A Kind Wife

About a year ago, I sent my husband a list of things that I thought that he might like to see me do around the house.  I asked him to put the list according to priority, from greatest to least.

Here is the exact list that I sent to him:

 -clean, ironed laundry
-yummy meals including lunches
-fresh, homemade bread for your sandwiches
-keeping up with emails
-thank you notes
- outreach in the community
-hospitality/ having people over
- making sure there are cookies or something yummy for you when you get home (including tea)
-a clean, picked up house

 And, this was his exact response:

Thanks, but I would rather have you put aside anything/everything you have to do in order to start each day with the assumption that I LOVE YOU, and therefore anything I do or say is given the benefit of the doubt that I LOVE YOU.

 Get enough rest and say no to enough activities so that you have the energy to be NICE TO ME (and the kids) when I’m home.

 Honestly, I appreciate the rest of it, but don’t really care that much if it comes at the expense of the first two things up at the top of the list.  Maybe you think that I think you’re a bad wife or mom if you don’t do this stuff. If so, that is wrong. I would much rather have a messy house, make my own lunches from white, store-bought bread, have no snacks, etc. etc., but have a nice, happy wife who likes me, than the other way around.

 So, to sum it all up, showing me you love me has more to do with WHO you are than what you do!  It’s my best friend I fell in love with and want to hang out with, not my maid!”

You see, I was so busy doing things for my husband, trying to be the perfect wife, that I was getting it all wrong.  I was so tired and stressed that I was snappy, unkind, and impatient.  And the only thing my dear husband wanted was a girlfriend!  Am I saying that it’s wrong to do things for your husband or family? Of course not!  But I am saying to think about keeping being kind as the TOP priority.

 I have learned my lesson.  I have stepped back in many areas in my life in order to have margin and rest, so that I am not over-stressed and my husband {mostly} has a kind, gentle, loving wife.

How about you?  Do you struggle with the stress of getting everything done?  Can I challenge you to put aside some things that might be good in order that you might be able to ensure that you are a kind, fun, loving wife?

My challenge for you today is to put down the duties and be kind! 

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I originally published this article at Time Warp Wife, but wanted to share it here as well! Photo credit: Tripp Flythe Linking up with Women Living Well and The Better Mom

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=710937718 Nicole Mackey

    I love that..the most simple things can make a difference

  • Maryanna Morris

    That’s beautiful, we get so caught up with everything else & lose sight of what’s important .!!

  • Helen

    Thank you so much for sharing this one. It is reminder for me that I am not my husband’s “maid” but his wife and girlfriend.

    I always felt that I was a lazy wife when I couldn’t do laundry or cook just because I was too tired after did all things on my to-do list. Mostly I would be so tired when my husband came home from his 8-10 hours work. I couldn’t make him happy or felt comfortable at home because I was not too.

    Reading this post really make me think to be more wise in choosing what to do and not to do from my list. To put my husband and kids on top of the list.

    Thank you!

  • Seamstresslady

    One time I told hubby that I felt like I wasn’t doing my job and letting him down as a wife of I spent the day doing things with the children. He said, “but that is your job! All I ask for is a clear path to my chair and the bathroom.”. Lol.

    • Anniekopf

      Oh my goodness, I LOVE it!! That is too funny! :)

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=664657258 Elise Irminger

      That is SO SWEET!!!

  • http://www.mtfw.net/ Danielle @ MTFW

    A round of applause for your Hubs!
    We may be called to serve but that does not mean our husbands are to take advantage of that and abuse it. They are called to love.

    The balance of that can be seen in that written exchange above. You’re willingness to serve, his willingness to love.

    Bravo to you for putting yourself out there and bravo to him for being genuine in his response.

    Having a husband that doesn’t demand makes me more willing to serve and makes me feel at ease with what I can and can’t get done. We so often put the pressure on ourselves that no one else is expecting.

    PS – my husband would have said pretty much the same thing. When I get overwhelmed with the “To Do List” I get short-tempered and nasty.

  • Kristin_kocher

    I read your article a while back and chuckled. The exact same thing happened with my hubby. I asked him one day which of the many things I thought pleased him he cared about most and he said “I don’t care about all that. I would rather come home and eat peanut butter and jelly for dinner if it meant I came home to a happy, joyful wife. I’d rather you take a nap or a rest in the afternoon if you need it, rather then clean, if it means you’d be happier when I came home.”. – wow, I as well was shocked! It’s really not as hard as we make it. They just want happy, joyful wives who appreciate them and can enjoy them and our times when we are home together :)

  • Janelle

    Ohhhh yessss…I am sure Geoff’s comment would be so similar. I have been guilty of being so busy making dinner for when he comes home {servant’s heart} that I don’t think to stop and kiss him hello! That to him is such a bummer! I think I am pleasing him, and he thinks I am too busy for him! It’s so nice to know these things :) Love you!

  • Kelli Woodford

    And oh, how we need your husband’s words to sink down deep into us, spiritually.

    To begin each day, to do each thing, to start from the place of knowing first and foremost that WE ARE RADICALLY LOVED.

    Not for what we do, but for who we are.

  • http://www.theencouraginghome.com Mary@The Encouraging Home

    Thanks for the reminder and words of wisdom from you and your husband! You are such a blessing and encouragement!

  • Stormy_horton

    AWESOME!!!

  • http://jessnewland.blogspot.com/ Jessica N.

    A much needed reminder and encouragement. Thank you!

  • Anonymous

    Joy, I read this last year when you posted at Time Warp and your thoughts and truths have rolled through my mind time and again like a welcomed freight train — truth that changes us is the best kind and that is what you give when you share. Thank you so much!

  • Heatherdakins

    Love this! What a great reminder to know we are loved, not by what we do, but for who we are!!

  • Anonymous

    oh, wow.
    this is super eye opening!
    thank you for sharing.

  • Carol

    such a good reminder…after all, who really cares how perfect our lives look when our hearts are a mess. I think you and your husband may have just saved a hundred marriages!!!
    Love reading your blog…
    encouraged and thankful,
    Carol

  • http://twitter.com/sara_seas Sara Brian

    Thank you. I have been struggling with home and work.

  • Bethany

    Great insight! It’s amazing how we feel like we have to DO all of these things in order to feel worthy of our husband’s love at times. Before we were married, my husband told me, “Honey, I don’t care if you are eating bon bons and swimming the backstroke in the pool all day!” They just want us to know they love WHO we ARE more than what we DO. But isn’t marriage supposed to be like that? A picture of how Christ loves His Bride?

  • Susan

    Wow! What an incredibly insightful response from your loving husband. You are blessed indeed! Thank you for sharing and encouraging me to be kinder to my husband!

  • http://ponderthepath.wordpress.com/ Melody

    What a great reminder, Joy. Thank you so much!
    Seamstresslady–that is too funny! :-)

  • Andy Fasnacht

    Oh Joy, that is so good! Thanks for posting this! I just recently happened across your blog and have been encouraged by it, so thanks for all the work you put in to it! It’s been fun to see all your kids too- God has blessed you guys! –Carmen

  • PRDama Sellers

    thank you for sharing this.. I myself have learn this lesson, but being older, having older children, it did not come till later in life… I wish I would have learned this when I was 20 something or even 30 something.. but I have learned. I am grateful always for the lessons learned through Christ and his people…. Older women have alot to share and show those who are young! Wish I had someone in my life at the time mine were little ones to teach me. But now.. I am considered the older one, so I guess I have alot to share.

    Be blessed but most of all be a blessing
    Angie
    http://www.helpmeettosam.blogspot.com

  • Lorena

    Yes, my husband loves that I cook him dinner everynight and try to keep the house tidy but he says what matters is that the kids and I are taken care of and we are happy.

  • http://www.wearerooted.com/ Natalie

    Okay… I think that I really needed to read your post this morning. Yep, I think I did… Gonna have a good day! Thanks! ;)

  • Heidi Zander

    Really nice article! I really appreciate your blog- thanks!!

  • Ahfcff

    Thanks for sharing. This is so special and a much needed reminder.

  • Noel McNeil

    When I read the note from your hubby it made me smile because that is exactly what my hubby would have said. :) We’ve talked about this before. It is very easy for me to become overextended and I do not handle extreme busy-ness or stress well. I have learned to step back and now expecting my 3rd, due in a few short weeks, I am just trying to take it easy. Thanks for sharing this and for the reminder that kindness is often much more appreciated that a clean house. ;)

  • Christina Y.

    I have spent much time doing the same things: cooking extravagant meals, baking, stressing over my home being spotless, over-committing myself to people and things… only to find that I was short with my hubby and my kids. It also took my husband to let me know that he loves me for who I am and not what I do. Isn’t it amazing how wrong we can get things? Simplicity is the key! Thank you for sharing, Joy! You have such an amazing way of writing and sharing your story!

  • Brenda Meyer

    I have read this from you before, but it came this morning at the PERFECT time! Thanks again Joy for allowing God to use you in such a real way. Certainly blessed me this morning! Hugs to you!

  • http://desertdwellingmama.blogspot.com/ Renia

    thank yo for sharing. Such encouragement.

  • Amy L

    Well, I’m feeling a bit convicted. Thanks for sharing. I’m a do-er and a list maker and a perfectionist by nature so you can imagine that inner turmoil that swirls in me all the time. God really has to chip away at that constantly.

  • Jessica

    wow you have a very loving husband!

  • Anonymous

    Oh friend, I had to read this to Troy, as I knew he would resonate with Dave’s response. He did, and he even got a bit teary-eyed, as we have been talking through these very things. Thank you for this wonderful post, may it affect great change in many homes to His glory!

  • Anonymous

    Oh yes! This is spot on, in my opinion. We have been married 20 years, and I am *not* the best at keeping an immaculate house, but my dear husband loves that I look forward to him coming home every. single. night. A smile, a wee hug and kiss, and a wee bit of *time* for him (even when there’s a lot on the go). Knowing that I love that moment he walks in the door every evening makes *his* day. :)

  • Leah

    Well said. My husband has told me this as well.

  • Angielambert

    Powerful and a word in season!!!!

  • Leah P

    I just found your blog because a friend shared this post on FB. I am a former MK and my heart goes out to your family. I had a lot of interesting happen growing up, but wouldn’t trade a thing. I can’t wait to keep reading your blog. God has given you a real gift.

  • Linda

    What a great reminder, I need this!

  • Teambarrett14

    oops, should of read this first before getting all wired up with the “things” instead of being nice to my husband. thankfully, before he left i apologized, and then had to apologize to God and my daughter: i sure ruined our morning, but our afternoon was very pleasant.

  • http://www.themessexposed.blogspot.com/ My3chilies

    Don’t you love that? Just when you think you’re getting it all together and putting him first, God (or hubby) shows you otherwise! As a working, homeschooling mom, it is VERY challenging to not stress about getting it all done… and I probably take advantage of the kindness of my husband, in addition to neglecting to be kind to him! Thanks for the reminder!!!

    Momma K

    themessexposed.blogspot.com

  • Anonymous

    Love this – thank you.

    My husband’s birthday was yesterday, and as a present for him I baked him banana chocolate chip bread (3 loaves) the day before, and banana blueberry loaf (3 loaves) yesterday, cut them up and froze them for his lunches )minus the loaf of each he ate with the help of the children). And he really appreciated this gift and the love that went with it.

    But as much as he appreciated and enjoyed that gift. He LOVED the happy smiling faces that greeted him even more. I need to remember that.

  • Keri

    Yes, yes, and yes……to your last 3 questions. :)

  • Vibrancy100

    I enjoyed your post. Isn’t it funny how we can be kinder to a neighbor, or stranger, than our own husband?! Thanks for the reminder.

  • http://www.bethjcolvin.blogspot.com/ Beth Colvin

    Wow!!! I certainly could try this a whole lot more often!!!! Thanks again:)

  • maggie may

    wonderful encouragement!

  • Melody Hansmeyer

    Wow! I really needed this. Thank you. I think one of the major things I can do for my husband and my children is spend time in the Word and prayer every day. My relationship with the Lord will directly impact my relationship/service to my family. When I’m not walking with Him, you can count on a selfish, nagging, and sometimes angry wife and mother. It’s not pretty. But as I grow in my relationship to Christ, I see that THIS is the most important responsibility I have to my family. And I pray they will only see Him in me- and hopefully forget and forgive my failures….

    • Llew

      I can see that you’re a wife who is very devout to the Lord. While I don’t think Christ should be squeezed in as secondary to your family I trust you appreciate that balance is important. The Bible has enough guidelines as to healthy family life while relating to Christ. I say no more.

  • Pluchene

    Very wise advise!!

  • Juliewilliams920

    So, so, so good! Love this and I need to print it and read it often! The Lord guided me to ask my husband this early in our marriage (my list was different) because I was overwhelmed with life and I realized that where I might be putting my efforts might not be what mattered to him the most (cleaning and meals) and it was so enlightening to hear what mattered to him. He rearranged my list to this day I try to remember that often.

  • Kathy Herron

    SHAMMIE

  • Louanngeauvreaukarry

    I think you have found gold in that there husband of yours. What a wonderful reminder that we should stay girlfriend and boyfriend

  • Jkburchfield

    You are so right. Thanks for writing this! I always want to get everything done but end up stressed and tired with no time for my family. I love the idea of staying boyfriend and girlfriend. That is about what it takes to make now when you have so many responsibilities and a busy life.
    Thanks again.

  • Michelle

    This is sooooo good, and soooo true! When my honey gets home he wants all honey and no stings. So often, because of stuff (too much stuff) the hubby and children can get stings instead of sweetness. Love it! thank you!

  • http://talyq.blogspot.com/ Natalija

    That’s exactly what my husband told me :) And yet I still don’t get it most of the time ;)

  • Pam

    Oh to have met someone like this years ago! This is true love at its finest! Believe me I know having been in this very situation with no love at all. I bless you and your husband. It’s nice to know that there are Godly men out there. You are truly blessed.

  • Lyndie Blevins

    I have to ask, does your husband have a brother?

  • Mandy

    This is great! Thank you!

  • Kelly Scott

    Wow. I’m sending this to my husband and I bet I get the same response. Thank you for posting this reality check! Every blessing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=734652183 Misty Crisman

    Great thoughts. I try to remind myself when I am gone from this world, what will they remember more… my clean and perfect house/life or the way I was kind, loving, fun to be with and a great person inside and out. In the end, its Just ME that they love.. not how organized I am or how clean I keep everything.

  • Heidi

    My hubby pretty much told me the same thing. As much as I want to do and be everything it’s not possible and he has been my biggest supported of my first roles as wife and mother before anything else.

  • http://ATeamAZ.blogspot.com/ Ashley

    Thank you SO much. I needed to read that today!

  • Briaebel

    Oh I wish that would be my husbands response. Unfortunately, there’s always a list, plus homeschooling, weeds to pull, meals, baked desserts, homeschooling…. Maybe I wouldn’t be too tired to spend time with him..

  • http://www.servingjoyfully.com/ Crystal

    This is so ironic because my husband said the exact same thing to me a few nights ago. Blessings to you and your family!

  • Kelly M.

    YES! I think my husband would like the same thing. One thing I’m striving to be…a kind wife!

  • http://snailpacetransformations.com/ Victoria Huizinga

    I never gave my hubby a list but one time I told him to list the top 3 things he wanted to see kept cleaned up in the house (I had a baby a toddler, was a new homeschooler and had a mom with terminal cancer at the time, so I was really overwhelmed) I told him, I didn’t have energy to do it all, but I would concentrate just on his 3 top things. He picked a toy free couch when he got home late at night, enough cleaned off kitchen space to make his evening tea, and laundry washed and dried, but it didn’t have to be folded or put away. I was so surprised and shocked to see how simple his list was.

  • Anonymous

    I needed to hear this today. I am very task-oriented and as a mom and wife, that can definitely get in the way of my relationships with my family. God is definitely pressing his finger on this area of my life right now. Your words and your challenge were God’s gentle reminder to order my day and use my time in a way that places more importance on the relationship I have with my husband and kids than the order of my home or how many things are slashed off on my to-do list.

    Thank you again. God bless you.

  • Jandtcase

    Love this!

    And, I also have 5 kids…1 girl and 4 boys! :) How fun! I’m praying about home schooling, but can’t seem to decide if this is the way to go or not! :/ Decisions!!!

    Thanks for this post!

  • Sarah C

    What a lovely post! I get so worried sometimes when I leave the messes to curl up with my husband on the couch like he loves (we haven’t been blessed with children yet). This helps remind me that it’s okay and I should do it more! Our relationship is the most important.

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  • RHodkinson

    You have no idea how perfectly well-timed this was for me. My heart is overwhelmed by the way it spoke to my aching heart and told me just what I needed to hear. Thank you

  • Vienna J.

    Thanks for posting this!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for posting!

  • sweetenedcondensedmilk

    So, so blessed to have a husband that wants a happy wife who will love him forever..that is pretty much the only things he really wants..sure a clean house and yummy food are nice..but my devotion to loving him and my contentment is what makes him the most happy..

  • jennibell

    Thank you for this. We’re always challenged with the things that are the hardest, huh? A list I can do. . .”be kind”??? There aren’t any boxes to check, steps to do, or instructions to follow. . .hmmmmmmmm. . .but I know what it means so I’ll have to concentrate on that!

  • Ro elliott

    We are neighbors at WWLW…great post…so many times we do what we think our husbands want instead knowing and listening to them…I love your husband’s response. We complicate life…guys really just want a few simple ways to know they are appreciated…respected and loved. I wish I would have learned this sooner in our marriage…but God is faithful…I can say 31 years of marriage and it just keep getting better. Glad I hoped in…blessings~

  • annonymous

    in our house it’s my husband who is not saying “no” to activities and getting enough rest to be nice to me (and the kids) when he gets home…when he is home, he falls asleep on the couch or is cranky and yelling…just saying it’s not always us wives who fall into this trap.

    • ME

      Here too… :(

  • http://www.redemptionsbeauty.com/ Shelly Miller

    His response reminds me of the way my husband would respond and I’m just thankful for Godly husbands who love us more than the other stuff we think makes us acceptable. Lovely post.

  • Swksgrl

    hmmm..reminds me of a story about two women: Mary and Martha…

  • Sandra Folger

    I feel like my husband might have written this. He says the same things to me!!!! It’s unbelievable! Glad to know that other moms feel the same way too. Thanks for posting this. A great reminder.

  • Desiree Slusher

    Thank you for this post!!

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  • Bob

    After he has slayed dragons all day, he just asks that the woman he loves be nice to him. With too many wounds the dragon slayer stops coming home.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001563398411 Jessica Daily

    Love this so much~~ Thank your Husband for his true insight of what really counts~~~~
    Blessings, jess

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1368655714 Dana Miller

    WOW!! My husband just told me basically the same thing…..and my kitchen counter is full of dishes, but instead of going crazy cleaning and working, I watched a movie last night with my husband, and it really hit home later that night…when he was praying with me before bed, he thanked God that we just got to relax and be together…he just enjoyed being with me. What a guy <3 :*)

  • Felinafeathers

    Thank you for sharing this, I know I can learn from this. Thank you again for being real- while I want my husband and children to be happy, I know they want me to be too. You’ve reminded me that too often, I am that snappy, unhappy, stressed out wife and Mama and I know that’s not pleases God or my precious family.

  • Tim

    Thank you, Joy, for this note. I am actually a husband who has been married for just over a year. All the time that I’ve been married so far I have been obsessed with what are my wife’s duties. We have struggled, I have struggled, and she has struggled. I realized when reading what your husband wrote that I have been so wrong! Yes, my wife has duties. But I have been WAY more focused on what she need to do rather than who she is in Jesus Christ. Thank you for the reminder to live with my wife in an understanding way. She is truly a joint heir and way more worthy than I.

    • Beth

      It sounds like your marriage was about keeping a “contract,” rather than a covenant of love, Tim. I hope things are going well!

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  • http://www.smallishblog.com/ Evelyn Rennich

    This post rocked my world. My sweet husband has tried to communicate this idea to me several times, but it never clicked like it did once I read this article. Thank you so much– what a release to realize that what I do will never overshadow how I act. What a great application of 1 Corinthians 13!

  • http://www.facebook.com/kenmullins Ken Mullins

    Love this — this is what Romans 8 says about our relationship with GOD!

  • Rebecca

    Your post resonates with this workin’-outside-the-home momma’s heart – never enough time to get everything done! God has continually impressed upon my heart this summer that I shouldn’t spend so much time doing things FOR my family that I forget to do things WITH my family.
    Good stuff – keep it up! :)

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  • http://www.facebook.com/charity.pratt.1 Charity Pratt

    Thank you so much for this post! As a newly wed wife (just coming up on one year!), I’m always feeling like I’m falling short of “the bar.” If the house isn’t clear and I don’t have dinner beautifully presented and scrumptious, I’m a failure for the day. It’s so encouraging to hear that our husbands want a wife that loves them supremely and everything else falls behind that. Thank you!

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  • Anon1234

    Except my husband is demanding and. Oils care less what is going on in my life and no I am not over involved with outside activities. He is just a tyrant.

  • That Kind of MAN

    Believe it or not men want to be loved and appreciated more so than all other things. If I know my wife truly loves me I’ll live in a cave with her, struggle financially or whatever as long as I have her love there’s nothing I will not do or manage through.

  • http://www.facebook.com/naomi.brown.1257 Naomi Brown

    Thanks for your post. I really needed this advice. My husband would say the same, but I am too hard on myself.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jill.johnston.79 Jill Johnston

    So wish I would have learned this when I was younger. But it’s never too late.

  • Sad, and leaving

    Your husband is lucky(blessed). I’ve led our family into the faith, worked hard so the kids could be home schooled, and been intimately involved in raising my sons and daughters… and can’t remember not feeling lonely and longing for a kind, loving, and intimate relationship with my wife. Kids are moving on; can’t take the coldness and the anger any more.

    • Joy

      I’m sorry to hear this. It makes my heart sad. BUT, I know our God is a God of restoration, and so I pray, no matter what the outcome, that God will bring restoration to your heart. Blessings.

      • Sad, and leaving

        Thanks Joy, I forgot I posted this over a year ago and your response comes at just the right time. Moved the kids into a new home 12 days ago, just before school (to their relief) and they are happy and peaceful. Just replied to her separation notice yesterday, so thanks; God has a way of providing grace when we need it. Thanks for listening to His H.S. And thanks for the good your post has done for many others. Blessings to your family…

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  • Lydia

    Thank you — I am just starting to explore your blog and archived post. This is very helpful to me! I am so glad I finally made my way over here – even though I have seen the name dozens of times on WomenLivingWell. = )

  • Jennie Rose L.

    I know my husband could have said those exact words– that is his priority too. Being a full time SAHM, homeschooler, ect. I have *enough* on my plate without adding other things to it- I have a genuinely “low maintenance” husband… he just wants loving kindness. ::sigh:: Makes life so easy and wonderful.

  • Melissa

    Hi! I loved this post… However, I was wondering if you have any ideas for what to do when you are married to a husband who is a perfectionist and quite demanding and generally unhappy no matter what I do? It’s very frustrating. I’m a home school mom of four kids (still at home) (nine altogether), pastor’s wife, author, and more. I just can’t keep up with all of his expectations.

    • Beth

      Melissa, this is a tough spot to be in. Your husband is reflecting his own inner turmoil by his demands. Sometimes when a person feels out of control internally, they seek to control the external just to calm the “noise” inside. Try not to take it personally. After 20 years of homeschooling, my biggest regret is that I let too many things take me away from that priority – even housework & “ministry.” But showing our husbands love is critical – not by meeting all their demands, but by sitting down with them, looking into their eyes and telling them how important they are to us. They may not be able to hear it, but we can only do what we can do. Best wishes.

    • SKYQuadD

      Melissa, I am praying for you and your husband and your children! <3

    • Joy

      Hey Melissa,
      I honestly don’t have good advice. I’m just a young {ish} wife myself and I don’t want to claim to have the answers, BUT I know the One who does, and you do too. I would count it a privilege to pray for you and your situation. Love and prayers to you.

    • Dahlia Kensington

      I can relate…My husband isn’t a “perfectionist” however, he does have ways of pointing out when things aren’t quite right.

    • DawnMom

      I completely understand. I too had a husband who was demanding and unreasonable in his expectations. There was a long time where his demands were so overwhelming and his response so anger-filled that i didn’t think our marriage would survive. What I learned is that when he was feeling like a failure and overwhelmed he was projecting that onto me. What he really needed was for me to be affectionate and validate him. He needed me to hug him for no reason, tell him how much I admired and respected him. He needed me to make that little effort to notice HIS effort! The thing is that there are some things you must really respect and appreciate about him, but how often do we as women express that? I was failing him as much as he was failing me. He was telling me about something at work one day and I realized that he wanted ME to be impressed. That my opinion mattered more to him than anyone else’s. I realized that my husband was being beat down at work and by the world around him, and he was broken. He needed a soft place to land and a wife who built him up. men are far more fragile than they let on.

      It also was important for me to realize that I could speak truth to my husband without being disrespectful. He needed to hear the truth from me! After a particularly long day with my own little ones (we only have 5, aged 11-2), he made a comment about the state of the house. I laughed and told him, “After the day we have had, you should be thankful we are all alive and Momma is still sane and not sitting in a corner muttering jibberish!” It was a low-key way to let him know just how rough our day had been. It also spoke truth to him -getting the point across clearly- without questioning the way he asked or condemning his expectations.

      When scriptures talk about a “meek and quiet spirit” the word for “quiet” in the origional greek is the same word used for a calm mother with a fussy child. It. mean unruffled. It means not letting other peopl’s “fuss” get to you. ddon’t let his “fuss” get to you! honor God, do your best and keep walking.

      You can’t to any of this without leaning so heavily on God’s grace! I cannot take credit for a single good thing! He deserves all the credit for every single thing possitive from me or my marriage! Ask for grace! BEG Him for grace! he will deliver. I clung to Matthew 11:28-30. He really does give us rest.

      I will be praying for you both. I will pray for you to have overwhelming grace to step day-by-day. I will pray that God blesses him with grace as well. I will pray that you find such deep love and acceptance from God that you are able to weather the debilitating criticism he throws at you. I will pray that you will be able to recognize his own brokenness, and minister to his own heart even when yours is aching. I will pray for God to do a powerful work in your heart and marriage. That God wil be glorified!

      You aren’t alone. God still does miracles!

    • Monique Maryssa…

      I can understand to the degree that I, too, have a husband who is a perfectionist. Like Beth, I discovered that a lot of that perfectionism comes from a lack of understanding about love and unconditionality. I would imagine that being a pastor’s wife, you’re being hit with the double whammy of not only dealing with “perfectionism”, but also the erroneous understanding that “perfectionism is God’s will” on top of a potentially wrong understanding of what “perfectionism” even is.

      All that being said, I’ve discovered that one very good tactic is simplifying the to-do list as much as possible (question: do you HAVE to be an author?). Then, it helps to directly PRAY for your husband in the “perfectionism” department e.g. asking God to direct and guide your husband in the area of perfectionism and to reveal to the both of you the truth of it, as well as to repent of any way it’s affecting the both of you and the whole family in a negative non-God willing way. Some people might say that praying doesn’t do much, but being that you’re one flesh, one body etc etc your prayers have a PARTICULAR strength in regards to him. PERFECTIONISM can destroy souls. Not to cause issues with you and your husband, (that’s not my point AT ALL) but it does help to beg God to reach into this area in your husband and specifically HEAL his past experiences and OPEN his heart so that you can both love each other better.

      I specifically have prayed that way and have seen mountains moved. My husband now admits his tendency to perfectionism and actively works to keep an eye on it and CHANGE it. In the beginning, he considered it a virtue. Now, he does not. While we talked about it a little bit, the prayer had more effect and caused the “house” to come tumbling down quicker. It’s good to want to do things well, but there’s a line when it becomes oppressive. Also, I discovered (like Beth) that in praying for my husband’s perfectionism… it began to be revealed that he equated love with perfectionism and needed to know that he was heard, he was believed in, he was supported (he hadn’t experienced a lot of that growing up or in his adult life). I found that the more I listened and the more I directly asked him questions about how he felt, what he was going through etc…. the more the “perfectionism” began to dissipate and a more appreciative and affectionate man came out. He feels “safer” to be vulnerable as time goes on. Perfectionism is simply a cloak for protection against hurt. It might seem more complicated because of all the expectations, but at heart is a little boy who is afraid to be vulnerable.

      I’ll echo Beth in the other area as well… to communicate the truth in a loving way. Heck, make a joke out of it, but pray for ways to tell your husband that certain things are too much. It can be a challenge to stay peaceful, calm and loving when you feel your husband is railing you… but if you pray for the grace to stay clear eyed, loving and calm … God will give you the right words to say in the timing that is necessary so that your husband will LISTEN. Sometimes, just listening the whole way through his rant without either 1) coming back at him or 2) bowing your head in submission and taking too much responsibility… can cause a man to go more supple. Then, if you make it a point of saying “I love you, support you and believe in what you’re doing. How can I love you better?”… it can act as a wake up call. You might have to do it a lot before it FULLy registers, but it will get him thinking differently and that’s what you want!

      Don’t know if any of what I said helps at all, but I do know that praying for your husband is a POWERFUL thing and it’s a particular charism for the wife that NO ONE else possesses (Not even the mom). HAve you ever heard of the book “Power of the Praying Wife”? I highly recommend it as it highlights all the areas that a MAN needs prayer. Not that you wouldn’t recognize the importance of prayer, but maybe it would help to know what you need to be praying FOR specifically. Please let us know how it goes!! love, hugs and prayers =)

    • Melissa

      I just wanted to share an update since I have received so many kind responses here of late. Just after I had written this comment above I read in a book titled Boundaries in Marriage that when one spouse is overly controlling even to the point of being emotionally abusive that often the relationship must be brought to a crisis point for there to be change. So that’s what I did. I drew a line in the sand and told my husband things HAD to change or I was going to leave. (No I didn’t want a divorce, but he needed to know he was destroying me. Things did get better, but not as much as I needed. He was still angry a lot with me and the kids. In June of this year I told him I had had enough and I announced to the children that I was going to leave – my husband had to know I was serious. After a summer of having 15 people (family members who don’t exactly respect my time and home) in the house for 6 weeks that I had to cook three times a day for and clean up after (11 of whom were children) and he didn’t and wouldn’t agree that it was too much. I was exhausted and already suffering from severe emotional and physical burnout. I couldn’t take any more. He begged me to stay. He cried and cried and promised to change.

      And you know what? It’s like he’s become a new person. He’s almost never angry anymore, he values me, he treats me with respect, he is more helpful, and we hardly argue at all any more. We have fun together again and he’s become more focused on spending quality time with me and the kids.

      My husband was abused as a child and he is and always has been very insecure. His mother is very controlling and I have always believed that his controlling perfectionism was rooted in that. I think he realized now how damaging it has been. I praise God. It really is a miracle. It’s been 3 months now and things are sooo peaceful in our home.

      Here’s the thing. Someone mentioned “do I really need to be an author?” I have the right to pursue my dreams. I have the right to work hard – not at the expense of my family – but it’s okay for me to have free time to work on things that are important to me. I don’t spend hours everyday writing. I’m lucky if I find the time to write once a week. But I would never control my husband’s time and tell him that his dreams were of no importance. I would support him to the best of my ability to see that he has what he needs to make those dreams come true. God has not called me to lay down my life for others every minute of every day. We all need down time to rest, relax and do things that are enjoyable. No one can keep up that pace forever – it’ll break a person every time. That’s how people reach burn out status like I did. We all need time each week to rejuvenate our souls, to express ourselves creatively. Some women like to craft, I like to write. And that’s okay. God put that inside of me.

      IN every relationship it’s important to have healthy boundaries. I decided what my priorities were – my home, my husband, and my children. But I will no longer allow anyone to take advantage of the fact that I am a nice person, a giver at heart. We all need boundaries.

      Thank you ladies for your prayers and words of encouragement. I so appreciate it! I’ve learned so much through all of this. God is faithful!

  • Kendra Pope

    Such a good reminder! Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Stephanie

    We *just* moved into our first apartment. Prior to this, we stayed with other people. I’m also 38 weeks along, and I’m nesting hardcore.

    We have fought so much in the last few days because I want so badly to get things done, but the boxes are too heavy to move, and my whole body aches. Even tonight, after I got out of the bath that *he* ran for me, I got annoyed with him because he didn’t preheat the oven before making *us* dinner, and the living room was covered in moving stuff.

    Reading your blog really threw me into perspective, and made me realize I needed to stop freaking out. I know I’m nesting, and stressed because I want to have my home ready when our baby comes….but not at the expense of the sweet joy of a happy evening with my husband.

    I’m gonna go see if he wants to watch a movie. ^.^

  • http://twitter.com/crystal_frank Crystal Frank

    Tears are streaming down my face right now. My husband has been telling me that for a while but I was not “getting it”. It finally connected with your note…he doesn’t need/want me to be perfect or a maid. He wants me to love him…thank you…you have changed my heart and I’m sure my husband and kids!
    (just found your website thru pinterest…love it! Praise Jesus for your honesty and encouragment. May God bless you!)

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  • Andi

    Wowsers. I’ve been married to my wonderful man for almost a year and I need to be *almost* constantly reminded of this… I had such a clear picture of what a “good” wife should be, and I was so wrong! Not saying that doing good wife things isn’t right, but I so often miss the BIGGEST “good wife thing” which is – being a sweetheart! Yup, more important than homemade bread!

  • future mommy

    Hi Joy, I am Tonnie Brayman and I just found your blog today via pinterest! I would like to tell you that I LOVE your website and am eager to learn how to be a future godly wife and momma! I am currently dating the love of my life and am so happy I found some great tools through your blog! Thank you so much for sharing your parenting and spouse experience with me. I am enjoying every bit of it.

  • Simone

    I certainly had a nudge in my heart while reading this. I work 40 hour a week, and on the my last work dry try squeezing every single house hold chore into about 5 hours. Laundry, cleaning the bathroom, changing sheet, towels, vacuuming, sweeping and mopping floors. We only have a 2 bedroom apartment but you get the idea. The Lord has been nudging my heart to spread that out, so I have time to enjoy my husband each day instead of stressing over things with lower priorities. Thank you for posting this, your story is just more conviction on where my priorities need to be, to be a kind loving wife.

    Thank you,
    Simone H.

  • http://twitter.com/BeckyRosty Becky Rosty

    LOVE this. You are such an inspiration. I wrote a similar story, about how a warm and welcoming heart is more important than a warm and welcoming home sometimes. My husband said “your heart is my home, not this clean or not clean house we live in. Get your heart, my home, ready for me when I come home :)” It was so encouraging! I am a young wife and find so much truth in your words… Thank you!

    http://beckyrosty.wordpress.com/2012/12/29/active-prayers-for-your-husband-part-5/

  • OregonWife

    You are lucky. I gave my hubby happy/friendly/affectionate but what he wanted was the other stuff and didn’t really care so much that I was so lovey. Never hurts to ask while you’re figuring out what to prioritize. Now he has a clean house and an angry wife.

    • SKYQuadD

      I am praying for you and your husband… <3

  • Katie

    Thank you for this post! This is exactly what I needed to hear today. I needed this as a reminder. I get too caught up with the exact same list.
    Katie
    godslittlegrace.blogspot.com

  • http://twitter.com/kristinhtaylor Kristin Hill Taylor

    My husband and I have had similar conversations and I feel so much freedom when he tells me it’s OK that I didn’t thaw the dinner I had planned and then we load up the car to eat at Zaxby’s, again. We’re blessed by these guys of ours who get it.

  • http://upsiedaisymommy.blogspot.com/ Mary A

    “…therefore anything I do or say is given the benefit of the doubt that I
    LOVE YOU.”

    That is so key. We wives act like we’ve forgotten that so often. Thank you.

  • A.Barnes

    Thank you for sharing this simple reminder! I saw this posting “shared” on FB and now I have subscribed. Looking forward to reading future postings about HIS simple truths, we often forget.

  • Cathy (mercieschild)

    This sounds like my awesome Godly husband. He loves being with me and we have so much fun and when I start to get too busy he says, just come sit with me. Humm sounds a lot like Jesus to me ;) hugs, Cathy K

  • inseattle

    As a husband of only a year and a half, i am so blessed to have found this guys response so early on. i have a hard time expressing myself, and when my wife came across this blog post she shared it with me. this is exactly how i feel, AND my wife struggles with feeling like shes “not being a good wife”. thanks so much!

  • Brenda Gliko Peterson

    Great Article. FIRST THINGS, FIRST.

  • Heather E.

    I did the same thing as you and my husband responded just the same as you. However, I’ve forgotten it. Thank you for the reminder to be kind and rested. It is the best way I can serve my family and love them back.

  • Amy

    This is so the message I needed to hear today. I just put a prayer request in my Bible study group’s facebook page, and it was that I’m feeling overwhelmed with all that I have to get done. And that my attitude has been stinky lately. Maybe I need to step back, REST (oh boy, am I a crab when I don’t get enough sleep), and just be nice to my hubby. :) Thanks!

  • http://www.fieldstonehilldesign.com {darlene}

    oh, you have a wise hubby, joy. thanks for reminding us!!!

  • Junevy

    My husband died last November, I am still pushing myself to get things done – why?
    I prefer to have certain things clean and finished, I don’t always feel I achieve the standard that I set myself. I can stand some dust around, but bathrooms and kitchen I prefer – in a clean state – so it is ‘presentable’ if anyone visits unexpectedly !
    I think we housewives push ourselves – not for anyone else, husband or children.

  • N Jones

    I really needed to hear this. I was near a meltdown this past weekend and always strsssed. I put more pressure on myself than humanely possible to live up to and end up exhausted and miserable. Thank you for the reminder of what truly matters!

  • Gabrielle Daigle

    Wow, wow, wow, this was beautiful. I think we all fall into this kind of wifehood at times.

  • THE Bombshell*

    Oh my word!!! lol!!! I don’t know if you meant for this to be funny, but I literally lol’d! Because…. he sounds sooo much like my husband!!!!! Thanks for the reminder, though! :)

  • nicuk

    I like this post a lot- not so much for his response but because you asked!! Its important to remember that all our husbands are different and different things will demonstrate to them that we love them (See The Five Love Languages), what we forget to do is work out what is important to them. The best way of finding that out is by communicating.

  • Overworked

    I do it all. I work as a nurse in a major trauma ER. I clean the house, cook the meals, make the lunches, do the grocery shopping, do the laundry, and pay the bills. I’m tired and snippy and overstressed. Sharing the load seems like the reasonable solution only my husband will admit he is lazy and doesn’t care if the house is clean. I grew up with a mother who was OCD and need to have some order of cleanliness or I go nuts. Especially with animals in the house who have pet hair all over my hardwood floor. I wish there was another solution.

  • Jess

    This really hit me at the right time! I’ve been having a hard way to go with trying to please everyone and not getting any support from my hubby! but in my stressing to be the best cook, good mama, bus driver, friend and maid, I’m losing my kindness! I needed to read this, step back and regroup! thanks for sharing this with us!

  • John Mallon

    American Woman’s Disease: Perfection through DOING STUFF. When men turn to pornography it is because (among a million other delusional and pathological reasons) the woman depicted is THERE for him—intimately and completely (or at least that is the illusion). Men don’t generally spend money on magazines or websites depicting women doing the dishes or making him lunch. Martha you are anxious about many things, only one thing is necessary….

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