To be or not to be…
We all have our ideas of what our spouse is supposed to be like. As women, we have a whole scenario in our minds before we ever meet our husbands.
- his looks
- his physique
- his spiritual life
- his doting on us
- his romantic side
Then when we find someone we fall in love with, we have to come to terms with whether we’ve truly fallen in love with the man we want to marry or whether it was just in love with the ideal in our heads. Hopefully we get this question settled long before we make our vows, otherwise we are in for a long and disappointing marriage.
But we are not alone! Our husbands have their list of Perfect Wife in their minds before we meet as well. Now I cannot speak to husbands to help them surrender their image of the ideal wife, but I can talk to wives who struggle with constantly disappointing their husbands. The question is: Are we supposed to change to become who our husbands want us to be? Is this what God calls us to in submission?
For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them. Ps 139:13-16
God had a unique and divine plan for you life. Specific to YOU.
- He created your looks and your personality.
- He planned for your talents and special skills.
- He even prepared spiritual gifts to make you essential to the body of Christ.
God’s design for you was planned before the foundations of the world! He expressed Himself through you as uniquely as through a snowflake: there is no one else quite like you in design. You are His masterpiece of YOU.
Please know that I understand that this YOU is created as part of our fallen world, and this perfect design is corrupted because of the fall. Your unregenerate self is sinful, fallen, broken, unworthy to stand before the Living and Perfect God.
But in stepped Jesus and changed all of that!!
Jesus redeemed you, He purchased you back, He allowed you to die and be raised up into newness of life. You are now born again to a living hope, as alive to God.
Throughout all of this scenario, does God need help to perfect you?
A number of years ago my husband found himself very irritated with me on a regular basis. He couldn’t quite figure out why until the Lord showed him. He was irritated because I was not HIM. I thought differently, spoke differently, acted differently, responded differently. In short, I was different. But the Lord showed him that He didn’t give Kevin a carbon copy of himself, He gave Kevin a complement to himself!
It was eye-opening to him that God’s choice for a mate, and the unique (albeit odd) personality I had was actually what Kevin needed. He didn’t need the fantasy woman in his head!
Now, of course, there is give-and-take in every marriage. I defer to Kevin’s desires and he defers to mine (usually depending on which of us has the greatest concern). We need to be honest and willing to meet the other’s needs. If either one of us puts ourselves above the other, it won’t work. Humility and sacrifice must be at the heart of our marriage, with surrender to the Lord as the hub around which all the spokes our personalities revolve.
But this all comes back to the understanding that we dishonor the Lord when we begin to be conformed, not to the image of Jesus, but to the image of who our husbands want us to be. When we deny our own personality, gifts, strengths, desires, concerns, vision – in short, we deny God’s design of us!
Do you feel you are hiding yourself from your husband?
… but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another… 1 John 1:7a
The only way we can have true fellowship in Jesus with our husbands is to reveal our TRUE selves to them.
- no more pretending
- no more hiding
- no more appeasing
We are a design from God. When we begin to walk in the reality of who we are, we begin to honor God. And we begin to be the woman our husband NEEDS, regardless of what he wants. This is where we need to trust who God created us to be!
We may find ourselves having lots of discussions. We need to begin to honestly share that we have been acting like someone else. We need to work through the ways we’ve been acting a part. This is not going to be easy, and we may find that talking these things through together with a counselor helps us work through this.
But it is imperative to understand that we are not doing a service to our husbands by letting them control who we are supposed to be. Only God is to have that control in our lives. Anything else is idolatry. We are called to walk side-by-side in honor and respect with our husbands. Being a helpmate doesn’t mean being their fantasy. Being a helpmate means being the best that God has designed us to be!
Are there ways you are hiding from your husband who you are to try and make him happy? How is God calling you to walk in the fulness of His creation of you?
Oh, thank you for this! I have had this struggle for years. I WANT my husband to like me, but I’m not who he wants me to be. We have had lots of conversations about this, and he always says that he is fine with me being different, and that different is good. But if I make a choice that he doesn’t like, he gets so irritated. He has returned all of the last 5 gifts I have given to him. He gets annoyed when I choose to do something that he wouldn’t have done. He has gone so far as to ‘teach me a lesson’ when he feels that my choices are wrong. I have tried so hard to be who he wants, but I am not perfect. He jokes occasionally that I make him 85% happy, and that’s as happy as he can get. I just don’t know what to do. Who I am in Christ is annoying to my husband. How do you honor someone who wishes you were just different…
Tyna, I wanted to let you know that I haven’t forgotten you. I am praying for wisdom. I don’t know you or your husband or your relationship, but God does. I’ll reply soon.
Thank you, Kate, for this thought-provoking post but I believe once we marry, God’s best design for us is becoming one with the man He gave us. Scripture calls us wives to conform and adapt ourselves to our husband’s. (like Christ to the Father or the Church to Christ). I’m not saying this is easy, because it isn’t.
We all need to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ Jesus. Husbands, as well as, wives. Marriage is a testing ground for this.
And although God has made each of us unique, we wives need to be careful not to use our personality differences as an excuse not to follow our husband’s lead or to not grow as our husband’s help meet. I know. I’ve struggled with this for many of my married years.
But we serve a just and merciful God who promised peace to those who faithfully abide in our calling.
Thank you, again, Kate. I hope all is well for you.
Thanks for your thoughts, Gleniece! I completely agree that we are called to recognize our husband’s headship in the home and to be his helpmeet; that we are called to submit to that headship.
And you are absolutely right that wives are called to adapt to their husbands. God has given them as the head and they set the agenda for where the family goes, providing the vision and the focus. And it is POSITIVELY our job to adapt to that! In fact, we (as helpmates) are then able to help carry out his agenda. But notice that God gave ME (not Betty down the street or Sally at the market) to be a helpmate to my husband. He gave me, with all of the unique attributes, strengths, talents (yes, and even weaknesses) to help my husband be the best head of our family that he can be. I do this by bringing WHAT GOD HAS CREATED ME TO BE into this union. I adapt according to who I am. I don’t adapt to my husband by trying to become some fantasy female my husband has in his mind. I don’t turn into a Steppford Wife. I stay Kate and I take all of my Kate-ness 😀 into the sacrificial service to my husband’s agenda and vision for our home.
You really hit the nail on the head when you said, “But we serve a just and merciful God who promised peace to those who faithfully abide in our calling.” True, True, True! And His justice and mercy is lived out in us when we honor our Lord’s design of being the best helpmate that GOD has created us to be. Scripture calls us to be TRANSFORMED. That transformation is to the image of the Son, NOT a transformation to the image our husbands have for us. We can most certainly submit to his headship while still walking faithfully in the image of Jesus in our lives. And without denying the unique creation God has given to our husbands IN US. .
I have seen all too often in recent years, husbands who are emotionally and/or verbally abusive to their wives. Husbands who are as far from nourishing and cherishing as they could be. I am writing to the woman who spends so much of her emotional energy trying to be exactly what her husband wants her to be that she has no idea who she really is anymore. She is constantly stressed and anxious, she feels every day that she is living a lie because she can never be truly who GOD has created her to be – because it isn’t what her husband wants in a wife.
I hope this makes sense. I really agree with much of what you share, but I also see how God shows us balance and a deeper view and how His design of us is from the foundation of the world and something powerful for us to embrace and not be ashamed of.
Thanks, dear Kate, for the extra clarification. You are a gem. 🙂
Thanks, Kate for reminding me of these truths?
I love the wisdom of this post, Kate! Thanks so much for sharing this important perspective. We need to attempt to live lives that honor both God and our husbands. May He give us the strength and wisdom to do just that!
Blessings to you and yours.