s birth, but God is so good and directs all things. I’m sure my friend didn’t think it would ever happen to her and that she would find herself it that situation. Thanks again for a great post!

  5. I’ll be looking forward to reading it…thanks, Elizabeth!

  6. Elizabeth J says:

    Thank you all for your sweet comments and congratulations! Just so you all know, I wrote that during my first trimester, and I am feeling much better now, praise God! Still not up to my standards in housekeeping ;), but my love of cooking healthy meals for my husband has returned.

    Jessica and Shelley,
    I did write a piece that begins to address your questions (it is such a vast topic, though, that I don’t think one article can do it justice), and Natalie will post it sometime in the near future. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for your patience…

  7. ShelleyMariee says:

    P.s. a big congratulations to you both, too!! How exciting:-)

  8. ShelleyMariee says:

    Thank you, Elizabeth, for sharing your thoughts! How good it is to be reminded that while we should aspire, we also have to be flexible in reality:-) This was really good for me to read.

    Ditto, by the way, to Jessica’s question- I’ve been wondering those things, too, so I’d be interested to hear any more thoughts on that topic! ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. This was so good, Elizabeth! I can totally relate. When morning sickness hit, all my grand intentions went out the window. How wonderful that our husbands are so long-suffering and that God doesn’t judge us based upon our dirty laundry piles or unkempt appearance.

    Blessings to you and your husband in this new and wonderful season of your life. I promise the sickness and messy house will be worth it when you hold your precious child in your arms.

  10. Thanks for the dose of reality, Elizabeth! I too am one of those “oh, I’ll be different” girls…but I have no idea what the Lord has in store!

    Awhile ago, in response to the “On a Pedastal” post, I think I remember you, Lanier and couple other married women commenting that your husbands didn’t exactly meet your previously-set “expectations”, but you know now that they are perfect for you. Were you or Lanier planning on writing more and expounding on that? It’s something I’ve oftened struggled with and wondered about…what on my “list” is negotiable and what I should hold on to…? Any advice from you married women would be wonderful…thank you!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Ditto to Katie! So true! Still, while we are single, we believe we will rise to all our expectations… and then life happens.

  12. Elizabeth, your husband sounds like a real keeper. ๐Ÿ™‚ Congratulations on the baby.

  13. Thanks for the entry, Elizabeth. Congratulations on your baby!!

  14. Congratulations to you and your husband! That’s wonderful about the baby. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you for the reminder…it’s so easy to, as Katie said get the “Oh, but I’ll be able to carry on through it all. I’ll be different” kind of outlook, and so it’s good to be reminded that we live in reality…and sometimes having a perfect house with perfect meals really isn’t what defines a wonderful wife.

    ~Brianna

  15. Elizabeth, you are so right on! Dealing with my own un-met expectations as a wife, 6 months into my pregnancy, I can totally relate! It has been a lesson in humility, and the grace to accept the help I needed from whoever was there to offer it. Thank you for the encouragement that we can still be a loving wives, glorifyig Christ, no matter how much time we spend on the couch. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Trina

  16. Thank you, Elizabeth, for reminding us of the true definition of a good wife. I have to admit that I am one of those who thinks, “but, oh, I’ll be different!! When _I’m_ married, everything will be perfect!” It’s good to have reminder of reality… Thank you! Oh, and congratulations!! ๐Ÿ™‚

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