In my continuous pursuit to be a better mother and wife, I am often attracted to books that address these topics. Last weekend, I finished reading When a Woman Inspires Her Husband by Cindi McMenamin. There was even an entire chapter dedicated solely to a wife encouraging her husband to dream, so I think it is definitely appropriate to write about what I gleaned from this book in my blog!
When a Woman Inspires Her Husband was mainly based on the fact that men need to feel respected in a relationship and want to feel successful in what they do. Many of the things that I read, were not necessarily new to me, but it was a great reminder of how much sacrifice is required to have a truly healthy marriage. I’ll be honest, though, that there was a point when I was reading this book that I started to get a little upset. I felt McMenamin wrote this book for women in the 1950’s. It was like she practically assumed that the wives reading this book would only have responsibilities within the home and that the husband was the sole income-earner. I’m not a stay-at-home mom. I am the one in our family with the stable income. I don’t have time to cook every night. My house would not pass a white glove test pretty much any day of the week. After reading the chapters about “Easing his Burdens”, “Making His Home a Sanctuary”, and “Giving Him Breathing Room”, I practically felt like McMenamin was describing the job of a personal assistant.
When I was thinking about this during my commute to work one morning, I thought of the verse, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13). And then I realized that sacrificing my selfish wants and dying to myself every day is laying my life down for my husband. Interestingly enough, McMenamin actually refers to this same verse towards the end of her book. Do I have a lot on my plate? Yes. Is my number one priority the well-being of my husband and family? Yes. Do I have a lot to learn still about being a good wife? Yes. McMenamin used a great quote from the book 6 Secrets to a Lasting Love by Dr. Gary and Barbara Rosberg: “The more encouragement and affirmation he receives from his wife, the easier it will be for him to discern God’s voice.” Consider me humbled. And if that isn’t enough, check out this take on the well-known passage in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 that McMenamin refers to from The Message:
“Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
The biggest thing that I took away from this book was that I need to let Adam lead. Often times, I am the planner and the organizer, so I automatically tend to make decisions or have an idea already in my mind. So combine my female multitasking ability with a personality-type that trusts my own judgment to logically evaluate the best option, and you can see why this would be a challenge at times. This was a wake-up call to me, though, that I need to step back and let my husband be the one to evaluate and make final decisions (still with my input of course, wink!).
At least there is one area where I feel like I do a good job, and that is encouraging Adam’s dream of having a successful career in music. McMenamin talks about wives being a cheerleader for their husbands, and I can say without a doubt, I am my husband’s biggest fan! Let’s be real – I started a blog on this topic, people! Despite the current financial instability and lack of a clear path, I trust that God has a purpose for my husband’s musical gifts. I hope that my unwavering belief has been, and will continue to be, inspiring to Adam. I think that’s a main reason why God put me in his life. And I’m thankful that I have a husband who tries to see how his musical aspirations fit into his family life and not how his family can fit around his music!
I will continue to work on having a servant’s heart, but I know my vocation of being a wife is more than just being a glorified personal assistant!