Once you’re married, it’s important to remember to be your husband’s wife … and not step in as a parental figure. (Your husband didn’t marry his mommy!)
One evening a couple years ago, I was surprised by my husband’s request:
“Could you please stop treating me like I’m a child? I know what to do.”
Before you think I’m a naggy wife, I’ve always been very careful to heed the warnings from Proverbs:
- “Better to dwell in a corner of a housetop, than in a house shared with a contentious woman.” (Proverbs 21:9)
- “Better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and angry woman.” (Proverbs 21:19)
- “A continual dripping on a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike.” (Proverbs 27:15)
I didn’t think I was being a contentious wife … and I certainly wasn’t trying to be one. So what was happening?
After staying home with my toddlers all day, every day, I was used to giving instructions of exactly what to do:
- Use your fork when you eat, please.
- Do you have to go potty?
- Wash your hands!
- Please start cleaning up your bedroom now.
- Be careful not to spill!
Somehow, because I felt like I was in a continual training mode, I didn’t realize what was coming out of my mouth. I never realized I was instructing my husband – but I was.
Used to shepherding my children, I forgot to stop once my husband came home. Since he already has a mom, he doesn’t need another one!
His request was a good wake-up call to me. I realized I shouldn’t live on autopilot. I need to continually think about what I’m saying – and to whom I’m speaking. I also need to be mindful that I’m investing in my marriage, and not just cruising through daily life.
This also served as a great lesson in parenting to me. Just because I’m a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom and with my children every waking hour, I need to be mindful when I’m instructing my children – and when I also need to lighten up and have fun with them.
When I’m not actively Mom, I need to think about who I’m with. Am I being the best wife to my husband? Am I talking to him like I’m his wife (and not his teacher or mommy)? Am I trying to understand him better?
And am I treating him like I’m his wife? Just because he chooses to do things differently than I do– whether it’s the way he washes dishes, scrambles eggs, or takes the trash out– I don’t need to correct him. My way isn’t the only correct way in the entire universe. It’s just a way … and my husband’s way is just another way.
I know it’s very easy for stay-at-home moms to get stuck in a mental rut of caring for babies and the home. But we can’t forget that we’re more than moms and housekeepers. We’re wives – and women with unique interests.
We need to continue to put a lot of effort into our relationships – and try to scratch our own creative itches. We need to nurture more than just our children – not as yet one more thing to add to our long to-do lists, but to care for ourselves.
Please don’t misunderstand what I’m trying to say. We still need to put a huge effort into our motherhood. And we still need to nurture our children … we’re the only mothers they have. Our children and our husbands are blessings God has entrusted to us.
But we can’t focus so completely on our children that we forget everyone else.
If you’re a stay-at-home mom, I’d encourage you to think through your wifely reactions and speech – have you slipped into autopilot without realizing it?