Being married is the best. I love it. It certainly has it’s challenges, but the rewards have been far greater. As I’ve talked with many young women in high school and college about what it means to be a wife, I’ve realized that many young women have never learned or heard about what wife-ing actually entails. I’ve compiled my thoughts on a few aspects of my new wife-ing life: housekeeping, partnering, and hospitality.
I feel the need to address that I’m learning the same as all wives are, whether they’ve been married 50 years or 5 months. I just wanted to share a few things I’ve learned over the past year:
Cooking and Cleaning: Too Old-Fashioned?
Let’s start with the controversial topic: cooking and cleaning. I enjoy cooking and cleaning, I like for people to feel at home when they walk into my apartment. I like it to be neat, clean and homey for any guest at any time. Timmy helps me clean, but I do the majority of it simply because I care more about the appearance of my house (and Timmy just doesn’t see ‘dirty’ the same way I do).
Not every woman likes to cook and clean and that’s ok. The point is to be intentional in serving one another. I show my love for Timmy by having a meal ready for him when he gets home from work. I usually get home before him, but if he gets home first, sometimes he cooks a meal for me. Sitting together while we eat meals is important to maintain our relationship and talk about our days.
We try to keep a clean house so that we can serve people who come over. No one likes coming into a nasty home. The lost art of wife-ing has forgotten that a clean house helps hospitality flourish. It’s not old-fashioned, it’s just part of being a wife (not exclusively, like I said earlier).
Partnering: Sacrifice Required?!
I like to nurture, encourage, and support Timmy in any way I can. I want him to pursue a career that he enjoys doing. That does mean that I would leave my job and move across the country with him. We just did: we moved from San Francisco to Chicago right when my job was going really well. It was worth it for my husband. Being a wife requires a great amount of sacrifice and putting my husband above my own wishes. I often fail at this and get my own way, but it’s a fight worth fighting. It’s shown me how selfish I really am: Do I want my happiness above his?
When Timmy and I are loving each other well, we’re both trying to put each other’s happiness above our own by serving one another. This makes us both more happy than if we tried making ourselves happy! That’s one of the biggest problems with the lost art of wife-ing: women are convinced that they need to make themselves happy before caring for their spouse. How can a love thrive on two selfish people? Timmy and I only argue when we’re both being more self-centered than self-giving.
Hospitality: Too Much Work?
One of the greatest lost arts of wife-ing is that we have forgotten to be inviting. It’s easy to want to just cuddle together and forget the world. We certainly should just spend alone time with our spouse, but if we don’t open our home and have people over, then we’ve forgotten the importance of community. Timmy really balances me out on this one because I’d prefer a weekend alone with him, while he loves to be around people all the time. We’re still figuring out what the balance should be between friends, family, and each other, but we’re trying to learn the art of hospitality and keep our home open to people.
The Art of Wife-ing
This is a beautiful art: not one to be ashamed of. It requires hard work, sacrifice, and communication just like anything worthwhile does. I have found that if I focus on Christ, it comes naturally, but if I focus on myself I often fail at wife-ing and find myself drowning in my own self-pity. Regardless of if you are a Christian or not, the art of wife-ing is important and becoming endangered. This is due to the tendency to put myself above all else. Although it is masked as leading to self-fulfillment, it really leads to divorce, broken relationships, and more unhappiness. True happiness follows when I put myself last.
When I serve my husband and other people, I find that being a wife is beautiful. I love being a 23 year old wife. I love my husband. I fail often, but I will spend the rest of my life learning the art of wife-ing and trying to be more like Jesus Christ, who is my example of how to be a wife, and Timmy’s example of how to be a husband.