The beginning of the year always causes me to take stock of certain aspects of my life.
My budget, for one. My schedule, how I spend my time. The relationships in my life.
One important relationship stands out the most. My relationship with Wade. More specifically, what I am doing to be purposeful in that relationship.
When something is important to me, I like to, fairly consistently, evaluate what my level of engagement/commitment is and define my goals/direction in regards to that thing. Therefore, every so often I do that with my marriage, and sort of evaluate my wifely progress. I like to look at where I've come from, how I'm doing, and how I can improve. Occasionally I do this because I am having an issue with something (Usually my own attitude), but I also run a wifely check up as a "preventive maintenance" type deal at times as well. Here's how I do it:
Read things that cause me to think:
I usually start with getting out my bible and reading Proverbs 31:10-31. Slowly. Stopping to think about each verse, and how it pertains to me and my role as a wife. I have several journals I've kept over the years and I like to read my thoughts about Proverbs 31, and how they've changed and been refined over the years. This year, I also read the blog entries I wrote about being a wife. (I know that may seem weird, reading my own writing, but it really convicts me and makes me want to live up to the standards I profess to hold.) Here are those posts:
...after I'm in the right mindset to think seriously about my goals as a wife, there are three main areas that I consider when I think about how to be an excellent wife to Wade. Here they are:
Tangible, Practical Support:
These are all of the things I do, on a day to day basis, to take care of Wade. Making his lunch, making sure he has clean clothes, making phone calls or running errands..... these are all practical ways I help him. As I think about this area of my life, I like to make sure I have enough time during the week to consider ways that I could be of assistance to Wade, and make sure I am asking him, at least once or twice a week, if there's anything I can do for him- pick up items at the store, make a certain dinner he's craving, run something to the cleaners...etc.... Often he won't need anything, but I know he feels cared about when I ask.
I also try and consider how things are going for him at work, and set aside time to allow him to recharge in the manner that's best for him (Which just so happens to be the opposite of my way). For example, if he's had a long day at work, I know he likes the house tidy and fairly quiet/calm when he gets home. (I am not quiet, normally, so I have to muzzle myself.) If he's had a stressful week, sometimes being home with just our family is what he needs. There are times when I have to think about that, because I love doing things with friends and tend to pack our schedule full of outings.
Another practical way I fulfill my role as a wife is to make food that is (At least somewhat) healthy and appealing for Wade. He feels so much better (Like we all do) when he is eating nutritious meals. Making sure he has something quick but healthy for breakfast, packing him a filling lunch, and consistently making good dinners are ways I tangibly show my care for him.
Sometimes my prayers for Wade get pretty darn sad. They turn in to my own request list, in prayer form. As I thought through how to best be praying for my husband, lots of things came to mind. Integrity and good character at work. Wisdom in leading our family. Clarity for creating balance in his life. The list got quite long. As I pray for him every day, it helps me to think of him more clearly as his own person, and not just someone who is in my life to make things easier for me. Does that make sense? Sometimes I get very wrapped up in the things Wade could do/not do that would make my life simpler or more enjoyable in some way. I lose sight of that fact that he is a man that God is working in and through for His glory and purposes. Praying purposefully and thoughtfully for Wade helps me to focus on how to best encourage him in God's will for him.
Another way I encourage Wade spiritually is to give him lots of credit and support when he is shouldering tough moral choices. Whether it's a situation at work, something with a family member, or a big decision for OUR family, I can help by being a good listener and giving my honest opinion, as well as doing my best to understand where he is coming from even if we don't agree.
Emotional and Physical Needs:
I had to chuckle when I was typing this title, because Wade would object to me saying he has emotional needs. He would think that sounds too girly.
...but He does. Even if men don't express their emotions the same way that we chicks do, they need a interested, attentive, uncritical partner, and sometimes a bit of bolstering up. You will have to figure out what that looks like for your guy- I am sure it's different for each of them. It's worth the investment to determine how to give emotional support to your husband. They'll appreciate it. Also, they'll look to you for it, and that's a great compliment. Being needed by your husband is really wonderful.
Another need that I make sure I am taking care of is in the physical department. I address this in my "Wifely Duties" post- but to give it a quick summary- sex is important. Make time for it. Initiate it sometimes. It's fun. That is all.
..to sum it up, our role as "Wife" is very important, and worth taking the time to run a "check up". Be purposeful about how you choose to spend your time, and make sure you are investing enough energy in being an excellent wife. I know, for myself, my priorities can't just be a list, or a statement, they must be reflected in how I spend my time. They have to shine through in my choices.
That won't happen by accident. So be a good wife. On purpose.