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Today is our 7th wedding anniversary. In honor of this special day, I’m going to tell you about an epiphany I had several weeks ago, and how it’s changing my relationship with my husband.
Awhile back, I was playing with my older son, Aidan, and we were having a blast together. I know I’m biased, but he is pretty adorable, and he says and does the funniest things. I was soaking it all up, taking delight in who he is and contemplating his future.
I was also thinking about how quickly he’s growing up and that one day he will be a grown man with a child of his own. That led me to think about how my mother-in-law was in this exact position, probably thinking similar thoughts about Levon, twenty-five years ago.
This is a train of thought I’ve had many times before. I think about my MIL holding my husband as a baby, rocking him, watching him grow. I wonder what kinds of things she must be thinking now as she watches him as an adult. Does she ever think about him as a baby? Does she wonder where the time went? Breathe a sigh of relief? (He was a strong-willed child, I hear!)
I don’t know why I think about this so much. I guess it’s because my mom never had sons. So as close as I am to my mom, this whole “boymom” journey connects me to my MIL in a way that I don’t have with my own mom. It’s special and unique, and I feel closer to her because of it.
However, this time was different than all the others. As I thought about Aidan getting married one day, I began to think about what I would want his wife to be like and how I would want her to treat him, my very special boy. And I wondered if my MIL ever had those thoughts, too. If she ever thought or prayed about the woman her son would one day marry.
Which brought me to this question, the question that stopped me in my tracks …
Am I the kind of wife I want my sons to have?
The Wife I Want My Sons to Have
When I think about my sons’ future wives, I don’t think about specific interests, personalities, or lifestyles. God knows, I am not the woman Levon expected, and he is not the man I expected! Sometimes the spouses God has planned for you are not exactly what you planned for yourself. (But they are exactly what you need!)
But there are a few things that I would sincerely hope they would possess or display.
The wife I want my sons to have will…
- Love my sons, not just in words or feelings, but in an active, sacrificial way
- Respect them in both words (to them and about them) and in actions
- Honor them and treat them as special
- Help them grow and reach their full potential
- Support them
- Stay by their side through the ups and downs of life
- Take care of them and their families
- Love God and seek His will for their lives
- Push them to be better men
- … but give them grace to be human
- Care for them and prioritize their health and well-being over money or ambition
- See their value and worth and affirm the God-given traits in them.
Am I a Wife That Was an Answer to Prayers?
At 3 and 9 months, I have already started praying over my boys’ future mates (and I hope you do, too). So as I think about my MIL’s hopes and prayers all those years ago about her son’s future wife, I wonder … am I living like an answer to prayers?
Do I strive to be a helpmeet? Or do I put my own agendas, desires, and plans ahead of Levon’s?
Am I regularly developing my strengths to be a better complement to his? Or do I grow complacent about my own growth while grumbling about his weaknesses?
Do I make him a better person? Do I encourage him, push him, inspire him to reach his full potential?
Do I “do him good, and not harm, all the days of [my] life?” (Proverbs 31:12)
Sometimes I can honestly answer in the affirmative, other times I’m glaringly lacking in these areas. They are good questions to regularly ask myself.
Do I Treat My Husband How I Would Want My Sons to be Treated?
This one was the doozie for me – the big question I had to ask myself, and the one I was a bit ashamed to answer.
It was accompanied by this follow-up question: How would I feel if Aidan or Andrew’s future wife talked to them the way I talk to Levon sometimes?
The honest answer is that I would be pretty upset if I heard someone talk to the boys how I talk to Levon at times… not to mention the way I sometimes talk about him.
My boys aren’t perfect (Lord knows, I’ve said a thing or two about them that I regret!), and neither is Levon. It’s not a matter of believing they’re perfect, but rather showing them honor and respect. Of recognizing their value, upholding that, and affirming it. Of treating them as special. Is my language, tone, and behavior honoring to Levon? Sometimes … but it’s a struggle for me more often than I care to admit.
Of course I realize we’re human and we make mistakes. Levon won’t always be easy to love, and I won’t always be good at loving him. There is definitely a need for giving each other grace. Part of being married means loving each other unconditionally, regardless of how we speak or act to each other.
But unconditional love is not a free pass to let our flesh rule. It is so easy to show the ugliest versions of ourselves to the ones closest to us because “they have to love us.” But this is neither loving nor right on our part. We should always seek to be the best versions of ourselves, exemplifying the fruits of the Spirit living in us.
The Bottom Line
It’s not easy to be a wife sometimes. We have a lot of people counting on us, and the demands of motherhood can be draining. Unfortunately, our husbands sometimes get the leftovers of our time and energy, whatever we can scrape from the bottom of the barrel at the end of the day.
But as much as we are called to be intentional moms to our children, we are also called to be intentional wives to our husbands.
This has turned out to be more difficult than I expected before having kids, but this exercise of picturing my husband as a young boy through the eyes of his mother has been a tremendous motivator. As I watch my own sons and think about how much I want them to marry women who will recognize their worth and support them in their God-given purposes, I have to ask myself,
“Am I the wife I want my sons to have?”
And it is revolutionizing my marriage.
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