“How’s married life?”
That has to be the hardest question I’ve been asked this past year. How do I even say? How do I even know? But seriously, Jon and I are new at this… it’s hard to even say, “We’re doing great!” because we still don’t know what we’re doing!
I still love him and most of the time like him, and we’re doing our best to learn what it’s like to “dance” together in life. So, by that standard, I would say “We’re doing great!”
Fighting the “The Good Wife” Box
But, while marriage is the best, it has also been an interesting personal process. I have always been a black-or-white, all-or-nothing kind of person, so when Jon and I got married I wanted to be “all wife.” And, by that, I mean that I wanted to drop all my dreams and allow every thought, every feeling, every obligation, every schedule and routine be determined by what I thought being “all wife” meant.
When I say it like that it makes it completely obvious that that is wrong, but I didn’t realize I was doing it. Because, believe it or not, that is exactly what I’ve been trying to do these last 13.5 months of marriage.
Marriage is awesome, and this first year has been both fun and challenging. But I’m still trying to figure out what it looks like to still be Casey and be “all wife” at the same time. But that’s tricky! Because my personality instantly wants to fit in “the box” that is labeled “The Good Wife.” I want the checklist, I want the definitions, I want the qualifications, I want to fit the label.
What I’m learning, though, is that I am not meant to be in a box at all, and that being a “good wife” means more than just checking off everything from the “Qualified Wife List.” I’m learning that my and Jon’s marriage will be unique, and that there is not just one way to be a good wife.
I’m learning that my expectations for myself can be some of the most dangerous expectations.
I’m learning that being a good wife to Jon is going to look different than trying to be like someone else (who is a good wife to their husband). And I’m learning that being a good wife is not static, but adaptable to different seasons.
The wife I wanted to be, but wasn’t called to be
I grew up in a home where my dad worked a steady 8-5 and my mom stayed home with all 10 kids, made the food, home-schooled the young ones, and ran all the errands. So, instantly, that’s what my “all wife” perception looked like. And it’s a beautiful example! Why wouldn’t I want to follow it? (My mom literally does wife life and motherhood like a superhero.)
But I’m realizing that I tried to jump into something before I was called.
No, I’m not saying I jumped into marriage before I was called (I know for sure I was called to marry Jon). But I am saying that I tried to make Casey look like her mom when Casey wasn’t called to look like her mom, or like that wife blogger who cooks every meal and keeps a perfect home.
I tried to be the wife I thought I should be before I even asked the Lord what being a wife to Jon in this season is supposed to look like. And while my mom is an amazing example of what a traditional wife should look like, she is not married to Jon like I am. Which means that I will have to be a different wife than she is. She is also in a completely different season of life than I am (obvious).
Does this make sense?
Marriage is great. I love being married to Jon. I am called to be Jon’s wife. But I am backtracking to figure out how Casey – the song-writer, worship leader, ministry-loving, writer, blogger, singer, knitter, dreamer – stays Casey while still laying down her life in marriage. I am backtracking a little bit to figure out what kind of wife I am called to be.
Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned this past year in marriage is that laying down your life in marriage does not mean becoming a door mat to your husband. Serving your husband does not mean that you lose your personality! Submitting to your husband is far from losing your voice. And your marriage will sometimes – most times – look a lot different than everyone else’s marriage.
Now the challenge is to let Him teach me how to be the kind of wife He designed me to be. Because I am different, just like you are different. I have a different personality than you do, and a different husband than you do. No one can teach you or I how to be the women/wives we are designed to be except for God.
So maybe you’ve been trying to be someone you were not called to be, kind of like I was trying to be the kind of wife I wasn’t called to be. Maybe you’ve been trying to be a certain kind of student, or a certain kind of musician, or do ministry a certain way.
Don’t lose heart. Drop the pressure, and let your Creator, the one who designed you, show you how you are designed to uniquely fulfill the purpose you are called to, because you are designed to look like no one else.