Who can find a virtuous wife?
"For her worth is far above rubies." Proverbs 31:10
Staying at home these past few days, I have begun to realize a few things. 1) It's super hard to stick to a schedule when you have an 11 month old who's attention span is about as long as his pinkie. 2) You don't really get as much done in a day as you thought you were going to. 3) Not having 14 babies screaming in your ear is one of the greatest gifts of God. 4) My home was suffering when I was at work. I'll expound on that last point. It's been very hard to realize and deal with.
It's rather easy to start comparing your existence as a stay at home mom with your prior existence of working mom. You know what, scratch that. It's rather easy to start comparing your existence as a mother and wife staying at home with your prior existence of being a working mother and working wife. It's VERY important that I realized I was not just a working mother. I was a working wife also.
So compare I did.
I noticed with a wince that even though my son was in the same building as me when I was working, and that I could "check" on him whenever I wanted, I was still leaving the huge responsibility of nurturing and rearing my precious son to ladies who had 10 other screaming babies to take care of. He was never neglected, he was never hurt or ill taken care of. I realized how greatly I had been failing, YES, failing, as a mother when I was working. I was impatient when I had him. I was tired from taking care of 14 other children, and I did not want to handle one more at the end of a 9 hour day. I never read to him, rarely prayed with him, only occasionally played with him, and did not take a meaningful interest in his development as a child or person. I didn't have time. It may be different for others out there, but for me, this is how it was. And I did not realize how horribly neglectful I was being until I was able to to do all these things with him, all these things I had been longing to do but didn't have the time or patience before to do.
I noticed how our house was not a home. It was a set of rooms we came to at the end of the day and slept in, then left the next morning. It wasn't being LIVED in. The chores would pile up then I would work myself to death on the weekends, doing my wifely duty, and the house would be clean for all of 2 days. I realized how the atmosphere of our home completely changed. Literally in 1 day. Not because it was perfectly clean, it still isn't, but because of what a blessing it is to have family at home more often then away, and how a home is meant for life to be lived in. I see the value in the mundane household tasks. Or at least I'm starting to. I desire to spend time now doing laundry so that my family has clean clothes to choose from daily. I desire to make sure the kitchen is clean, so that bugs are not attracted to our home and so that my husband doesn't feel burdened after a long day at work. I desire to pick up the living room before Trevor comes home, so that we can relax together and focus on each other, rather then on the mess around us.
And one of the hardest things I think I've noticed, is how I have been lacking as a wife. I will be the first to step up and say that working was taking my eyes off the main priorities of life and focusing them on myself. I am a selfish person who demands unconditional love and deals out love conditionally. I have formed an attitude of deservedness. "Your service and perfection on a silver platter please, oh and don't forget to do this and that." Disgusting. Dishonoring to God and my husband. I was seeking pity from everywhere and everyone and was wallowing in my own woe-is-me attitude. I was holding the bar for my husband so high above his head that Paul in the Bible would have shaken his head in disgust and written me my own epistle. The crazy cycle almost never ended. I constantly felt unloved and was constantly dishing out disrespect. Of course I didn't label it as disrespect, but what I felt Trevor needed to hear to change his actions and start being the husband he should be. Obviously I have a lot to learn.
It really hit me hard when I realized that Trevor would rather be at work and at school, where he was succeeding and being praised and promoted, than at his home, where he felt like a failure and a disappointment to the people who mattered the most to him in the world. When I realized this, my world crumbled. "But, but...I have been working on being a respectful wife! I am reading 3 books a day on being a respectful wife and telling Trevor how wonderful he is doing at work and school. I'm trying I'm trying!" How deeply I feel the realization of what my words and actions have been doing to my husband. When I was working, it was easy to blame it on tiredness and overwork. Easy and wrong. It's a seed that has been planted in my heart, that has rooted and sprung up into anger and frustration. The seed of bitterness. Unforgiving when I should forgive. Holding on tightly to my right to be angry. Feeling entitled to justice and taking that justice into my own hands.
As a young wife who never grew up with a godly woman to role model a Christian godly marriage and how a godly wife lives, I am laying down my pride and yielding to the only One who is able to make this change in me. I'm tired of trying to change myself. I'm tired of trying to to change Trevor. My heart is going to need some major reconstruction that only the Holy Spirit is capable of.
But praise the Lord for wisdom and the insight into these problems. I feel blessed to be aware of these issues now and not 15 years down the road when some marriages fall apart because this has been going on for too long.
Please, I seek your prayers. Trevor and I are still struggling to know where to go from here. We know what's wrong, but what now? Thank you for reading this.
And remember, this is how God is speaking to MY heart and life, and these ideas about staying at home and working are not necessarily true for every woman. But please, take stock of your first 3 priorities if you are a working woman, (and if you are stay at home woman too!)
- Is your relationship with the Lord one of quietness and peace, courage and trust, where you are able to get away by yourself daily and spend time with the Lover of your soul? This is vital to your spiritual growth.
- Is your relationship with your husband one of mutual trust, unconditional respect and love, and are you yielding to the Holy Spirit's work to change YOU instead of YOU changing your husband? Is your marriage defined by unity and godliness, and are you seeking your husband's good all the time?
- Is your relationship with your child or children really your third priority? Are you daily taking the responsibility of raising your child into your own hands, and are you doing it with patience, understanding and unconditional love? Are you determined to see him/her grow up knowing you love the Lord and knowing what it is to live by Christian standards and principles in every area of life?
Blessings on your marriages and your families. May God's truth and spirit continue to shape you into the godly woman He desires you to be!