Wednesday, May 28, 2014

When I Was a New Wife

I was at a party the other day, and ended up talking for a while to a girl who was about to get married.  She was so sweet and earnest in her anxiety about being a good wife and what that might mean, that she made me remember when Seth and I were newly married.  I had very different ideas of what it meant to be a good wife at that time than I do now, with all my infinite wisdom gathered during eight years of marriage.  (Kidding, people, kidding.  Like Grandpa said, 8 years is a long way away from 65 years like him and Grandma).

Back when I was a new wife:

* I ironed our sheets (yes, really).  I wanted to do everything Martha Stewart said a good housekeeper did.  I thought that she knew everything about running a home.  Now I realize that she is a good businesswoman, not a good home-maker.

* I thought that I was too special to do my husband's laundry (I'm ashamed to admit this, but it was true) or clean his bathroom.  I thought he needed to be responsible for his own needs.  I didn't realize that he was responsible for almost every important thing, outside our house, and that his work allowed me to be responsible for things inside our house, which is exactly where I wanted to be.

* I used to change out our seasonal decorating on the first of every month.  On the dot.

* I thought budgets were for uptight, annoying people who never had any fun and wore ugly clothes.  And yet, despite the money we were making and having several less kids than we do now, we sometimes ran out of money at the end of the month.  Huh.

* I got bored at home sometimes.  BORED.  I am never bored now.  There is almost always something that need my attention.  Sometimes I get restless, or lazy, or I don't want to do the work that needs to be done, but I am never bored.

* I was annoyed when my husband came home 15 minutes "late" for dinner.  Now, during picking and planting, he isn't home for dinner or weekends for weeks at a time.  Lesson learned.

* I thought I was literally always right.  Yes, seriously.  I thought I should always get my way (because I was right.  Obviously).  Now I realize that when we have a difference of opinion, my ultimate goal is a happy life for my family.  Don't get me wrong, if I think my way is best for everyone, I will still make sure Seth knows it.  But back then, when I said "best", what I meant was best for me.

*On that same note, I had no idea how selfish I am until I got married.  Oh my lord, the selfishness.  Poor Seth.  He is not naturally selfish. At all.  He is a patient man.

* I thought people really wanted you to bring fancy food when they asked you to bring a dish to pass.  After a few rounds of things like seared tuna crostini that got politely pushed around the plate, I finally figured out that what people really want is what their mother would have made, just better and fresher.

* I scrubbed my kitchen floor on my hands and knees, even when I was hugely pregnant.  Now I give the kids a couple of Clorox wipes and let them ice skate around.  Good enough is good enough.  Five children will really beat the perfectionism out of you, I promise.

*I was scared my in-laws (the nicest people in the world, I promise) couldn't love me the way I was, because we were so different. (Did I understand this about myself at the time?  Of course not).  So I had a massive chip in my shoulder, and I pretty much dared them to challenge me with my sweeping pronouncements about how Seth and I were going to live our life. And they never did, not once. Thank God they saw through my stupidity and loved me anyway, because they are two of my favorite people in the world, and they are truly my family too now.

It has been an adventure.  :)

Long story short, be gentle with yourselves, new brides.  You will make plenty of mistakes, and you will do plenty just right too.  There is no one way to be a good wife, but there are lots of ways to be the woman your family needs.  You will find your way.


  1. Shannon@ChickensinMyKitchenMay 28, 2014 at 12:05 PM

    Perfect timing! Sorry I missed it! Post more pictures soon!

  2. Newly engaged (2 days ago!) and as we start to make plans for our future, I've been praying that I make the right choices as a new bride and future mother. Wonderful words of wisdom! Thank you!

  3. Shannon@ChickensinMyKitchenMay 28, 2014 at 9:47 PM

    Congratulations Amy! I am so excited for you! You have been blessed with both a very wise mother AND mother in law, so I know you'll have great support! May God bless you two!