Lisa Belkin wrote a great article about what it means to be a wife, both at our age, and at our mother’s ages. In the Motherlode Lisa talks about the evolution of our marriages. She notes that “Women still seem to want to be brides… and mothers… but we rarely describe ourselves as wives.”
That made me sad.
Being a bride was pretty awesome. Being a mother is incredible. Being a wife is my joy.
I don’t want to be my husband’s partner. In his lifetime my husband will have a multitude of partners. He’ll have partners at work, he will have partners in projects. My husband will have tennis partners and golf partners. If I do this right, my husband will have one wife.
I chose my words with care, you did not misread.
I assign great value to my role as his wife. I may not work outside the house, but what goes on in this house is work. I know people believe that everything can be farmed out. I understand that there are perfectly content families who eat their meals out most nights, where both parents work, and husbands iron their own shirts. Bless you, but I don’t want your life.
When we married we signed a ketubah. I promised to be a good wife, and he promised to care for me. We’ve followed some very traditional roles, and it’s not because we are adverse to a non traditional setup, it’s because this is what makes us both happy.
When it’s 9:00 on a Thursday night, and I’m finishing the dishes and wondering if I have the energy to give the floor a quick swipe with the mop it’s easy to wish that I was my husband’s partner. I’d love for him to do half the housework. Well… but then I remember that what really tuckered me out what the sadist in charge of the 10am yoga class. We don’t work harder than one another, we just work different hours.
If I were a woman working outside the home, I’d be no less a wife. Every moment you are married, you are wedded not only to your husband, but to the concept of marriage. You work together as a team to make a collective dream come true. I don’t know what your dreams are, but I hope you can achieve them with your spouse.
Being his wife means that I’m special, that he will take care of me, and I will take care of him. Being a wife means until my last breath I have one allegiance. Being my husband’s wife makes me able to be a better mother, a happier and more fulfilled woman. Being my husband’s wife assures my children that they will have a home, not just a house.
Sometimes being a wife means mopping the floor and putting on a little lipstick.
Since I didn’t marry until I was 27 and my husband didn’t marry until he was 32, I fully expect that both my children will need to know how to sew a button, earn a living, balance a checkbook and to live alone. I also know how to take the trash out, catch and gut a fish, earn a living and scoop the dog poop. I don’t actually do these things though, because I’m a wife.
My job is to provide my husband and our children with a rich and harmonious home. I suspect that if you asked my husband, he would say the same.
I’m a wife. I love being a wife. I suspect many women feel the same way.