Years before I met my husband I wrote a piece called, Wife Material. It was going to be a chapter in the book I would write someday. Now that I’ve been married over three years it seems ridiculous to write about how to become wife material, when in fact, one of my biggest lessons from marriage so far is that I’m still trying to learn it myself.
How I’m Still Becoming “Wife Material”
*This post contains affiliate links which means I may make a commission if you use one of my links but it won’t increase the price for you.*
At the time my heart was in the right place though. I was single and sincerely trying to figure out what I could do then to better prepare for marriage. I wanted to be grounded in my faith before trying to combine it with someone else’s; I wanted to fully embrace the woman God wanted me to be and not what culture kept telling me I should be; and I wanted to work on areas in my life that would make me a better wife, even if that meant learning to cook. (Spoiler alert: I’m still working on this one.)
So, on a rare warm November day for Buffalo, I went for a walk on my lunch break to a nearby park. Although I didn’t know it, this was about nine months before I would meet my husband Josh. Many times, I used these walks to tell God what kind of husband I wanted.
This day, however, was different.
Instead of just praying for all the qualities I wanted in a husband (good looking, liked cats, was going to be a pilot, etc) I began to listen to God instead. What I heard was, “You have a pretty detailed list of the type of man you want, but are you the type of woman this guy would want to be with? More importantly, are you becoming the type of woman I want you to be?”
Up until that point I had been relying on the fact that because I was a Christian, had a decent sense of humor, and liked to clean that of course I was wife material. However, I hadn’t given much, if any, thought to if I was becoming the kind of wife God desired I would be. You see, we don’t need to be good looking, dress nicely, cook amazing dinners, or have a high-paying job to be a good wife. While these are good things, more importantly, we need to strive to become the kind of women God wants us to be.
Author and former missionary Elisabeth Elliot wrote a book entitled The Mark of a Man which, although geared toward men, played a significant role in teaching me what it means to be a woman. According to Elliot, men should look for a wife with femininity and faith. And if he can get one with a sense of humor too then he’ll be one lucky guy.
Femininity means so much more than dresses and shoes. For women, it means saying “I am glad God made a woman.”
It also means we understand that we were made from man and for man. God made man first and then made woman from and for him to be a helper. The order of how God made man and woman is two-fold.
1.) First, this means we accept that man is the initiator and leader.
For me, this took the pressure off when I was single. I didn’t need to worry about seeking him out, or asking him to grab a coffee. I knew I needed a guy that would step up to the plate and pursue me because I was WORTH pursuing.
I am so appreciative that Josh was the initiator in our relationship. He pursued me even when commitment terrified me and I kept trying to run away. (Figuratively, not literally. I wore a lot of heels when I first moved to D.C)
I never had to ask him out. He never made me play games to figure out what he was thinking. He was upfront, honest and took charge. For me, knowing the role God gave me in marriage was very freeing.
2.) Secondly, this means women were made to help a man.
Did you read that? We’re not weaker – the man needs HELP! He couldn’t do it all on his own. So, God made women with abilities and talents that the man lacked to help him with the Mission. I once heard a pastor say that women are meant to help men COMPLETE the task, not COMPETE for it. I love that.
Also, God made us equal but with different tasks and strengths to remind us that: in ourselves, we can do NOTHING. (Because we need Christ) and that He purposely made us like two different pieces of a puzzle to represent Christ and the Church.
Of course, now that I am married I won’t lie; it’s not always easy. I’m still figuring out how to be a “wife” in this aspect. Sometimes we butt heads about decisions. And sometimes, I want to take control when it’s something I really care about. But as I strive to become “wife material” I’m learning (huge emphasis on learning) to trust my husband, even when I don’t necessarily agree with him. Even if I think it’s the wrong decision (unless it is not biblical) then we simply learn from it. Otherwise, my trying to take control of everything only disrupts God’s ideal plan for our marriage. We think limitations restrict us when instead, they often free us.
“The woman who accepts the limitations of womanhood finds in those very limitations her gifts, her special calling which bears her up into perfect freedom, into the will of God.” – Elisabeth Elliot, Let Me Be a Woman.
Then there is the matter of faith. I know I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior and place myself under His authority. But is my faith a part of my life, or is it my whole life? Is my relationship with God more important than anything else? When I was single I had to ask myself whether it was more important than whether I even got married or not.
Now that I am married, I have to ask myself if I am making my marriage an idol, making it more important than my relationship with God myself. If yes, they I will always be discontent in my marriage. But if I allow God to take the top spot in my life then I will rely on Him for my happiness instead of placing it all on my marriage.
A Sense of Humor
Lastly, although Elisabeth Elliot didn’t list it as an “essential” she does add in her book that a man should also look for a woman with a sense of humor. Between us, Josh is the funnier one. Just don’t tell him I said that.
The good news is this doesn’t mean we need to be able to tell a joke or make our family laugh on holidays. It really just means we need to be able to laugh at ourselves and not take everything so seriously. Thankfully, sometimes when Josh and I get into an argument one of us will make some sort of joke and help ease the tension.
Becoming the Right Person
Andy Stanley, senior pastor at North Point Community Church in Georgia preached on this subject years ago asking his audience, “Are you who the person you’re looking for, is looking for?”
Basically, he meant instead worrying about how you will find the right person, become the right person.
Our culture is all about embracing our true selves and how we shouldn’t have to change for anybody. And this is true. We are who we are to some extent. We’re introverts and extroverts. We are morning people and night owls. We are artistic and we are calculated. But that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about taking a good hard look at ourselves and deciding there are areas in our life we’d like to grow, change or just plain get rid of.
So, yes, this might mean learning to cook, putting a little more effort into our appearance, or even tackling our debt. But more importantly, I think we should take it a step further.
Are we becoming the person God wants us to be?
We can list all the qualities we want to work on but without God guiding us we are setting ourselves up for failure. The good news is WITH God, we are continually becoming more Christ-like and in turn, becoming better “wife material.”