When I was first told about the idea for “Holy Hen House” and then asked if I would be interested in being a writer for such a wonderful project, I was delighted, although admittedly a bit apprehensive. What if I couldn’t think of anything to write that other people would actually want to read on a weekly basis? What if God couldn’t use me to help bring encouragement (or at least a smile) to someone else's walk with Him? Soon, after much prayerful consideration, I committed. After all, I told myself, I love to write. And who doesn’t love to talk about their kids?
But wait. Since when did my life become just about my kids? When did my primary identity begin to reside in my title as “Mom”?
As we have now passed the official “one month” mark of our collaboration blog, I look back on my past five posts (yes, January is one long month!) and realize that much of their content revolves around my daughters. While I find this somewhat understandable ---- considering they pretty much do consume my every waking moment at home and are the loudest voices I hear when they are in dire need of something they do not at that very moment possess -- I’m challenging myself to focus on something different this month in my posts: marriage. After all, it is the month of February. (And if you happen to be single and a follower of this blog, don’t fret – there may just be something for you in here, too. If not, I’ve got a special post for you coming up during the month of March!)
Why is it that writing about my journey as a fumbling, overwhelmed, stressed-out mother is easier to talk or write about than the trouble I sometimes have becoming a godly wife? Why do I find myself more likely to open up about how I failed my children one afternoon last week when I lost my patience during lunchtime but wouldn’t dare bring up the fact that I bit my husband’s head off for asking a completely innocent question about the plans for the day last weekend? Why can one find numerous weekly meeting “support groups” for mothers yet one for learning how to become a better wife is unheard of? For some reason, it seems to be more acceptable to make silly mistakes or find yourself at your wit’s end as a relatively new parent because, after all, everyone needs to learn sometime, right? And mistakes in parenting are to be expected -- even encouraged -- to help build wisdom.
However, after nearly four-and-a-half years as a wife, I would argue to say that the same is true when “learning” how to do be a good marriage partner.
I remember when I first met my husband and I could barely concentrate on anything else. In contrast to a previous relationship I had experienced, this one just felt “right”: He shared my faith. He understood me and made me laugh like no one else I had ever met. When we were apart, I could barely contain my excitement while thinking about the next time I would see him. Now there are days I find it too much of an inconvenience to even begin to tell him the thoughts that I ache for him to understand. So often I’m too busy thinking about the next thing I have to do or what the kids are needing that I can’t even find it within myself to laugh at one of his jokes or his re-telling of a story from his own day at work.
When I really look at myself and question “why” this is the way it is, I find lots to blame my behavior on. Such as:
- The kids are so needy at this age – they don’t understand that sometimes they are not always the priority and therefore, I always need to put them first. My husband is an adult. He should be able to take “the backseat” and get over it.
- I’m trying so hard to do so much around the house, I am exhausted. By the time everyone is tucked into bed and it’s just him and me, I have nothing left to give – physically or emotionally.
- He just doesn’t help out enough and therefore, I’m over-stressed. If he were better at reading my mind and knowing what I needed him to do, I would be a more pleasant person to be around.
I truly love my husband. And I have no doubt that we’re both in this for the long-haul and that our marriage will continue to work. However, I’ve realized that I’m simply not okay with our relationship only “working”. I want it to thrive. I want it to be better than just okay, better than fine – I want it to be great.
And I know that the first thing that has to change is my attitude.
Yes, I love my daughters and they are truly one of the greatest blessings that God has ever bestowed upon me. But no where in the Bible does God say that it is permissible for us to love our children more than we love our spouse. I was once reminded of this by a very wise woman whom I have looked up to for many years. She said to me:
Always remember that the most important relationship in your house is that of yours and your husband’s. The example that you set of sacrificial and unending love will be the first and most influential one your children will ever see.
Wow. But no pressure, right?
The Bible is filled with marriage examples – some good, some not so good. However, I think that perhaps the one which most clearly illustrates the importance of marriage is that of the very first couple ever to walk on this earth: Adam and Eve. While re-reading this portion of the Scripture, the following verses caught my attention more so than ever before:
The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’ …Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man and he brought her to the man…For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. ~Genesis 2:18, 22, and 24
No suitable helper for Adam was found prior to God’s creation of Eve. Once God saw this, He didn’t turn around and create a small army of ten children to help Adam out. He created a woman.
I pray that the Lord grants me the strength, wisdom, and patience required to become a suitable helper for my husband – even after a long day.