United We Stand

Unless We Don't See Eye to Eye

Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life. (Prov. 31:10-12)

Oh, oh. I don't feel like my husband found one. At least, not today . . . well, not this week . . . okay, so maybe longer. Worth? Somewhere around a "cat's eye" marble. Today, my heart has not been a safe place for him. I've been grumbling and complaining all day. I have every right to, you know. I have my list of things that should be, my record of wrongs, my catalog of hurt feelings, and of course my ready reference to past infractions. Yes, I have it all.

Years ago, I thought I wanted to be an attorney. I would right every wrong, bring justice where there was injustice, and I do have a knack for arguing! The sharp tongue, the in-your-face attitude, the evil-eye . . . yep, I've got it all and it comes natural to me. Why, I'd be a millionaire.

Oh, I know what you're saying . . . not you? Surely you are just being too hard on yourself. I've seen you interact with your husband and it's . . . magical. Though, that is true of us MOST of the time, we have our combustible topics, just like anyone else.

If it were up to my husband, we'd never fight. He's not a fighter. He doesn't like conflict at all. He's a lover, not a fighter. He's always ready to let me have my way . . . but that's not good enough for me, oh no, I have to "win" fair and square. So fight we must, until I say the fight is over. Yuck. I wish it wasn't so. I wish I'd learn to give in, but I can be so stubborn.

I'm a bit like the woman in this story:

A man and his wife were having some problems at home and were giving each other the silent treatment. The next week the man realized that he would need his wife to wake him at 5:00 a.m. for an early morning business flight to Chicago. Not wanting to be the first to break the silence (AND LOSE), he wrote on a piece of paper, "Please wake me at 5:00 AM," and laid it on her night stand. The next morning the man woke up, only to discover it was 9:00 a.m. and that he had missed his flight. Furious, he was about to go and see why his wife hadn't woken him up when he noticed a piece of paper on his night stand. The paper said, "It is 5:00 a.m. Wake up." (Men are not equipped for these kinds of contests.)

The Bible says we are to "confess our sins one to another that we may be healed." So, just let me confess, okay? I'm prideful, stubborn and self-righteous. I confess. Wow, I feel better already. Anyway, this is much easier than going into the other room and telling my husband I'm sorry. (He never visits this Web site!) Wow, that's some kind of stubborn, huh? You mean I have to go and tell him? Of course, I knew it would come to that. I will. I just want to wait a few more minutes while I finish my written confession of imperfection!

Well, the Proverbs 31 woman is a figment of the writer's imagination, you know. She's like Barbie . . . she's not real! That is my excuse for not trying to live up to the lofty ideals mentioned there. Even the writer says, "Who can find one?" Evidently no one ever has! I mean, come on! She does him good and not evil all the days of her life. What about PMS? That should be an acceptable excuse for some "off" days, shouldn't it? Now, don't get me wrong, I have some good days where I "do him good and not evil." I even have some good weeks (though, this isn't one of them), but all the days of my life? I think not.

Ministry marriage is one of those "high risk" relationships anyway, and deserves some "special consideration." Plus, being a pastor's wife is a tough gig and nobody seems to be writing a manual about how to do what we do. Though, I know what I should do, and I even write about it, I still struggle with doing it. How can I serve him best? How can I assist him in his calling? What if I don't see it the way he sees it? What if I don't agree? How can two walk together if they disagree? How can we share about how we feel and still stand united? It's a mystery to me, but I know that surrender is the key. I don't like to surrender — before surrendering — but I feel good about surrendering — after I surrender.

I share my feelings, my thoughts, my suggestions, but then it's up to him. After I share, I will have to trust him, believe in him and pray for him. Man, that's hard to do, but it is the right thing to do. Complaining, griping, criticizing and mocking sure aren't working. I think it is time for a new strategy. How about loving, trusting, praying and encouraging? (I'll let you know how it works out for me.)

I would love to think that my epitaph would read, "Stephanie Wolfe, Virtuous Woman," but it probably won't . . . especially if I die this week!

Article copyright © 2004, Stephanie Wolfe.
All rights reserved. International copyright secured.
Used by permission.

Stephanie Wolfe is a ministry wife at Calvary Christian Fellowship in Duluth, Ga. She is an international speaker at ladies retreats, conventions, marriage workshops and leadership conferences, a stand-up comedian and author of Mentoring Women. Additionally, she is the founder of a ministry for ministry wives called
"Mates in Ministry."