“I’m here not because I am supposed to be here or, because I’m trapped here, but because I’d rather be with you than anywhere else in the world.” ~Richard Bach (The Bridge Across Forever)
A Wife’s daily prayer: As a wife, I beseech thee, Oh Triune God, make me cheerful, trustful, unselfish, thrifty, and an affectionate companion. If I am blessed with Motherhood, I ask the additional grace of patience and good example. May our family be modeled upon the Holy Family. Amen.
And on the back…
TEN RULES FOR A HAPPY AND SUCCESSFUL WIFE:
1. Avoid arguments. Your husband has his share from other sources.
2. Don’t nag.
3. Don’t drink or eat to excess.
4. If you offend your husband, always ask forgiveness before you retire.
5. Compliment your husband liberally. It makes him a better husband.
6. Budget wisely together. Live within your income.
7. Be sociable and go out with your husband.
8. Dress neatly & attractively for your husband, & keep your home clean and cheerful.
9. Keep your household troubles to yourself.
10. Pray together and stay together.
These aren’t hard rules, but even I – upon reading them that day in the gift shop – knew there were some I was not necessarily rising to meet. If I want a good marriage, and my husband is doing his part, then I have to do mine. These ten rules were a good place to start. Now they aren’t a magic pill that is going to magically fix everything, but when a hard year happens, I feel better equipped to persevere. When I started really thinking about what God has to say about marriage (and my responsibilities toward the longevity of mine) is when I realized these rules would help me be better equipped to handle the tough times.
Last year was a hard year in my marriage. That’s kind of like saying the Hindenburg was “a little mishap”. As my mother once told me, “Hard years happen”. Of course, when she told me that I was single and thought “How can you have a hard year? That seems like such a long period of time to feel things aren’t going easily. Now that I’ve been married to my husband since 1999, I totally get it now, Mom. Totally get it.
During that hard year, I found myself wondering, “What happened to our love story?” But in all honestly, as in most marriages, it takes two people and a good 50% of why I was unhappy was because of me. It’s a year later and I still remind myself often that while my husband is responsible for his actions and his character, I am the one ultimately responsible for my happiness by deciding each day whether I am going to be grateful (or not), pleasant (or not), motivated (or not), loving (or not), easy going (or not). So many couples want an easy path. So many couples I know have divorced in the past few years, because the path was not easy.
My kids love watching “The Prince of Egypt “. They watched it again this week and even watching that animated movie begs the question, “Why do we as Christians expect an easy path?” When I think about how people were treated for their faith in the time of Moses, it seems like what God requires of us today, of me, is frankly, quite do-able.
This also came up in a previous Roman History class I took. We were required to view and discuss Quo Vadis. This film (we watched the 1951 version), based on the novel, discusses Marcus Vinicius’ journey to Christianity. It discusses the Romans’ distrust and persecution of Christians, the violent ends that came to some of the apostles…
I find this humbling.
The years after the boys were born, I was so angry by what I felt then was the “hand” I had been dealt. And watched as even certain “family” members gleefully rejoiced that fate had handed my husband and I children with special needs. I felt punished by God. I have realized two things since then:
One: God is not in the punishing business.
Two: I have no idea what real punishment; what real persecution is.
I have a path that is different than others. My marriage path is different in this regard as well. But my path is still 1000 times easier, more so, than so many…I am reminded again to be thankful. To be grateful. And through accompanying my children in their own faith journeys, I am reminded of God’s grace and goodness he offers us through his mercy and through his forgiveness. I am also reminded that my marriage and my daily life in it, is completely dependent on my attitude, my ethics, and my prayers. My husband wants me to be happy but he can’t do that for me. My attitudes towards my roles as his wife and their mother, starts with me. I will never be an expert on marriage, but I have spent the entire almost 15 years of my marriage being a parent of two children with special needs and I have found a way to be a happy wife and parent. Not perfect – not even close – but content.
“Contentment does not come from achievement. It comes from a relationship with the Lord”. ~~Paul Henderson
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