Becoming the Wife You Hope to Be
Meanwhile, I had a mentor in her 60s who had been married longer than I’ve had breath in my lungs. She was more concerned about preparing me for marriage than the wedding.
So while my friends and I were talking about color schemes and bridesmaids dresses, Barb lovingly took the role of reminding me that there would be a life after the wedding, and it would be beautiful and exciting, but also hard work.
One of the exercises she had me do (adapted from the book What’s It Like to be Married to Me? by Linda Dillow—a great read!) was to write my own eulogy. It might sound morbid, but she wanted me to think about what I wanted my husband to say about me after I’m no longer here.
I was wrapped up in my wedding and she was already on to the funeral.
But Psalm 90:12 says, “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”
Even though the wedding felt like forever away during engagement season, it would eventually come. After the wedding, I felt like we’d never leave the honeymoon phase because our love for one another was so consuming. But eventually, marriage did start becoming more mundane.
We have to work harder for excitement. And now that we’re in the child-rearing season of life, becoming empty nesters feels like forever away. But that day will come, too. And even further yet down my timeline is growing old and dying, but that’s also inevitable.
There’s wisdom in knowing our days are numbered.
So when I sat down and wrote my eulogy from the perspective of my husband, the words that I wanted him to use were gracious, gentle, fun, spontaneous, encouraging, slow to speak and quick to forgive.
In the early years of our marriage, when we were young and childless, those descriptive words felt a little more attainable. But now that we’re two kids in with no intention of stopping anytime soon, being spontaneous feels like a pipe dream and a scheduling nightmare. I wonder if, considering the way I’m living right now, my husband’s list about me might look more like: tired, selfish, short-fused.
And yet, we’ve only really been promised today, which means that if I eventually want my husband to refer to me as gracious, I need to be gracious today. And then when tomorrow comes, I’ll rely on God again to help me be gracious tomorrow.
There will always be a reason to put off prioritizing our marriages and becoming the wives we once wished to be. Every season of our lives will bring unique demands. We’re never going to arrive. We’re always going to be in process.
Wives, even though our lives are busy and we’re often overwhelmed by our endless list of to-dos, we’d be wise to take a deep breath and consider the type of woman we hope to be. We’re becoming her now, in our daily decisions. The small choices we make each day are actually the lives we’re building. Are we becoming the women we truly hope to be?
Wife Step: Take some time to write down the way you hope your husband will describe you when you’re gone. How does it compare to the way he’d describe you right now? Be gracious with yourself, knowing that you’re not perfect and never will be. Perfection is God’s job. But pick a few words that feel important to you, then pray and ask the Holy Spirit to start implementing those values and characteristics in your life today.
Bailey Richardson is the wife of a Paul Bunyan look-a-like, the mama of a growing little family, and a woman on the wild adventure of pursuing Jesus. She lives in a small lake town in Minnesota where her family is highly involved in their local church and Young Life, a global non-profit youth ministry. A self-proclaimed “recovering perfectionist,” Bailey loves writing for and connecting with women who want to more deeply experience the grace, freedom, and abundance that comes from following Jesus. You can find her at baileymrichardson.com or on Instagram @baileymrichardson.