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Being a Good Wife Is Not Part of My “Job”

The other day, I happened to read this post on Scissortail Silk from a very popular blogger. And while I actually enjoy this particular blog and admire her writing, her post brought up some interesting feelings for me.

Because if I’ve seen one blog post like hers, I’ve seen a thousand, and they all seem to have the same sentiment:

That for married women, being a good wife is somehow part of our “jobs.”

You know, the sentiments that go along the lines of, “I’m a wife and and a mommy and that’s enough!“? It’s an identity, a label, a way of how we define ourselves — as married women in the world, as if investing in and caring for our marriage is a full-time job in and of itself.

And I’m just not so sure that I agree with that.

Image via j&j brusie photography

Image via j&j brusie photography

Now, don’t get me wrong. I know that marriage is hard work;  with three young children and a fourth on the way, two careers, and not a lot of free time, trust me, I know. Just this weekend, in fact, I begged my husband for a much-needed date night, realizing that we desperately needed a chance to re-connect, if only for a few brief kid-free moments watching a Netflix documentary on Steve Jobs. (Holy hot date, huh?)

So while I recognizing that marriage is very definitely work, I also don’t see myself, as the wife, the one who needs to put the hours into make our marriage sustainable. I identify myself as a mother, but it’s not my entire identity, just as I identify myself as a wife, but don’t feel the need to proclaim myself a “full-time wife and mommy.”

Instead, I see those parts of myself simply as that — parts of myself, not quite the whole picture and certainly not something that can capture who I am entirely.

Especially in the “online mommy” world, there is so much emphasis on encouraging women to be committed wives, mothers bordering on martyrs, that it seems to place an enormous load on a woman’s shoulders. Well no wonder we’re always tired, the online world validates us, we’ve got the house, the kids, and a husband to look after!  

Call me crazy, but I just don’t want to think of “caring” for my husband as one more thing I have to do — yet another check on the endless to-do list that seems to be motherhood these days. I don’t want to feel guilty that in this time in our lives, date night looks like Netflix after the kids are in bed. I don’t want to feel badly if I forget to make my husband’s lunch one day or silently fume if he forgets my birthday present.

Life and marriage go through ups and downs, seasons of busy and seasons of slow. Right now, we are in the busy, and I just hope and pray that my marriage doesn’t become another task for me to tackle. Through it all, the baby that will be here in less than three months (who’s counting, really?), the school years hitting us full force, the inevitable crankiness that will be this momma without sleep, I want my marriage to uphold me, uplift me, and be a source of support.

Not a chore. 

Because it may be a little tired, a little tarnished, heck, even a little tattered right now — but my marriage is still there.

And I want it to stay that way.

Not through my merits as a good little wife, but in our love, support, and mutual respect for each other. I want a marriage that revitalizes and recharges us, is forgiving on the days we don’t have anything left, and one that is invested in equally.

I’m sure my husband doesn’t go about his day wondering if he is doing enough as a husband or writing blog posts about needing more time to care for his wife; he knows that our marriage is not part of his “job,” but a part of what makes him a stronger, better man and partner.

And if I can see our marriage in the same light — as a union that we both invest in, find support in, and love from without keeping track or score — a relationship that can make me a better, stronger woman and partner?

Well that sounds like a much nicer job title, don’t you think?

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