When I think about marriage, there are definitely a few things I wish I had known before walking down the aisle to say “I do.” After becoming a wife I have had to learn the hard way of how significant my role as a wife truly is. The hard way being through cause and reaction, my behavior causing a reaction of hurt in my husband.
If I had the opportunity to talk to my daughter about marriage there are three specific areas I would address that would help her embrace her role as a wife.
The first would be that life skills are vital to being able to serve your family. I did not know my way around the kitchen well enough when I got married. This lack of knowledge stirred up insecurities in my heart and mind. I felt inadequate in my ability to simply make my husband a nice dinner. Meal planning and preparation is still an area of struggle for me. Taking up lessons in cooking, cleaning, sewing, and other house management skills would really empower a young bride to embrace her role of being a help-meet.
The second would be taking very seriously the verse in Ephesians 5:22-24 that says:
“Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.”
A wife is called to submit to her husband and to respect him. This does not mean she is considered a doormat, readily available to endure abuse. Rather this is a beautiful command that God gave us to guide us through marriage. A wife can submit and respect her husband through communication, decision making, and body language just to name a few. Submission is strength and self-control exercised in marriage to honor God.
The third thing I would teach her would be rightly defining sex and intimacy. Entering into marriage I thought the two were synonymous. I thought if my husband and I were not having sex, then we did not have an intimate relationship. The truth is that sex is a way to experience physical intimacy, but intimacy is much more than that.
Intimacy is becoming familiar with one another which includes becoming better known through conversations, doing things together as friends, asking intentional questions, being present, paying attention to details, and even praying together. In talking about sex and intimacy, in an age appropriate way, I would also address the truth that sex can potentially be a great thing or may be a source of discomfort, but that either way it should be embraced by a husband and wife as a journey of becoming one. If there is an issue with sex, I would encourage not to be embarrassed but rather be willing early on to seek help to find healing.
These three areas of marriage are things that I really wrestled with as a new wife. Within a few years of feeling inadequate as a wife, I was ready to give up, divorce, and try and find true love elsewhere. I am so grateful that God saved our marriage and helped me learn these things I shared above. Now after celebrating 8 years of marriage we are happier and more fulfilled in our marriage than we ever have been!
I hope that women are more intentional with the generation of young girls being raised up to teach them and equip them for marriage that will lead to thriving relationships. I believe the more open and transparent we are in talking about these issues, the more faith and perseverance they will have to endure through seasons of hardships, instead of giving up. Thus, the reflection of God’s love story will be more evident in the beauty of marriages done according to the way God always intended.
As a young bride, Jennifer Smith couldn’t wait to build her life with the man she adored. She dreamed of closeness, of being fully known and loved by her husband. But the first years of marriage were nothing like she’d imagined. Instead, they were marked by disappointment and pain. How did Jennifer and her husband survive the painful times? What did they do when they were tempted to call it quits? How did God miraculously step in during the darkest hour to rescue and redeem them, tearing down the veil once and for all? Jennifer wrote her recent book, The Unveiled Wife, as her real-life love story; one couple’s refreshingly raw, transparent journey touching the deep places in a marriage that only God can reach.
Jennifer’s Book The Unveiled Wife is published by Tyndale House Publishers. To win a free copy for yourself, check out our contest page and enter to win!! We’ve got four copies of the book to give away, plus one lucky winner will walk away with a Family Meal Deal from Papa Murphy’s!