Guest post by Happy Homemaker
(Since I already have two amazing daughters-in law!)
I don't know who you are (yet), but please know this, I have prayed for you since my son was six or seven years old. Back then, I didn't know what I know now about my role as a help meet, so my prayers were simple and along the lines, “God, I pray that he marries a loving, Christian young lady”. But as time has gone by and I have read books and blogs and finally realized and embraced my role as a help meet, my prayers have gotten more specific. You see, I realize that being a loving, Christian young lady will not make a marriage joyful. Only fulfilling your God-ordained role as a help meet will. I may not pray these exact words every day, but please know that I have prayed them often.
Also, please know that I will love you and I will try my best to like you, after all, my son must love you since he wants to give you his last name. Do you know what an honor that is? I never thought about it really until one day my husband and I were talking and the subject came up what would happen if one of us passed away. He told me that he would not remarry and that I was the only one who would get to have his name. Now I realize that you never know what path God will take you down, but just hearing him say that made me realize that it must be a big deal to him to have someone take his last name. Respect this and don't take it for granted.
I have prayed that you will find it an honor to be a wife and mother. In these times, that is a very unpopular thing, but I promise you there is no greater joy than to take that role seriously and do it to the best of your ability. I am so happy and grateful that I get to be a wife and mother. Feminism will try to take that from you and tell you that you are a doormat or that you are in an abusive relationship and they will often try to make you feel like a fool--- please, please, please don't listen to this. Even well meaning “Christians” will try to tell you that you are wrong and they often use the phrases that it was “the culture at the time” or “well, the original Greek language says." This frustrates me, because I do not believe you have to have a college degree in biblical studies to understand the Bible. However, I know you were raised in a world that declares women and men the same and not different and it will be difficult to break those strongholds if they are deeply rooted, but the Bible is the truth and it clearly lays out your role as a help meet.
Read and study Ephesians 5:22-24 and Titus 2:3-5, I always come back to these verses when I doubt my role. Men and women are NOT the same and it is a beautiful thing. I take great joy and pride in knowing my husband is my provider, protector and leader-- and I am not ashamed of this. He is much stronger than I, and I always feel safe when I am with him. I am also more emotionally led, and he can see past the emotions to make wise decisions based on fact and not emotions, something I cannot always do. I believe men were made stronger physically so that they could provide for us and protect us. I believe women are more emotional because it helps them to be better mothers. I have no basis for this thinking; it just makes sense to me. So, please do not buy into the “we are the same” lie, you are not the same and were each created for a specific purpose. There is great joy in reading the creation story and it brings me such happiness to know that I was created to fill a need. God said it wasn't good for man to be alone and he made him a help meet. (Genesis 2:18)
I pray you obey and submit JOYFULLY. I am and have always been a hard-headed, controlling person, so sometimes this is difficult for me. But, you cannot imagine the peace that comes with submitting to your husband joyfully. You see, you can submit but hold a grudge and remain angry. Yes, you are technically submitting, but your heart is still rebelling. I could never describe in words how much at peace my heart is when I submit joyfully. I always tend to think that I know the best way, and to put it bluntly, that is pride. Pride is an ugly thing and will cause you hurt and anger. If you submit grudgingly, do you think your husband doesn't know that? Furthermore, do you think God doesn't know it? When I first started this journey of submission, I did it grudgingly and with the “just wait, he will see that I was right” attitude, and yes things did get better in my marriage, but the real peace came when I submitted joyfully--- trusting in my husband that he doesn't take his role as our leader lightly and knowing that he will do what is in our best interest.
It really boils down to a trust issue; do you trust him to make decisions that are in the family's best interest? You should, after all, you are taking his last name and committing to spending the rest of your life with him and if you don't, don't you think it's time? You see, we think that because the man gets to make the decisions, his job is much easier than ours. But let's think about it for a minute. My husband has the pressure of going to a job every day, and he works in the hot and cold for forty hours a week to provide for us. If he doesn't work, that takes money from the family. Not to mention he has to commute for an hour each way and sometimes much more due to traffic. Once at his job, he has a boss that he has to answer to. That seems stressful enough in itself, but add on the stress of knowing that you are the provider for your family. You also have to lead your family and make the decisions of what is best. I wouldn't trade jobs with him for a minute. Yes, being a wife and mother can sometimes be difficult, but in my eyes, it is nowhere near as hard as his job.
I pray that you never stop laughing and smiling. I know my son has taken after his daddy and loves to laugh and joke and play. I'm sure you did when you were dating, but please don't fall into the trap of “I've got him now, so there's no need for that silly stuff." Imagine being at work all day and dealing with difficult people and then coming home to an even more difficult wife. Never be that woman; always have a smile for him and a big kiss when he walks through the door. Always show him that you have missed him when he's gone. Give him a reason to want to rush home from work. We've been married for over twenty years now and I still make a point to hold his hand, laugh with him, sit in his lap, and flirt. Yes, he married me and I've got him, but I never want him to forget why he chose me! Flirt with him often, and yes people will tell you this is stupid too. I have been told by family members that it is just weird that we still hold hands, kiss and flirt. I don't care what others think--- I married this man because I love him and we enjoy spending time together, that hasn't changed in twenty years and I will do my best to make sure it never changes. So, again I say flirt and flirt often. If he's had a bad day at work, it will be made worse by coming home to a grumpy, complaining wife--- so smile instead and give him that big kiss and let everything else go. Make a point to look nice for him before he gets home, always try to make him proud that he chose you.
My favorite thing to do for my family is to cook for them. Where we are from, cooking is a love language! I love cooking and am always looking for new things that I think he may like. When we first married, I couldn't cook, but trust me, it gets easier with practice. To me, when my husband walks through the door and I have his supper ready for him, it tells him that I love him enough to be sure he is well fed. It shows him that I respect him and am grateful for him. And yep, I've been called a “goody two shoes” and I've taken some heat from women who do not do this. I've had several even get mad at me. (I don't know why, unless it is conviction, because why would it matter to you that I enjoy cooking for my family?) For me, cooking is a way to show that I love you and I appreciate you. So, cook for him. Get some recipe books and give it a go. Visit cooking websites and learn to love cooking!
Be grateful. Whenever you get the “poor me” attitude, get rid of it quickly. Think on the good things ( Philippians 4:8). Having a grateful attitude goes a long way in making you a joyful person. Remember all the things that you are blessed with and dwell on them. My husband isn't really the bringing home flowers type of guy and I don't mind that. Why? Because flowers are not what show me that he loves me--- providing for us, being my protector, allowing me to be a keeper at home, laughing with me, making sure my car is safe, and many other everyday things show me that he loves me. And yes, when he does bring me flowers, you can bet that I am grateful, but just because he doesn't shower me with gifts doesn't mean he loves me any less. And really, if you expect gifts to show that he loves you, you are expecting him to perform for you and that's not love, that's being a princess and I pray you were not raised to be a princess.
When the children come along, he does not go to the back burner. After all, I remind my son often, if there were no love between your daddy and me, there would be no you. He doesn't come after the children, he comes before. One day those children will be grown and if you have put him after them for all those years, don't expect to even know him. You have to keep your love alive, and that does not happen by neglecting your husband. Yes, you are to love your children and take care of them, but their daddy comes first. I've seen the quote “The greatest thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother” and this is true for the mother as well. You teach your children to respect their daddy and that he is the leader of the household by not putting him after the children. And please don't buy into the guilt of not being a good mother if you put their father first. The saddest thing for a marriage is when you become roommates instead of husband and wife. Yes, love your children, care for them, but love their daddy first. You will create a love and respect for their daddy that they will always have. Yes, you are a mom, but you are a wife first! There is no reason you can't be both and no reason you can't do both jobs well.
In closing, ALWAYS appreciate your man, ALWAYS show him love and respect, ALWAYS be joyful and smile!
Many daughters have done virtuously,
but thou excellest them all.