Our entire first year of marriage, I had a perception of what the perfect wife looked like and I worked hard to make that ideal a reality in our home. The picture of perfection that I tried to maintain included making a homemade meal every night, maintaining a clean and spotless home every day, planning an elaborate date night every week, and a few other housewife type duties. For the first year of our marriage, I never made the same meal twice, unless it was a hit or I wanted to make something tried and true for company. Every week I put a lot of time, energy and thought into what we would do for date night. My cleaning routine from our first apartment is still engrained in my head because I went through it so often. I almost feel like I dusted the front room every day. People always commented on how clean our apartment was and Joe got comments on the leftovers or sandwiches that he brought for lunch every day. I was the perfect wife.
Four years of marriage me sometimes feels like a failure compared to first year of marriage me. I rarely if ever spend more than half an hour preparing dinner, the house always seems to have some sort of mess to clean up or project to be done and some weeks, even if I've planned something fun and exciting, we end up getting take out and watching something on Netflix for date night. When I think about how dedicated I was to my "wifely duties" in year one, I'm motivated to be better, but I also try to remind myself that those aren't the things that determine my worth as a wife. I've realized that there's more to being a good wife than cooking, cleaning and date night.
I Make Sure my Husband Knows that He's Loved and Appreciated
There's never been a shortage of 'I love yous' in our marriage, and even though I know that we always mean it, I feel like sometimes, saying those words has just become a habit and we don't necessarily think about what they mean. Showing Joe that I appreciate him involves all five love languages, even the ones that he doesn't necessarily care about. I serve him by making meals, and taking care of some of his usual household tasks when he works longer hours. Every once and a while I surprise him with his favorite treat or something that I know he's had his eye on. Our house might not be spotless and Joe made not have something homemade to eat at every meal, but I always hope that he knows that I care.
I Spend Time With my Husband Daily
I've mentioned before that our new, baby accommodating work schedules don't leave room for a lot of together time during the week. We look forward to the weekend when Joe works earlier shifts and we have oodles of time to work on house projects, go out on a date, catch up with each other's lives and just hang out. Us time only on the weekends isn't enough for me, so every night after the baby has been fed and put to bed, we watch an episode of our current Netflix addiction, eat some ice cream and enjoy each other's company. Making sure that I don't let all of the other things going on in our lives get in the way of our relationship is one of the most important things I can do for my marriage.
I Lowered the Expectations I Have for Myself
When I finally admitted that I can't do it all and do it perfectly, I felt better. I've learned how to prioritize the things that I have going on and am a little bit better about not taking too much on at once. I know that I have to focus on time with my family, work, and my grades first and then if there's extra time, I tackle the rest. That might mean that some weeks my house is a complete disaster and we might not eat an elaborate meal every night, but as long as I'm putting forth the effort, it doesn't matter.
First year of marriage me would have saved herself a lot of time, and energy if she'd gotten her priorities straight earlier on. My marriage was still a priority, I was just focusing on the wrong things when trying to be a good wife. Not that they weren't appreciated, they just weren't the most important and they got in the way of my other roles. As we continue to move through the different stages of life, the things that I need to focus on will change and I'll need to adjust accordingly, but I'm glad that I've know how to make my marriage a priority and still accomplish other things in my life at the same time.