Lysa TerKeurst is seriously one of my favorite people ever. I only know her through her books, but I think that we'd be friends if we met. I've quoted her multiple times from her book Made to Crave, but today, I'm going to pull an excerpt from on of her latest books, Unglued.
I seriously think every woman, man, boy, and girl should read Unglued. For women, it's so helpful in identifying how you handle frustration, anger, conflict, etc., and for men, it helps you understand all that we're going through in that great big brain of ours!
In honor of being a wife for almost a full 365 days, I wanted to post this story Lysa writes about in Unglued. I can totally relate to wanting to be an overachieving wife who can do EVERYTHING for her husband, while also being a well-rounded, put-together, Christian woman in every other aspect of life. For me, it just doesn't happen. What Lysa says here comforts me in knowing that I'm not the only woman who don't got it all together all the time most of the time, but it also gives such a practical way to deal with this.
The Three-Things Wife
an excerpt from Unglued, by Lysa TerKeurst
When I first got married, I was desperate to be a “good wife” and determined to figure out how to do it well. So, I took note in my head of what a “good wife” does:
She cooks meatloaf.
She vacuums every day so there are lines in the carpet indicating its cleanliness.
She sticks love notes in his briefcase.
She buys and wears lingerie.
She likes wearing lingerie and wears it a couple of times a week.
She gives him his space when he gets home.
She hangs up the phone when he walks in the door.
She learns facts about football and watches games with him.
She prays for him every day.
And the list grew and grew.
Eventually the list in my head of what a good wife does so completely overwhelmed me that I cried. I felt inadequate. I started to shut down. I constantly felt unglued.
I assumed the list in my head was in my husband’s head too.
I grew bitter. And in a moment of complete exhaustion, I yelled, “Your expectations are ridiculous!”
To which he replied, “What expectations?”
“The list … the list of hundreds of things I need to do to be a good wife,” I sobbed through the snot and the tears.
His blank stare dumbfounded me. He had no such list.
It was a perception. These were idle thoughts allowed to run rampant in my mind for so long I confused them with truth. The truth in 1 Corinthians 13 reminds me love is patient, kind, not proud, and keeps no record of wrongs. I had so broadened my scope of things to do that I had diminished my vision of simply loving my husband.
Do less. Be more. Clear out the clutter of idle words. Find that white space. Honor God.
If I would have been practicing regular Sabbaths, at which times I sought God on this issue, I suspect I could have saved myself years of coming unglued in my marriage. Years. Finally, I went to my husband. “Honey,” I said, feeling the entanglements of expectations loosening their grip on me, “I can’t do everything good wives seem to do. But I can do three things. So, tell me your top three things, and I will do those well.”
After all, I could spend a whole marriage doing a hundred things halfway with a bitter attitude and an overwhelmed spirit. Or, I could do three things wholeheartedly with a smile on my face and love in my heart.
His three things were simple: Be an emotionally and spiritually invested mom with our kids, take good care of your body and soul, and keep the house tidy. (Notice he said “tidy”— not perfectly clean.) That’s it.
He could care less about home-cooked meals. He is fine with me hiring someone else to vacuum the carpet. And he’s totally okay if I watch 48 Hours while he watches man-cub events on a different TV.
Now, he didn’t say anything about lingerie. But, he could argue that it is a subplot of my taking good care of my body. The problem is, I’m much more of a sweatpants kind of girl. Yes, Victoria has a little secret, and I haven’t a clue what it is.
But that’s a topic for another day entirely.
For today, I’ve narrowed my scope to three things, and this narrowing has broadened my vision for a great marriage.
I am a three-things wife. It’s simple. But simple is good. And, more importantly, I stopped sabotaging my marriage by stopping the idle thoughts.
How might this help you? How might this improve some of your relationships?