I have a confession to make and I’m not really looking forward to letting it out.
So, here it goes…
I’ve been cheating and so far, I’ve gotten away with it.
Before you start drawing your own conclusions, let me make myself perfectly clear. I haven’t been moonlighting with some rogue, mystery lover or taken up an online beau. Instead, I’ve been putting my husband and my role as his wife in second place to the things I want to accomplish. (You don’t think that sounds like cheating? Then I suggest you continue reading!)
You see, I am a rather ambitious girl. I have places to go, people to see, and things to do. At least, that’s what I tell myself. I tell myself that the dishes can wait, the bathrooms can be cleaned another time, and the shoes on the floor really aren’t that noticeable. I decide that breakfast isn’t that important, the bed can be left unmade, and supper can wait just a little longer. I’ve repeatedly chosen just five more minutes to spend on marketing or proofreading or reading or studying or whatever it is that I’m working on at the moment. I’ve put my husband second and the sad thing about it is that it hasn’t even fazed me.
We live in a pretty busy world and the expectation of women being busy – often for their own personal career advantage – has become old hat. We no longer live in an age where afternoon teas and formal dinners are the norm. And in most parts of the country you’ll be hard pressed to find a homestead that requires milking the cow by hand twice a day and drawing water from the well out back. We live in an era of multi-tasking and smartphones. An age of wives who can hardly make time to put a home cooked meal on the table, let alone keep the house in order.
I’m not saying that we don’t try. No, I think most women have great intentions to present their husbands with a magazine house and well crafted lunches, but we are so frequently told that our careers and our advancement in this life are critical to personal success that we lose sight of our real purpose, our God-given calling and first priority. We buy into the lie that everything else matters more and without realizing it, everything else truly becomes the more weighty factor in how we run our lives.
I’m not here to advocate a lifestyle of women who are strictly housewives and stay-at-home mothers. I understand that for some, this may be the calling the Lord has laid upon their hearts or the place they feel best suited, but even the Virtuous Woman in Proverbs 31 had a thriving side gig going on amidst the many demands of being a wife. We are told that she is highly resourceful, making things by hand and finding ways to stretch the family budget (Proverbs 31:13-14, 19). We see a woman who is business savvy and well read on whatever purchases she needs to make (Proverbs 31:16, 24). We find a woman who does not skimp, but makes sure that the family needs are met however necessary (Proverbs 31:17-18, 21-22, 27). Yet, not even all the demands and responsibilities of life keep her from the most important responsibility of being a wife; generosity and spiritual wisdom (Proverbs 31:20, 25-26). But what is the most important things this woman does? It’s not making a great deal on buying land or keeping her kinds in line. It’s this:
Her husband trusts her completely. With her, he has everything he needs. (Proverbs 31:11 NCV)
She is a women trusted by her husband to fulfill all his needs. It can be easy to read this chapter and skip over the significance of this verse at the very beginning of the text. We see a
busy productive woman – the ideal woman, if we are honest with ourselves – and so often we only see the volume of what she’s completing instead of the reason she does what she does. Our pursuit of being virtuous in providing for our husbands has to begin with putting his needs at the top of our priority list and our aspirations next. This isn’t an excuse for men to shirk on their responsibilities at home or for us to become doormats. Instead, it is the deliberate choice to get off the couch, turn off Netflix, set aside the laptop, and put down the phone, or whatever else it is that is keeping us from being wives who prioritize our husbands over all else.
Overcoming the temptation to cheat your husbands in the area of a clean home, a place to sit down after work, a warm meal, and a little bit of dolling up (come on ladies, part of this is making an effort with your own appearances to honor your man) is hard, but to change the way we prioritize life, from ambitions-first to husband-first, must begin somewhere. We won’t just wake up one morning and decide that providing for our husbands needs is the number one job we have. We are more likely to wake up one day to a husband who cannot take the mess and lack of hot food when he rolls up from a long day at work. And the reality is, nine times out of ten, he won’t say anything about a messy house until it is too late.
Maybe making this change requires cleaning out a lot of items you don’t need.
Maybe it requires you to say, “No,” to a few things.
Maybe it will challenge you to spend a season focusing entirely on putting your household tasks first to honor your husband.
I don’t know what it looks like for you, but if you ask the Lord for direction, he will most certainly give it to you.
I’m done cheating on my husband. My ambitions are not worth it. They may seem like a big deal in the present, but I didn’t sign up for marriage to be the wife who puts her husband and home second. I said, “I do,” with the intention of making my man first. Not my ambitions, desires, children, career, friends, or anything else.
One very important thing we have to realize is that cheating doesn’t always come in the form of another man. More often, it comes in the form of something else that pops up in our life. That something else may seem great, but the bottom line is that marriage is for a lifetime. That something else can wait.