And so, I finally started writing out the post for “my determination for myself as a wife.” But guess what?! It is not something that I have meditated on at great length. That is, I aspire to be outstanding for God, and to always demonstrate excellent Christlike character. I also of course aspire to excel in all of the many different things I have written about at length on this blog (and I almost kinda take it for granted that I will excel – I know that’s a bad thing): commitment to my husband, communication with him, character (again!), persevering…however, to bring them all together in my mind into a cohesive understanding of and focus upon myself, as a wife – I’ve never done that! I guess the reason for this is because, pragmatically speaking, I’ve been dreaming of marriage, not of myself! Within that, I have been asking myself what it would take for my marriage to achieve these dreamy heights, and then I’ve been mentally contrasting that with what many people actually say that they experience in marriage.
This might sound a little implausible – however in the same way that I have not been dreaming about myself, I have not been dreaming about the man himself specifically either! Rather I have been thinking about hugs, and more about the atmosphere in the marriage.
I guess in talking about who I want to be as a wife I could simply just take all the characteristics I have already defined for my husband, and talk about how I plan to excel in all these characteristics as well. And I do plan to excel, I absolutely do. I guess that if I were to really stretch this then I could possibly introduce simple metrics for myself, to discuss how I know that I am improving in communication etc. No-one else needs to know about these metrics, ever – not even Huggie-Wuggie himself. Alternatively I could develop a prayer/Bible schedule for myself, to identify the areas in my life and character that need most work, and to systematically deal with them before God, and to also identify and practise outstanding behaviours in all the necessary characteristics.
While those would be good and necessary, as I write this, I now realise that it is probably a huge oversight, and highly complacent, that I have failed to sit down and specifically, deliberately spend time imagining myself as a wife. This is something that I need to do as a priority. For me I often need to visualise goals and dreams and then use these as a roadmap to see things realised; often to believe that something can or should happen, I have to see it first!
Something else that I am learning as I am writing this is the importance of being able to see things or meditate on them until they are so real in my mind. This is the kind of thing I would usually do automatically anyway – but now seeing that this is the way my mind works, then I can plan to do it systematically. An application for this could be as follows:
Once a month, set a little time aside to dream of small, funny ways I could show love to my husband – and ideally tease him a little at the same time! Imagine his face as he discovers, giggle a little to myself on thinking how funny it would be – then set about doing it!
I talk about being outstanding, but that is never about competing with other people, or trying to compare my marriage to anyone else’s. Rather, dreaming about what the very best could look like in this characteristic or that one excites me and stimulates me. Moreover, I know that there is abundant space in God’s kingdom for us all to be outstanding and for everyone to have superlative marriages, in ways that are relevant and true to the unique personalities that God has given us. For instance, in any garden, just because one flower is stupendously gorgeous does not in any way stop its neighbour from also being being breathtakingly beautiful. Each flower confidently does its own thing, without needing to be threatened by the excellence of its neighbour. And then taken altogether, with each flower glorious (and secure) in its own beauty, they form a magnificent garden. And that is how it should be in the kingdom of God and with every aspect of God’s children. We are each called to be outstandingly beautiful and to excel, and that is as true of our marriages as anything else.
Off the top of my head then, these are areas that I could focus on to think about/imagine myself: and then hopefully pulling these ideas together would give me a strong vision for how I could proceed in wifeliness: (in an obvious way it is a lot easier to sit around and “imagine” when you know who you will marry, and you already have a fair idea of how he would behave in different circumstances…)
Loving this man:
What would loving this man look like in its utmost expression? What would be the biggest challenges to this – one offs, or on an ongoing basis?
How can I care for him, and how can I show him that I care for him? What does he specifically ask for? What does he not ask for, but I can deduce etc that he wants, likes, or would appreciate? How can I actively cultivate this imagination?
How can I communicate to him on a daily basis that he is the most important person in my life, after God? How can I make him feel honoured, respected, adored, admired?
How could I learn to communicate in a way that is relevant not only for my own inclinations, but also for my husband himself? I am a writer. That is my preferred mode of communication. But how could I learn to mould myself/shape myself to whatever he prefers or finds easiest. What if he prefers talking? What if he is not really a communicator but rather establishes closeness through togetherness?
How could I enhance my commitment to him and all that he is? How could I practise being committed not just to who he is today, but to whoever he might develop into tomorrow – and how do I communicate to him that I will always be committed to him, no matter what? How could I (prayerfully) build a sense of security into the marriage so that my husband always knows that no matter what, by God’s grace, as long as I am alive on earth, I will be there for him, and I am not going to turn my back on the marriage – either explicitly, through divorce, or subtly, through growing cold towards him?
What would phenomenal character look like – not just from one person to another, but specifically from a wife to a husband? I guess it would make sense to subdivide all the different aspects of character at this time…
What does “wifely” integrity look like? What does “wifely” honestly look like? “Wifely” accountability? Dependability? Discipline? The big one – (gulp!) Submission?!!!
I’ve only had a look at a few issues here. However it is something that I really need to invest myself into thinking about. And then, perhaps I could draw it all together as follows:
– What would a typical day in our life look like? From waking up, to going to sleep
– If deliberately spending time together perhaps to talk, go on a walk, what might that look like?
– What would happen when we have an argument? How might we quickly put the argument behind us to resume “normal service” as quickly as possible?
– The passage of time – how would I ensure that I don’t grow complacent or bored about doing this, as the years go on?
Hmm. Plenty to think about here – but all exciting!