I wish I would have learned this early on in my marriage.
I don’t have it all together. I don’t have a perfect marriage (we all know that doesn’t exist!). But I do know so much more now than when I first decided to get married 7 years ago. There are so many things I’ve learned, that I wish I would have been told or would have listened when someone gave me advice on what it means to be a wife. I failed miserably for years at being a wife. Not by societies standard, but by my own standard.
Being a wife, to me now, means taking care of my husband. Not like taking care of a child, but in a way that demands love. My job is to stand by his side. My job is to keep the ends tied. I love the relief I can see on his face when he comes home to a clean house! Or when there’s food in the fridge and his laundry is done and in his drawers. I get the pleasure of being that to him because he shows me love unconditionally. I always thought that if I could just be a better cook, or a better house cleaner, or a little more independent that I would finally arrive as a wife! But the truth is that when I started to learn to pray for my husband, pray with my husband, and pray over him that our life was transformed radically. He began to respect me as a spiritual leader in our family. He began to feel my love for him. He began to understand my heart as a woman. Not as a mom, or a wife, or a coach, or a photographer. As a woman.
Please don’t get me wrong. I think it is amazing that women today hold full time jobs, that they get to support themselves. I loved when I used to work all the time. I loved making my own money and feeling like I was contributing. But that was also my downfall. I loved it too much. I loved my freedom too much. And I abused it. I didn’t have to rely on Dominic to support me and so I stopped relying on him for everything. But then something beyond words amazing happened….He continued to fight for me. He chose to stand by me in love, and repeatedly tell me he wouldn’t give up on me. Through that we were able to reconcile our marriage and come out on the other side stronger than I thought possible.
It was then, 4 1/2 years into our marriage that I began to really pray for him. To pray by his side every morning. It’s so funny how God teaches you little lessons right when He knows you’ll need them the most. It wasn’t even a year later that Dominic broke his neck and not only battled a neck fusion at 27, but also severe depression and prescription drug addiction after surgery. I don’t think a day went by in that period of time that I didn’t feel like I constantly needed to check in on him, or send someone to go make sure he was ok. There were nights when I wouldn’t sleep because he would gag in his sleep and stop breathing. There were nights when I would sit on our bed with him and just pray OVER him because he was so depressed he didn’t know what he was still living for. There were so many afternoons spent just sitting my pregnant butt on the back porch praying that God would make me strong enough to lead when he couldn’t. There is NO WAY I could have made it through that period of our marriage without prayer. My husband turned into a man I didn’t recognize in that time. And I clearly remember the night it changed. We sat on the couch together and I had to figure out how to tell him that “this” was not the man God intended him to be. That he was made for so much more than accepting his limitations. That his prescriptions weren’t numbing his pain, but only robbing him of any feelings or sanity. I have a way of saying things somewhat harshly or even rudely, so I prayed that God would put the right words into my mouth that would find their way to his heart not his ego. After more than 40 days of awful night sweats, nausea and so many other side effects he was able to be completely detoxed from his meds. Talk about a proud wife! Every time I could tell he was struggling I would see him walk off, grab his bible and hide away for a while. That was the definition of courage to me. That was how I knew I was getting my husband back. I know that God strengthened our marriage in the ways that He did because He knew what was coming. We were being prepared for this season in our life so we could weather our storm.
In a world that chooses divorce daily, I know I know I know, that if we can learn to be wives that continually lift our men up in prayer we can change our statistics. We have a tendency to think that men are the ones who need to be the spiritual leaders in our families. And I do agree with that, but I also know that as women it’s our responsibility to play a big part in that. We need to be able to be strong in those moments when they can’t be. We need to be ready to step up if need be.
So I challenge you to share this with your friends. Encourage each other to pray for your husbands, pray for your wives, pray for the man God is preparing to be your husband or wife. Prove everyone wrong and make your marriage work when the odds don’t seem in your favor. Continue to fight when all your friends are telling you to give up. Put in the extra effort and watch the fruits of your labor!