The Perfect Wife


#1

I have been married for a 1 1/2 years and I’m still at a total loss for what type of woman the ideal wife would be. I know marriage is a very personal adventure and no two are going to be exactly alike. However, there have to be some common themes among successful Catholic marriages. Why ideas what they are?

[font=Arial]Also, how do you judge your own marriage? What standards do you compare yourself to? What guidelines do you follow and who gave them to you? [/font]


#2

A little bit more background . . .

Sometimes I feel like I don’t know which way is up. My husband is not a practicing Catholic, so it is very difficult to apply the standard of Mary & Joseph to our lives. If I talk too much about religion, he gets annoyed. If I just try to be nice and go along with whatever he wants, I feel used. If I just do what I want, I feel totally separated from him and alone. He is very independent and can go a week without talking to me without noticing.

Unfortunately, I also have friends who are/were beaten by their husbands and it makes me incredibly mad. Wives seem to be completely ignored and used by the men who are their husbands. Men seem to be too stupid (or smart) to bother maintaining the marital relationship, so it falls totally on the woman’s unappreciated shoulders.

[font=Arial]I know there are good men out there, especially the Catholic ones – wherever they are. But I’m really struggling with this and the examples around me are not very positive. Sometimes I feel like if I was a better wife, he would appreciate me more or be more open to my religion. Other times, I just feel very angry because I’ve been abandoned to manage my relationship with my husband alone and maintain my spiritual life alone. [/font]


#3

You don’t need to compare or measure your marriage. Your marriage is yours and unique. No-one is perfect, as hard as they may try to be the perfect spouse, so that’s already a losing battle. But I’m sure you are perfect for your husband :slight_smile:

I know I have faults but my husband loves me anyway. We’ve been married for 14 years, he’s not Catholic, and that can make it harder over some issues but we are happy, we support and love each other, we consider the other when making decisions, we love our children and have goals together. To me, that makes the perfect marriage, flaws and all :slight_smile:


#4

**My goal is not to be the “perfect wife” - whatever supposedly that is.:rolleyes: **

My goal is to be the wife my dh needs. That is the only truely common thing I’ve ever found in good marriages. It’s not about who does what or being submissive. It’s the marriages where both are always working hard to be what the other needs that seem to work. It’s always choosing to love that other half. And l****aughter, that important in a marriage too. Some people insist on making marriage harder than it has to be I think.


#5

[quote=JGheen]I have been married for a 1 1/2 years and I’m still at a total loss for what type of woman the ideal wife would be. I know marriage is a very personal adventure and no two are going to be exactly alike. However, there have to be some common themes among successful Catholic marriages. Why ideas what they are?

[font=Arial]Also, how do you judge your own marriage? What standards do you compare yourself to? What guidelines do you follow and who gave them to you? [/font]
[/quote]

My mother was sort of a “June Cleaver” and she was a good Christian woman and mother in every way, so I guess I’ll say she is the standard I go by.
I’ve also been called a “Stepford Wife” by some, which I know wasn’t meant to be a compliment but I aim to please my husband and make the best home and marriage I can much to the chagrin of the so-called “liberated” women I know.:wink:


#6

I think that desiring your husband, as you did when you dated, is a very important quality in a wife. That takes a certain ordering of priorities for the woman… not at all easy but vital.


#7

[quote=JGheen] My husband is not a practicing Catholic, so it is very difficult to apply the standard of Mary & Joseph to our lives.
If I talk too much about religion, he gets annoyed.

You said you’ve only been married a year and half. Did he know about your faith then? It may not be talking too much about religion and the way you are talking to him. Is he doing something seriously wrong to make you gring up religion? Was religion issues not discussed before the marriage?


If I just try to be nice and go along with whatever he wants, I feel used. If I just do what I want, I feel totally separated from him and alone. He is very independent and can go a week without talking to me without noticing.

There is a happy medium ground there you know. You don’t have to always go along or always do what you want. Pick your battles and be carefull not to make everything a battle. For example I wouldn’t like it, but I would go to Mass without my dh. It wouldn’t be an arguement, I’d just go - kwim? If he wanted to go to a movie I’m not particuliarly thrilled with, I’d say it wasn’t my first choice, but sure.


Going a week without talking to a spouse in not an independent thing - it’s the silent treatment. Either he knows what your issue is and is hoping it’ll blow over if he keeeps his mouth shut or he’s mad at you too.


Again, was it this way before the marriage??

Unfortunately, I also have friends who are/were beaten by their husbands and it makes me incredibly mad. Wives seem to be completely ignored and used by the men who are their husbands. Men seem to be too stupid (or smart) to bother maintaining the marital relationship, so it falls totally on the woman’s unappreciated shoulders.

**That’s hooey. Sounds to me like you have a bunch of man hating friends and you’re letting it cloud how you deal with your husband. Find new friends. Men do handle things different than women, but that isn’t the same as not caring about their marriage. **

[font=Arial]I know there are good men out there, especially the Catholic ones – wherever they are. But I’m really struggling with this and the examples around me are not very positive. [/font]
[font=Arial][/font]
[font=Arial]My dh is not catholic and takes great exception to the man-hating women out there. If you look around you and can’t find good examples of men and women - you need to find another locale.[/font]

[font=Arial]Sometimes I feel like if I was a better wife, he would appreciate me more or be more open to my religion. [/font]
[font=Arial][/font]
I’m sure that’d be true. The question is what kind of wife does he need? You must accept that he is not Catholic and may never be. It is your obligation to love him and be a good wife to him regardless.


[font=Arial]Other times, I just feel very angry because I’ve been abandoned to manage my relationship with my husband alone[/font]
[font=Arial][/font]
No. He’s there too. And you aren’t supposed to “manage” him - just love and care for him.


[font=Arial] and maintain my spiritual life alone.[/font]

No again. You have the Church and the Lord and thousands of saints and angels to help along the way. No living person can walk your path to God with you. That is personal and spiritual - between you and God alone.

[/quote]


#8

Why did you marry him? I am not being funny, I mean it, why did you marry him. Be really honest with yourself, list all the reasons, even if they aren’t the “best” or most romantic.

Does he still have these qualities? Do you still have those needs?

Every relationship is an agreement of sorts, an arrangement of needs, emotional and practical. What did you provide for one another during dating/engagement? What were you hoping for?

Marriage is much like any other relationship. It is not ever going to meet some outside standard, it is what it is, what the couple makes it. The difference is, we committ to marriage more deeply and in a sacred way. There is the third entity, the divine, in marriage as well.

Sometimes people get fooled my TV and self help books into thinking their spouse is supposed to be their best friend, ultimate lover, perfect spiritual partner, shoulder to cry on etc etc. ALL the time. No one can be all things all the time. My hubby is my best friend, but I have girl friends too, because there is a bunch of stuff I like he is not interested in. And frankly, I get stone cold bored hearing about every detail of his work, and I’m glad that he has friends from work he can hash it out with.

He likes music and movies I hate, and vice versa.

So, we share many wonderful things, but there are things we don’t hassle the other with either.

If, sometimes I need him to “hear me out” or act as a sounding board about something, he can and does, and I do the same for him.

It is easy to get caught up deciding how a spouse should act, what they should say, what they should …fill in the blank. We can do this to the point that we blind ourselves to the really good stuff they are doing, because we are matching them against some idea of a spouse we got into our heads.

It would be terrific if my hubby loved to share some of my hobbies with me, but he doesn’t. He supports them in other ways, by allowing me the time and freedom to persue them. by providing funds for me to persue them. By taking care of home/kids when I go to a show, etc.

I went through a similar stage as you earlier in my marriage. It is not uncommon. I encourage you to invest in yourself, it is an investment in your marriage. It is a huge pressure to put on anyone to make them responsible for your happiness and for being the kind of wife you want to be.

If you want to be a great wife, be it. Don’t say, “I coulda been a great wife, but he didn’t do XYZ…”

I am sort of old fashioned. I cook, bake, etc. I don’t do it for kudos. I do it because that is the kind of wife I decided to be. If he doesn’t remember to comment, well, I would have done it anyway, because that is who I am. He shows his appreciation in other ways. Like coming home every night, depositing that paycheck, picking up our kids from their friends house, etc. etc.
Those are no small things…do you remember to thank him for putting in another day at work? For putting the clothes in the dryer and having the tires changed?

Sometimes we are so busy looking at what they don’t do, we forget that we haven’t shown our appreciation either!

cheddar


#9

Thanks for the advice, Cheddar. Your words are kind and I can accept them, even if they challenge me. It also gives me a great deal of peace to know that I’m not going crazy – that other people struggled with this too.

My husband and I both work at high-stress job. I put in 50-hours/wk. during non-busy periods - which I’m in right now. DH works 70 or more hours/wk. It is easy to forget about each other or take our marriage for granted. But I also often find myself home alone at night and resent the fact that DH is somewhere else. He could definately work less hours, if he choose to, he just wouldn’t be paid quite as much. I think we need time together more then money.

We have not fully adjusted to married life and sometimes act more like roommates then spouses, in my opinion. We just need to figure out how to be married. That is what is driving me crazy. We are two bright intelligent people - why is it so difficult to figure out. Maybe we are just trying to make to too difficult as one poster suggested. That is totally possible.

Just a note about our spiritual differences. DH was baptized Catholic but never given any other sacraments by his family. His mother was non-practicing Catholic and his father hated all organized religion. He was taught that being “spiritual” was preferably over being “religious”, but that both were purely optional in life. When we started dating he seemed to have a zeal for Catholicism - attending mass with or without me, attending special lectures on Catholic dogma and thinking/talking about spiritual issues. He even once stated that “it was only a matter of time” until he became a full practicing Catholic. And I believed him.

We dated for several years but only after we were married did I realize that this was part of his courtship of me and not part of his own desire. Now he says that he learned enough about Catholicism during our courtship to know it isn’t for him. I feel like it was a bait and switch situation. He knew very well that I wanted to marry a Catholic man and have a Catholic marriage. I don’t believe that he intentionally mislead me, but sometimes it feels that way.

[font=Arial]He ignores or forgets anything religiously oriented now. He gets annoyed when he makes plans for us on Sundays and then has to change them because I have to attend mass. He sometimes gives me a hard time about going to confession or a lecture on Catholic issues. He thinks I am wasting my time/money anytime I invest them in spiritual pursuits. He won’t pray with me at home because he thinks it is superstitious and silly. I feel like I have no spiritual connection with him at all, which is hard. It is almost hard that I try to put so much effort and sacrifice into developing my spiritual life and he doesn’t value it at all. [/font]


#10

The perfect wife always honors her husband and is as concerned with his salvation as her own…that pretty much says it for me. Every wife and husband for that matter has a different way in which they honor their spouse and care for their souls…it is what works for your marriage. I was married to a man that forbid me to go to mass and very selfish and coniving…wasn’t a marriage at all, it was a hostage situation…Thank God he left and never came back!


#11

So sorry about your last post…

When we started dating he seemed to have a zeal for Catholicism - attending mass with or without me, attending special lectures on Catholic dogma and thinking/talking about spiritual issues. He even once stated that “it was only a matter of time” until he became a full practicing Catholic. And I believed him.

We dated for several years but only after we were married did I realize that this was part of his courtship of me and not part of his own desire. Now he says that he learned enough about Catholicism during our courtship to know it isn’t for him.

This is exactly how it started for me…then got worse.

He won’t pray with me at home because he thinks it is superstitious and silly. I feel like I have no spiritual connection with him at all, which is hard. It is almost hard that I try to put so much effort and sacrifice into developing my spiritual life and he doesn’t value it at all.

Studies show that a couple that prays together and has an active spiritual life have less than 1% divorce rate as opposed to the 50% national average. That is so sad! I will pray for you!


#12

[quote=BlestOne]The perfect wife always honors her husband and is as concerned with his salvation as her own…that pretty much says it for me. Every wife and husband for that matter has a different way in which they honor their spouse and care for their souls…it is what works for your marriage.
[/quote]

Trust and a great book to read is Fascinating woman.Of course loving him always like that first love. Wonder and amazement.


#13

Here is my quirky take on it. People think marriage is materially different from other family relationships, but I don’t think it really is. It is very much like other family relationships, we desire acceptance, and getting our emotional and physical needs met. Yes, there is the sexual element, but the basics are the same…people need each other. We are not complete on our own. We need, and we need to be needed. We need to have something to contribute our effforts and talents to.We need feedback from those around us. A family is a special thing.

I think it can be tricky, when two established adults marry, to adjust to “need” in such concrete terms.The “Want” and “desire” of courtship are so much more glamorous than “need” which occurs in everyday life. Someone needs to take out the trash, do the ironing, mow the lawn, feed the dog, burp the baby.

Somehow, we feel it is better if we do things because we “want” to, that it is somehow more pure and valid, but need is the commerce of everyday life.

Making the switch from “wanting” to be with one another, “desiring” to impress one another, to “needing” to care for the other can be a real challenge. Resentment creeps in and we find ourselves grumbling “he can juggle 97 clients but he can’t put his socks into the hamper…” and you know what…it is true!

I am an intelligent talented woman, but there are some really basic stupid things that I am helpless about. I need my spouse for some really inane things. And that is hard for me to accept and admit about myself. And it can be hard for him to do the same. It isn’t glamorous, or romantic. It isn’t what we feel a “mature” relationship “should” be, but there it is.

When two people come together after managing career and finances and single life…it can be hard to admit our own needs and accept both our limitations and the limitations of our spouse. We come face to face with some hard truths about ourselves and our beloved. We realize that we are vulnerable and that love is vulnerable, that we have thrown our lot in with something less than superman/woman. That we no longer control our own destinies and are subject to the risks, as well as the joys, that couplehood brings.

Our personal fears can easily be projected onto our spouse and become blame and resentment. Even when looking at what we could not accomplish alone, we now decide they are the thing holding us back.

My spouse and I are very different spiritually and religiously. He does not stop me from doing my thing. He knows it is important, even critical to my well being, and therefore, since the two have become one, to his well being as well.

but it took years for us to learn this. Marriage is a work in progress. A constant coming of age. It will have its moods and stages just as any living thing will. Here is what people forget…That life alone is not smooth either! Some folks want perpetual courtship and jump from partner to partner when the mood changes. They never get a chance to cash in on the interest of a relationship they kept investing in. They always withdraw early so they can deposit in a new bank and receive the free gift!

Life is scary and hard and challenging and joyful, whether married or single, whether a parent or childless. That is the nature of life. It is not always a case of us doing something wrong or being with the wrong person, it is often just the nature of the beast. Marriage has its seasons.

cheddar


#14

[quote=BlestOne] I will pray for you!
[/quote]

Thanks! I could use some prayer power - especially from someone who knows my current struggles and pains.


#15

[quote=Toni]Trust and a great book to read is Fascinating woman.Of course loving him always like that first love. Wonder and amazement.
[/quote]

Just did a quick Amazon search . . . do you mean Fascinating Womanhood by Helen Andelin?


#16

[quote=JGheen]I have been married for a 1 1/2 years and I’m still at a total loss for what type of woman the ideal wife would be. I
[/quote]

just for curiosity, are you the husband or the wife?
read your other posts and answered my own question, also saw some red flags. If your husband is ignoring you, living as if he is not married, treating you badly, especially if he is abusive physically or psychologically, the problem lies with him, not in you being a bad wife. You need counselling bad and you need it now. We will pray for you.


#17

[font=Arial]Cheddar – Yours are incredibly thoughtful and intelligent words. Thank you so much for sharing yourself with me. I feel as if I am receiving a response from C.S. Lewis or the like. Thank you.[/font]


#18

[quote=puzzleannie]just for curiosity, are you the husband or the wife?

[/quote]

Oh - the wife!


#19

Thanks for your concern. I am not being physically abused. My husband’s silence can be pretty cruel, but I’m not sure if it constitutes psychological abuse.

Most of the marriage books I’ve read say that if you have problems in your marriage, it is your fault. One poster said as much as well. I am willing to work at my marriage but it is nice to hear that it might not all be my fault.


#20

[quote=JGheen]Most of the marriage books I’ve read say that if you have problems in your marriage, it is your fault…
[/quote]

get some new books.


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