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An Excellent Wife {Construction School for Wives}

Construction School Button It’s Wednesday here at Quiet Graces and that means today is the day where wives are digging in to the dirt in our own marriage and, with God’s grace, growing to be better wives. Today Chelle is visiting from Treat Me to A Feast.

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An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones. Proverbs 12:4 (ESV)

We’ve been married 20 years. He truly is the love of my life, and Lord, You know, I do everything I can to be a good and loving Christian wife, all Proverbs 31 and such. Friends and family have often heard me say, “absolutely, I’m an obedient wife….particularly when it suits my purposes.” On this particular day, obedience was easy.

I’d bragged to my husband this morning about a tip I discovered online for DIY laundry detergent. I was all excited and ready to make it, but, then my “spidey sense” tingled and I thought I better let him know. (Thank God for a spidey sense, female intuition, it’s all a Word from the Lord…call it what you will). I have a houseful of people with allergies and sensitivities, so I’m constantly seeking out opportunities to stay close to natural, save money, and still efficiently get things done well. I even listed the all-natural, good old fashioned ingredients (two already in my pantry) to my Dearly Beloved; he wasn’t.

Here I am, trying to do the right, thrifty, good for you, frugal (did I mention that?) thing. Are you ready? Dearly Beloved says “baby, buy the Tide.”

We have an high efficiency (HE) washer, a lovely splurge purchased a few years ago when the washer and dryer that came with the house died. We did our research. I looked for something compact, efficient, and

inexpensive, but I am thankful as is so often the case for my husband, who is a “measure twice, cut once” kind of man. His guidance was to look for the most richly feature packed, efficient, compact set I could find that I liked (I chose a Kenmore set in blue, my favoritecolor), under the theory that we buy the best we can afford thereby avoiding the need to replace those units for a good 15-25 years.. Covering my bases, I’d even researchedindependently whether DIY detergent was HE washer friendly….there are special, lowsudsing detergents sold for HE washers….regular soap will ruin them, leading to expensive repairs (I had a friend live through that nightmare….that was a lesson I could learn from).

Undeterred by my diligence, my darling husband said he’d pay for Tide over a visit from the Kenmore man. Here’s my praise report in obedience…I smiled and said “okay…yes, dear.”

I kissed him on the nose and he left for the office. Over. Done.

I was having a conversation with my BFF yesterday about not taking things personally. As women (wives, mothers, friends, professionals, etc.) it must be the way we’re wired. I’m sure that there was a time in my life when I’d have felt the need to defend my position, not very curious) just wasn’t my hill to die on that morning. It wasn’t that important. I’m not suggesting that you make a habit of capitulating, but rather that you pick your battles, and learn, in the interest of a long, happy, and mutually satisfying marriage, that you don’t always have to be right. Or, and hold on to your seats here, because it’s about to get radical, you may actually be right, but you don’t have to have the last word.

Is it more important to be right than to be at peace?

My blessing? On that day I lived my day as a Happy Wife, rejoicing in my happy place. It’s a good place to be, because as you probably know, your happy place keeps moving. Staying in Joy, living in Grace is a movable target. It requires diligent prayer, constant striving, and more humility some days than you might believe you have available.

Can you think of a time when you got it right? If so, what lesson can you take away for the next time you are challenged? Is there a situation that you’ve handled poorly? If so, pray over it. Make amends, be accountable for your shortcomings, and then, seek out your husband to let him know you’re going to do better.

And now, because today has so far been a good day, I’m off to bask in my happy place, while I know where it is….and with that, I say, stay under construction, Godly wives. What you’re building is worth it.

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A little about Chelle

Growing up in the Baptist church a fourth generation preacher’s kid, Chelle Wilson married an Anglican. She boldly seeks God, and thanks her Dad for releasing her from denominationalism, instead encouraging her to embrace Theology and chase Truth. While she is a fiercely private person, she enjoys two public worship forms, liturgical dance and writing.  Dance freed her, providing a language for expression beyond words. Dance is her prayer language. Writing is humbling, sometimes terrifying, but always enlightening. Hers is a quirky but reverent perspective on God and Grace.

She started blogging to replace a big job that went away. Formerly a Human Resources Executive in the entertainment industry, she suddenly became a Stay-At-Home-Mom, not entirely by choice. Writing started as something to do, but evolved into an ongoing journey to draw nigh to The One.  She and her beloved husband have two beautiful children, a gorgeous Boxer, and 20 years of wedded bliss. She maintains a joyous relationship with the Creator, even as she learns difficult lessons while hearing His loving laughter on the wind.

Find her at Treat Me To A Feast:Notes From My Abundant Life, on Twitter at @treatmetoafeast or on Facebook. Chelle is the Director of Community Engagement and a regular contributor at www.CirclesofFaith.org. She also writes regularly for Christ Centered Home Magazine.

 

Dear Strong Willed Wife {Construction School for Wives}

Construction School Button It’s Wednesday here at Quiet Graces and that means today is the day where wives are digging in to the dirt in our own marriage and, with God’s grace, growing to be better wives. Today I’m writing a note of rebuke and encouragement to the strong-willed wives. I can’t believe I wrote this… I’m not sure I want to read it.

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Dear Strong Willed Wife (of whom I am the chief),

You can’t do this on your own.  The reason you feel like you’re doing it all alone in your marriage is likely because you are.  Because you won’t let him help. And worst yet, you likely won’t ask for what you need, instead believing the lie that he should read your mind.  Speak up.  Ask for what you need.  Odds are pretty good he’s just been waiting to step in a rescue you from distress, when you’re ready to let him.

And while we’re talking about how you can’t do this by yourself, I want you to hear this, too. You can’t always have your way. His way might be better than yours… but it might not.  Either way you’re going to have to ask yourself: is this worth the fight in the end or can I surrender here to his wants?

A continual dripping on a rainy day
and a quarrelsome wife are alike;
to restrain her is to restrain the wind
or to grasp oil in one’s right hand. Proverbs 27:15-16

That’s us.  Do you want to be a continual dripping on a rainy day (with three toddlers climbing the wall and shrieking in your house)?  I thought not.

Let’s resolve together to count our husbands as more important than the cause we’re championing.

Submission is freedom. It’s not a curse.  It’s a bowing of your strong will to another so that you can enjoy your relationships.  Strong willed wife, submission might also be a a place to help you grow in godliness.  After all Jesus hubled himself and “did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.  And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:6-8)”

Maybe humbling ourselves is the best thing we can do for our marriage.

What else have you learned being a strong willed wife?  How can we encourage each other toward godliness?

Working through this all with you,

Melissa (Chief Sinner of the Strong-Willed Wives)

Let’s Ring His Bell {Construction School for Wives}

Construction School Button It’s Wednesday here at Quiet Graces and that means today is the day where wives are digging in to the dirt in our own marriage and, with God’s grace, growing to be better wives. Today Julia is going there again. Her desire to live with her husband intentionally has her encouraging us to find ways to “ring his bell.”

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So. After writing my last post, I had Salt n Pepa’s, Let’s Talk About Sex, running through my head for days.

Any day with a little Salt n Pepa is a good day, I always say.
When I set about to writing for this series, my intention was not to talk about sex, necessarily, but rather loving my husband intentionally.
Sometimes when I write things, the idea I have in my head is not at all what I end up with in the end. I was always really terrible at outlining those five paragraph essays in school.
Anyway, before I move on, a disclaimer:

Sex is an uncomfortable topic—for some. And peering into someone’s bedroom, is even more uncomfortable (sorry Mom and Dad). You should know that Brad reads these posts before they’re published, and he has full nix-the-whole-thing-right-before-it’s-due power. Several people told me they didn’t think their husbands would have been cool them putting it out there like this. Brad, rather than decoy, avoid, or make void the topic, was open to letting me talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be. We pray that this peek into our lives encourages mamas in the same weary season of life, or maybe prepares you if you’re not a mama yet.

So. On intentionality.
I don’t know that I have one love language.
I feel loved when people are intentional. We’re all busy people, right? But, when someone takes a moment to

 

  • bring me a cup of coffee
  • give me a hug
  • spend time chatting with me
  • create the perfect gift that they know I’ll appreciate
I feel loved. Because I know…giving is sacrifice, and people give to what they love.
Giving takes intention. It takes planning and work.
In this season of life I have come to appreciate, even more than before, the people who have poured into my life. Because it’s a choice. And when we give to someone/something it takes away from something else.
When I haven’t slept a stretch of 3+ hours in over two months, and my husband brings up that he wants some lovin’, really, that’s a wake-up call to me—after I calm down, maybe the next day or something—that I haven’t been intentional enough.
Not in the guilt-trip sorta way, but the this-is-the-man-I-love-more-than-anyone-else-on-this-planet-and-I-need-to-love-him-well kinda way.
So, yeah, Brad likes sex sometimes (so do I)—that’s one way he feels loved and connected to me. He also feels loved with words. And when I make him lasagne. And when we watch Walking Dead together, because zombies = love.
He really feels loved when I initiate sex/words/lasagne/zombies—just maybe not at the same time.
So, ladies. You’ve studied your man enough to know what rings his bell.
Be intentional.
Show some love to the human you love best in all the world, in a way he best feels love.
He may never have run through an airport for you, but he loves you by watching the kids while you work. Or by working long hours, so you can love your children at home, in yoga pants. Or by putting the daughter back to bed who needs her twisted covers straightened out at 2AM. Or by weeding your pumpkin patch. Or by making you coffee, even though he doesn’t like the way it smells. Or by putting the pacifier back in one.more.time.
I know you’re bone-weary, Mama.
So, make a plan. How will you love him intentionally today?

 

Seeing his Interests before Mine {Construction School for Wives}

Construction School Button It’s Wednesday here at Quiet Graces and that means today is the day where wives are digging in to the dirt in our own marriage and, with God’s grace, growing it better wives. Today Danielle is writing about putting the needs of our husbands before our own. Such a challenging topic for selfish folks like me.

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This month I’m going to be working on putting Adam’s interests before mine. There are so many areas that I thought I was doing this in, but realize that I’m not. So, for the next few weeks I’ll be chronicling this in a journal style. Here goes.

 

12 July 2013, Wednesday

Adam got up before I did and I was grumpy that he didn’t let me shower first. This meant that I came out later and that the kids were up – translating to, ‘no quiet time’. But God caused me to think. Maybe he needed to get to work early today, and wouldn’t I have been selfish to cause him to be late just because I wanted my time.

 

13 June 2013, Thursday

I received an e-mail from Starbucks today for 50% off an espresso beverage. There, larger than life, was a white chocolate mocha – my all time favorite drink. The first thought that came to mind was  “I know what I’m getting this week!”. But then I stopped because Adam loves toffee nut lattes. So, as much as it     pained me, (I admit it, I AM SELFISH) I forwarded him the e-mail so that he could enjoy the treat.

Phil 2:3

                   … In humility count others more significant than yourselves.

 

17 June 2013, Monday

I got up before Adam and was able to get to my quiet time today. But in order to love him and put his interests first, I put the coffee on before I sat down to read and write. This sounds so simple, but the desire for my wants is strong. I admit I glanced at my journal longingly a couple of times.

 DanielleBW

18 June 2012, Tuesday

Today my mentor brought by a dozen doughnuts- 3 of which had chocolate frosting. I split two for the kids and left the others in the box. Let me mention two things  – I’m undisciplined and I love chocolate. My husband also likes chocolate. I ate the last chocolate frosted doughnut. I gave in to selfishness. It won out and I gave into sin over a chocolate doughnut. When I put it that way, I want to hang my head in shame. Because isn’t that what sin is, sweet at first, but then leaves a horribly bitter taste on your tongue and a heavy ache in your stomach?

 

21 June 2013, Friday

Today is Friday! Tonight I actually got the dishes done before the kids went down for the night – an amazing feat all in itself. So, I sat down with Adam after some quiet time to watch something. Hadn’t quite planned on what he picked – clips from different late night shows. I admit, they were funny, but not on my top 10 things to watch (come on, what is really wrong with Downton Abbey?)

But, I had to stop and think. Maybe watching Jimmy Fallon’s ” Hashtags”  is relaxing to him. Maybe he needs the levity. So, I didn’t say anything. By God’s grace, I put my silly selfishness aside and sat with my husband and enjoyed the Roots rendition of Simon and Garfunkel.

 

2 July 2013, Tuesday

For weeks now the desire of my heart has been to go to a business conference at the end of this month. I’ve prayed a lot about it, repeatedly laying the decision in God’s hands. My husband and I talked extensively about it because it would mean his involvement on a large scale. In the end he didn’t want me to go. And though I was disappointed, I agreed.

His interests were more important in that moment. I wasn’t thinking about him in my desire to go. Just my wants.

But the surrender wasn’t as painful as I thought it would be. God’s grace is sufficient, isn’t it?

And this morning, after the alarm went off, my husband took me in his arms and whispered to me that there was no one else he’d rather wake up with, that I was his favorite person.

The tension that this desire was creating between us was gone. God had restored unity.

 

I won’t pretend that this month was easy or that I have this lesson of putting my husband before myself figured out. But I do know that God has done a work in me that has spilled over into my relationship with others. The extent of our selfishness is great, but God’s grace is greater. He has promised us that we can do all things through Him and that even means that you and I can put our husband’s wants and desires before our own.

 

The Great Deck Sit {Construction School for Wives}

Construction School Button It’s Wednesday here at Quiet Graces and that means today is the day where wives are digging in to the dirt in our own marriage and, with God’s grace, growing it better wives. Today Elizabeth is sharing an important challenge to not let our days slip away without intentional contact.

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It’s a summer thing. The deck sit. We light tiki torches and a few citronella candles. We pull out the special reclining chairs.
Construction School for Wives

We read.{Tablets and smart phones facilitate this, though we’ve been known to try to read regular books or magazines by the light spilling from the French doors.}

We listen to music, thanks to Bob, who’s wired speakers out to the deck, piping Sirius/XM’s “Spectrum” station {our favorite} out into the night air.

We talk, too. It’s something about being side-by-side like that without any expectation for talk that ironically draws it out.

But, this summer tradition has all but vanished. An unusually rainy season has enveloped at least half of our Friday nights — even if the day itself has been sunny, it seems the storms roll in right around 6 p.m. Trips and activities have taken up at least three or so weekends, and while fun, they’ve left us a bit spent. And, an extended family situation has come up that’s been taking much of my husband’s energies and attentions – and rightly so – when he hasn’t been traveling.

I’ve also been busy preparing a book proposal for a conference (link: http://seasonswithsoul.com/she-speaks-2013/) that starts tomorrow, so I have to be honest in admitting that I have been less present than usual for my family, but most of all for my husband {who doesn’t demand attention the same way a three-year-old who needs help on the potty or an eight-year-old who needs me to clean her newly pierced ears!}.

In fact, I have to admit that I’ve failed pretty spectacularly at being an intentional wife since my last post here.

I haven’t had a goal {other than a really fuzzy, overly general, never articulated “serve my husband and support him”}. I haven’t memorized pertinent scripture. I haven’t journaled or meditated or even spent much time in prayer over it.

The summer days, so utterly without structure {except for a week of VBS or Girl Scout camp here and there}, have just washed over us, and by the time they end {as late as 10-11 p.m. – for my newly minted night owl girls}, I just want to cry “Uncle!” and curl up in a ball – rather than be there for my husband.

But, I miss him. It’s ironic because Bob works from home; his office is in our basement, and he pops up throughout the day for a coffee or bathroom break, or to grab lunch. We’ll exchange a few quick words – usually about the day’s activities or an errand we need to run. And though we’re around each other most days, we are passing each other, tossing directives or quick, distracted bursts of conversation. We look at each other, but we don’t really see each other.

Construction school for wives

So, this past Friday night, I was determined to have our deck sit, no matter what. Right on cue, the dark clouds rolled in around 6:15 while Bob was grilling dinner, and it was pouring by the time we sat at the table. But, the skies began to clear, and we let the kids veg, playing video games for a half hour or so inside, while we pulled out slightly damp chairs and sat together. All too soon, we were interrupted.

Being both a couple and parents isn’t easy. All too often, we submit to the tyranny of the urgent {i.e., kid and home duties} and tell ourselves it’s ok when we’re too tired to be lovers. We tell ourselves it’s okay to just survive the day, and look past each other at night, when we should be drawing close to each other – physically and emotionally.

It’s not okay to give up on our marriages by placing them at the bottom of our to-do lists. It’s not okay to use up all our energies being parents and household drudges and have nothing left for our relationships. (<–Click to Tweet)

So, while I have not been intentional this past month, I have been craving my husband’s support and attention and affection – even though I don’t always show it. {And, that’s big news for this fiercely independent and sometimes standoffish wife.} And, I’ve been proud of him, how he’s handling difficult situations, how he’s been building me up with support for this conference.

I’m hoping you’ll join me, fellow moms and wives, in intentionally desiring your husbands more this coming month. That will be my goal. Crave their conversation, their touch, their opinions, their input. Tell them about your plan. {Use the words “crave” or “desire” and earn bonus points!}

And, pray. Pray when your heart wants to tally up his wrongs. Pray when you are disappointed about his shortcomings. Pray after you lose it and blow up at him. And then, pray some more.