Early this morning, Ben and I had such a sweet time talking – coffee for him, hot tea for me. We were reminiscing, sharing funny thoughts. . . it was one of those great mornings together before we rushed off to start the day. As we were talking, Ben told me I was a good wife. What a wonderfully sweet thing to say.
It should have put a smile on my face to receive such a compliment from him – the only qualified judge of that. But it didn’t. I started to tear up and told him I didn’t believe him. And I really didn’t. I just felt guilty. I told him of all the things around the house I hadn’t finished, the chores I was behind on, the things I hadn’t accomplished, the lack of time I had to focus on doing stuff for him – all qualifying me as a “bad wife.”
Have you ever felt like that? That your success or failure all depends on what you can accomplish in any given day? That your quality as a wife is measured by the quantity of work you can get done?
The moments that followed were filled of a reassuring and inspiring conversation. Ben told me just what I needed to hear:
I married you because you’re you.
Not because of all of the things you can do for me.
He’s grateful for the things I do for our family and ways I can help, but that’s not why he loves me. And for much of our marriage, I’ve only felt I was a good wife when I could prove how much I loved Ben by what I could accomplish. We went on to talk about what was really important in our relationship and how we can best love one another. I feel so free and excited about my role as a wife from hearing some simple reminders from my husband:
Your character will always be more important than what you checked off the list today.
Skills like gentleness and trustworthiness will always outweigh your housekeeping or professional skills.
Time spent encouraging me, writing a love letter, or meeting emotional needs is a better way to support me than almost any other way – including that sink of dirty dishes.
I hope you can hear the same thing as you read today, that who you are is more important than what you do. And I hope we can answer the question “Am I a good spouse?” in the ways that really matter.