At the beginning of mine and Eric’s dating relationship, it was easy for me to be a gracious girlfriend, after all, through the ‘girlfriend’ lenses that I was wearing, the guy I was dating could so easily walk on water! I was a gracious girl who thought being gracious toward my guy was effortless.
Then I became a gracious bride-to-be. This wasn’t hard either since we were married 6 months after we had started dating. Yes, I was living a whirlwind romance! And what bride-to-be, who has been swept off her feet, is not gracious toward her groom? I’ve yet to meet one.
I think most brides start off their marriage with the intentions of being gracious toward their man, after all, who would want to marry a guy they were constantly displeased with?
But then the marriage begins…
Like all marriages, the exhilaration of ours died down and the settling of our lives took place, hence, becoming a bitter wife seemed so much easier than being a gracious one!
I remember a defining moment in my marriage when I was attending a Bible study years ago. I had been married less than a year. There I sat with all older women; women who had been saved longer than I had been and women who had been married longer than me as well.
I was hoping to learn and glean some wonderful nuggets of truth from them (and I did) but I also learned what not to do based on their words and actions. As a few women talked about their marriages and their men, what I learned from them was that they had bitterness growing in their hearts. They weren’t necessarily bashing their guys, but they weren’t exactly thrilled about them either.
I wondered what happened in their marriages.
What made them so disappointed? After all, these were all Godly women.
I pondered their perspectives and I mentally took notes. I remember that night so well back in 1998 and I resolved in my heart to not let myself become a bitter wife, however, I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to go about this! I knew I needed to guard my heart against becoming bitter toward Eric, but I didn’t think that thought process was enough to protect my heart. I felt I needed to be proactive is this pursuit rather than just reactive, therefore, I set out on a journey of becoming a gracious wife. I quickly learned that the prescription to ward off a bitter wife was to become a gracious one.
Below are some habits I’ve embraced in my life to help me in this endeavor. Of course, I’m not always perfect in this pursuit, but these habits have helped me from developing a bitter heart towards my beloved.
She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness. Prov. 31:26
8 Habits of a Gracious Wife
- Be consistent in reading the Word of God and remain abiding in Christ. Jesus Christ is the Source of grace, therefore, remain attached to the Source. A wife can’t pour out grace unless grace is being poured into her.
- I quickly learned I couldn’t be gracious in my own strength. I needed to rely on the power of the Holy Spirit to move in my heart to help me in this pursuit.
- I’ve had to keep my eyes focused on my sin rather than on my husband’s.
- I needed to go to the Lord with my concerns and frustrations first.
- I learned not to stuff my feelings. After I’ve spent time with the Lord, then I would respectfully express my concerns with my husband.
- When my husband failed or disappointed me, I had to learn to let things go and let God move in his heart.
- I’ve had to teach myself to focus on my husband’s strengths rather than his weaknesses.
- I would surround myself with other wives who desired to be gracious towards their husbands. If I couldn’t find any because they were just learning this biblical concept, then I would try to influence them! This pursuit was and still is a great source of accountability for me.
Live a poured out life for Christ,