The wife life. Isn’t this the life that most young girls dream of? Go to the grocery store, hang out in the fruit aisle, look at the pretty strawberries and raspberries, work out to get fit and fabulous and then hustle home to watch the latest talk show while you iron your husband’s pants. You might even be able to squeeze in an afternoon walk with your best friend before you end the day by cooking a five-course meal to perfection. How can your husband not love you after that?
But most days, this scenario isn’t reality. Before I go any further, let me introduce myself. I’m Catherine Godwin, “Kitty-Cat” as my girls at Scarlet & Gold call me. I’ve been married to my darling husband, Harrison, for about nine months now. Before my passion for the wife life, I was very passionate about the single life. I held onto my purity as tightly as I could so that I could give it all to my husband. People told me that I was crazy—that kissing one or two boys along the way wouldn’t matter. But I stuck to my guns and saved every last kiss for Harrison. It was something that was important to me, and I prayed it would be important to my husband one day. I think the single life is where I got my enthusiasm for the wife life. If I was going to work so hard—because it was hard—to prepare myself for marriage, then I was going to be very passionate about my marriage and work hard at it. Harrison and I were set up on a date. Neither of us was a big fan of set ups, but why not? After about three months of getting to know each other, Harrison asked me to be his girlfriend. Six months later, we were engaged; nine months later, we were married. Our whole courtship, if you will, went pretty fast, but neither of us wanted it any other way. I think the speed came from our intentions of dating to marry. However, over the past year, I have learned that you can’t have a satisfying wife life without having a satisfying single life first. Like any big race, you have to prepare and push through the hardships, knowing that you have a prize worth waiting for at the end.
As women, Proverbs 31 is our go-to passage, right? We all strive to be the Proverbs 31 woman, but this ideal portrayal often seems so far out of reach. Therefore, we pick and choose parts of the description and make them fit so that we feel better about the progress we’re making. At least, I know I am guilty of doing that. But this Proverbs 31 woman… She is the first to get up so that she can prepare breakfast. She is eager to get started with her day. She is a good homemaker and a diligent worker. She isn’t worried whether there are enough groceries because she is on top of all parts of her game. In her inside game, she provides food for all her household and spins wool into fabric. In her outside game, she buys a field and sells fine merchandise. She faces each day with a smile, gives to the needy, and speaks words of wisdom. And most of all, she does not fear the future because she trusts the Lord.
Now that’s a woman I aspire to be. I’d really like to meet her and ask her about the whole starting-every-day-with-a-smile thing. But on most days, I have to admit that I don’t hit the mark. When I married Harrison, I had hoped that I could love my husband the way he should be loved. I wanted to be the wife that got up and made him breakfast. I’ve done it maybe six times, but hey, that’s progress, right? I wanted to have a clean home and a hot meal waiting for him every evening, which has happened fewer times than I want to admit. While I could let this amazing Proverbs 31 woman and the high standards she sets make me discouraged, I have found the secret to living the contented wife life. For me, the wife life brings joy because of grace. I want to be and do everything this woman is and does, but every day I realize that I mess up as a wife. I am not anywhere close to this picture…… but Jesus! Feeling like a failure does not come from Him. If we keep our eyes focused on the One who truly matters, He will equip us to be a woman after His heart. When I’m tempted to feel discouraged, I take a step back, look at the stage of life I’m in, and evaluate what is realistic. I’ve learned that in this season of my life, when I am working all day outside the home, I can’t do all of the little things. But I can do the big things. I can love Harrison whole-heartedly. I can ask for forgiveness when I’m wrong and forgive him even when it’s hard. And I can find joy in this season. My wife life might look different now than it did in my dreams, but it’s a good life. Just like in my season of singleness, God is teaching me to be thankful for His grace, which is more than sufficient for me to accomplish His purposes.
So, I leave you with these words of encouragement: Look at where you are in life – single, married, kids, no kids – and find something to be thankful for. Our lives don’t always turn out exactly the way we plan them, but God’s plan is better. We can find peace and joy in each season of our lives because He promises that He will never leave us or forsake us. And His ways, while we often do not understand them, are always good. Embrace where you are and be joyful in your season of life. For me, the wife life is a great life: having the opportunity to love Harrison fully every day is my greatest challenge and my richest blessing. I hope that I don’t spend one day taking it for granted.