I was trying really hard to be a good wife.
A wife that is pretty enough.
This wasn’t because of pressure from my husband. No, this was all coming from a sense that I have to make myself worthy to be a wife.
I struggle with this. And maybe you do too.
I desperately struggle to realize that my worth isn’t rooted in what I do, but rather it’s found in who I am. And this struggle? It was pouring into the sweet places of my marriage.
My husband would say, “You look pretty today.” And I’d think, Not pretty enough.
Or he would tell me that dinner was delicious and thanks for working so hard on it. And I’d tell him, I’m glad but it’s not how the recipe said it should be.
You see what I mean here? My feelings of unworthiness were spilling into the parts of my marriage that were previously so sweet, so sacred.
And so I quit.
I quit trying to be a good wife. I quit trying to be enough. I quit setting standards that were way too high and I. just. quit.
I realized one day – through the sovereignty of God and the sweet words of my man – that nothing I ever do will be enough. On my own, I cannot be a good wife.
I must rely on the saving power of Jesus in me to make me worthy.
Friends, the freedom that came from this is huge. Exponential even. Sure, I have responsibilities and duties. I still must clean our house and cook dinner and love my sweet man as best I know how.
But instead of relying on my own efforts to do this, I lean deeply into the arms of Jesus. I step away from myself and my own efforts.
I learn to rely on something greater than me.
Can I encourage you to quit trying to be a good wife, too?
When I say that, I don’t mean that you should stop trying, stop loving, stop being a wife at all. I say that because you will never be good enough on your own. So, quit trying to do it on your own.
If you want to quit being a good wife – making those feeble attempts to become good enough – I suggest you do these three things.
1) Talk to your husband about your feelings of unworthiness.
This is hard. I know, because I did it. It turned into one of those I-can’t-stop-crying-and-my-words-aren’t-making-much-sense kind of conversations. But the impact it made on our marriage?
My husband got it. He understood why I couldn’t accept a compliment. He understood why I didn’t give myself the grace to sleep in. He understood why I was constantly doing and couldn’t sit down for more than five minutes. He understood.
And because he understood, he encouraged. He gently warned me when I wasn’t living out of grace, but out of duty instead. And he now frequently reminds me that I will never be good enough – which is annoying sometimes, yes, but also incredibly freeing.
Maybe your husband doesn’t listen to hardships like this. Maybe he’s not the type to encourage you in grace. Dear wife, tell him anyway. And then also tell your most trusted friend. The two of you can pray together about this whole I’m-not-enough situation. And prayerfully, maybe your husband will begin seeing the freedom in you and will encourage your heart.
2) Quit setting standards for yourself.
Yep, I did this too and it hurt. It’s incredibly hard to step away from standards when you’re used to living by self-made expectations. You know what I’m talking about. Things like making a to-do list and feeling lazy if everything wasn’t completed by dinnertime. Or planning to keep your cool and love your husband well, only to feel like a frustrated failure when the going gets tough.
Standards kill grace. And can I just go on the record and say that standards will kill your marriage, too?
Expectations. Standards. The two words are interchangeable. You must let go of expectations and live from a sense of grace & freedom.
Here’s what I’m not saying. I’m not saying that you don’t have a job a do, mouths to feed, a home to care for, a spouse to love, etc. You do. You are called to be a servant and to care for your family in love.
But what I am saying is that these jobs are not to be done without grace. If dinner turns out to be delivered pizza, hey, dinner accomplished. And if you’re struggling to love your spouse well, run first to Jesus for guidance and help. That’s a baby step. It’s grace.
3) Remember your true purpose.
Your purpose was never to be a good-enough wife. Your purpose was never to be the prettiest wife, the smartest wife, and most organized wife.
Your purpose is to live as a child of God, fully relying on His power to live as a witness for His kingdom. Your purpose is to be a helpful and submissive wife that lives in the freedom of grace. And your purpose is to be daily washed by the blood of Christ – not doing, but being.
Hey wife, there isn’t any requirement to do. There’s just a requirement to be. Be made new. Be helpful. Be loving. Be washed by the blood. Be enough in the name of Christ.
Remember that your purpose is to be, and give up the feeble attempts to do.
It’s all easier said than done, I know. I know because I’m walking this journey right now with you. There are days when I’d rather give in and try to earn the title of “Good Wife”. But the reality is that the title means nothing if I’m not living in grace and pointing my husband to grace.
Quit trying to be the good wife. Rather, be the wife that recognizes her weaknesses, admits them with grace, and relies on the Father for all of her worthiness.
We’re in this one together.
How do you find your worth as a wife? Are you living out of grace?
This post originally appeared at Life of Scoop.