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.
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.
But 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)?
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 that 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. They’re blessings God has entrusted to us. But we can’t focus so completely on them 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?