8 Habits of a Gracious Wife
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,
Hi Jolene, I’m wanting to be a gracious wife/woman of God. I need some advice…I have a lack of a self-image and am working on that flaw by replacing it with God-image. My husband and I sell auto parts out of home for income, when men come to get parts they sometimes bring their wives/girlfriends. The women sometimes show up with VERY low cut tops on exposing pretty much everything they have. It bothers me as well as my husband (he tries hard at NOT giving them any attention). Any advice how we/I need to handle this or what to say to them so that I am not attacking them with my words (which is what my flesh wants to do lol)but letting them know I do not appreciate them exposing what they have to my husband? I want to honor God and my husband. HELP!
Hi Jolene! Thank you for this post, I’ve been married for a month and the thought that constantly haunts me is the thought if becoming a bitter wife, I would never like that to happen. Your post was really helpful..:)
What a blessing to hear this has helped you.
I understand your dilemma, Jenny. Since those you are interacting with are mere acquaintances rather than close girlfriends you are mentoring, it’s best if you don’t confront the women who come to your place of business. They may not know the Lord and you wouldn’t want them to be offended by your words.
The beauty of your situation is that your husband knows he’s surrounded by women in the world who are immodest and thus, he’s wanting to shield his eyes! Immodesty won’t ever leave a woman’s heart unless she has Jesus is in her heart.
Thankfully your man has the Holy Spirit guiding his steps and piercing his heart.
Jesus never told someone to change their behaviors first. What he did say was, Follow me. And then, Go sin no more. Those are the same precepts you’ll want to embrace as well.
Jenny, I too have and do experience, sometimes when me and my husband are out somewhere, running errands or whatever, and their happens to be woman passing by that are dressed inappropriately. Naturally, men have it in them to look or make a comment to themselves. I will never understand it. Me and my husband both are Christians and have been married for 6 yrs. There are always going to be those kind of women out there that have no respect for the way they dress and or no respect for themselves or others that the way people perceive them. We as Christian women, have to be confident in knowing that our husbands may look at these, well if I weren’t a Christian woman I would use certain words to describe these woman, but.. we just need to know that our husbands are with us, not them. If your husband is a God fearing Christian, then I wouldn’t worry about it. A family that prays together, stays together. Naturally, unfortunately a man is going to look, as long as that’s ALL he is doing. Thoughts are no different in Gods eyes, its adultery, if he is thinking inappropriate things in his mind when he sees these so called women.
Like you, I don’t condone revealing clothing. But I’ve learned to trust my husband and trust the Lord. There probably isn’t anything you could say to these women without coming off as condescending or rude. The one thing you could do is just pray for them. I’m learning more and more to pray for people I may have issues with. Your heart will become more compassionate. The women who don’t dress modest and appropriate may not have a relationship with Christ. But praying for intervention for them, just may bring them closer in some way!
Best Wishes and Prayers
Oh my goodness… what a great devotional for me today. My husband and I have been fighting the past few days about something. He has hurt & disappointed me… he had apologized in a text message this morning… but… there was a “but” after it. That hurt me more. I accepted apology in response back… but I am still “fuming” over it. This read is helping me think about him differently and I am also reading your 31 days to a better marriage series and on day 4, “You want Him to Change”… WOW… coincidence? I don’t think so. But how do I stop “fuming” and show him grace when he has hurt me? I’m struggling with this and how do I talk to him now? I do think this is a small hurdle in our marriage and we can overcome it. It’s something that has happened in the past and just don’t want him to think its ok to do again and again. So I feel I need to express my feelings. Is that wrong of me? Because his “but” after apology was lashing out at me for expressing my feelings.
Well, read #4 again. Then #5. And pray for the Lord to give you discernment and the right words. The ‘fuming’ will die down after you do these things.
Continue to respectfully communicate with him how you feel and then let him process what you’ve said. Usually we skip this step and we still want to hash out our feelings. But sometimes we need to give them time to process what we’ve said and we need to allow the Holy Spirit to pierce their hearts.
Thanks Jolene! 🙂 hearing/reading your encouraging words every day is a blessing to me! So thankful i have found your site.
Forgiveness Rose. And pray about it, ask God to give you wisdom in the situation and peace about the argument. Jolene, I felt compelled to share my thoughts on these comments, I hope that you don’t mind. As Christian women, we all need as much support as we can receive from Godly women. May God Bless each of you in all you concerns, needs, and daily life.
I have been thinking about similar topics a lot throughout my marriage. It’s wonderful to read that other women are interested in serving their husband with a loving heart and genuine faith.
I have found that I had to change my view of my husband, to remind myself of his gifts, his dreams, the fact that he is sexy and simply a grown man who is willing to spend his life with me.
I have come to understand that I shouldn’t be so concerned about his part of our marriage as I should be about mine. I am responsible for my part only and can be encouraging to him by simply doing what I know is right and what God would want me to do. To know that, gave me freedom and lowered my expectations.
Great thoughts, Albina. Thanks for sharing them with us! And you are right, you are only responsible for your part. Every wife would do well to remember this.
This blog was found at perfect timing. Just what I needed to read.look forward to following along now. Thanks.
Blessed to have you here, Megan!
I try to be a patient and gracious wife but I am disappointed and discouraged. I ask my DH if he can fix my car (that has been without a bumper for one year now) and I need more counter space in the kitchen and he said in November that he would put some in. So I wait and wait and wait. If I call him on what he said and that he hasn’t done it yet he gets furious with me and says I don’t respect him. But I do respect him. I feel like he doesn’t love me because he doesn’t do the things that I ask that would make my life a little easier. My son is also starting to be discouraged; he wants Dad to do projects with him but doubts that it will happen. He is only 9. Please help!
I’m so sorry to hear about your situation, Kristen. You can listen to this podcast about Confronting Him in Love: http://joleneengle.com/confronting-love-podcast-027/ and read this post about The Backbone of a Submissive Wife: http://joleneengle.com/the-backbone-of-a-submissive-wife/ And then this series on, When a Husband isn’t Loving His Wife with Christ-Like Love: http://joleneengle.com/husband-isnt-loving-wife-christ-like-love-series/
I stumbled upon this post today, and I must say I loved it. You asked for additional habits, here’s one: always apologize after an argument. It doesn’t matter who started it or who won, go to your husband and say “I’m sorry” and explain what you are sorry for, “I’m sorry I yelled at you. Will you forgive me?”. I also follow that up with a thank you and a promise to forgive him as well. If you are humble and recognize your part in the argument, so will he.
Yay! So glad to have you here, Heather. And I l love the habit that you shared! Humility goes a long way in marriage.
Thank you for taking your time to write this. I love that first and second point where you totally connected our marriage and our spiritual life together. I think in my ten years of marriage the one thing I have learned is if I’m distant with Gid I can very easily and over anything become a bitter wife and a bitter person. When I don’t make time for daily bible reading and prayer I become bitter, judgement not just to my husband but to anyone. I know as women we are influenced everyday by media and the world to only think of ourselves and to put our needs above others, but when we let the word of God influence we are filled with His spirit. The influence God gives us is the best one anyone could have. When we see life and our marriage thru the eyes of God. When we extend the grace He has shared with us to all those around us, when we focus on pleasing Him and denying our selves for His glory then The Lord fills our hearts with peace beyond human understanding, no matter the circumstance of our marriage God fills our hearts to the point where we no longer focus on self but on God and others. The more when spend time with God, the more we let Him fill our needy heart the less we require from our husbands . May God help us to continue seeking Him daily so we may also experience God at a different level. God bless
Glad to hear it blessed you, Vicky. All glory goes to the Lord. He is able to transform any heart that is surrendered to Him!
Being a gracious, supportive wife is not always easy, but it so worth the effort. I try to do something for him everyday without him asking, or I ask him what he could use some help with. I have learned that building him up in front of people makes us both happy. Early in our marria I would pick at him when around our friends. It was not what a Godly wife should do.
I recommend reading A Woman After God’s Own Heart. When I’m struggling with being a godly wife I reread it.
Iam moving from bitter wife to gracious wife
I love this post! And will be sharing it! For me it was focusing on his strengths rather than his weakness. Not how he has failed me that one time but the many times he has been there for me. Thank you for the reminder!
Thank you for ALL that you share!! What a tremendous blessing you are to fellow sisters in Christ, Jolene!
Hello, i am interested in participating in the study then though it’s over is this something that can be done now with what’s already been posted and discussed? My marriage of 22 years is beyond in dire straits we have been separated for almost a year and there was initially unhealthy infidelity on his part along with some intense fighting and questionable events but even after all that we still are drawn together but still unable to live together again. Please help me understand the Godly thing to do as a wife and mother of 2 daughters who have also gone through this.
Yes, you can still do this study. Follow the links within the post and it’ll take you to all you need to know to get started. The free study guide and the videos will be available until Thanksgiving.
God taught me I can share my pain with my husband in a soft-spoken tone, respectfully and quickly then retreat to allow him space to process what I shared. For example, he made a comment that was very hurtful and it felt like my intelligence was being diminished. So I said,”Sweetheart, my feelings were really hurt by that. Is it a possibility that things were not as they seemed? I need your help in giving me the benefit of the doubt because you know and love me.” I said nothing after this but prayed and left the situation in God’s hands. After some time to process what I shared, he apologized and assured me he would consider his words more wisely because he didn’t want to hurt me. The goal is to always reconcile and not widen the gap. The best way to do it during conflict with our husbands is to speak respectfully to them at all times; not nag or browbeat. Say it once and leave it alone. Allow him space and pray for God’s intervention.
Absolutely love this! All of it. Thank you for the sweet reminders.
This was such a great find for me as a new wife of only 4 months! I, too, have seen older, more experienced wives with that bitterness built up in their hearts. I have heard too many wives focus only on how frustrating or annoying or even hopeless their men our. One of my goals coming into marriage has been to guard myself against that bitterness – in my words when talking about and to my husband, and also in my heart towards him. Seeing the practical application is so helpful to help me move forward to accomplish that goal! I was especially impacted by #3: Keep my eyes focused on MY sin, not HIS! I have seen this play out a few times where I find myself coming to my husband about something that was bothering me and find myself convicted (and a little embarrassed :P) that it wasn’t just him – it was largely my own sin or my own selfishness and focusing on what he was doing wrong instead of looking at my own heart first.
Thank you for the words of wisdom – I will be revisiting this post quite often!
Wow, I looked at this because I am always looking for thing to help others find their joy, and for married persons learning to be Christ like is the foundation. I love the replies and rhe encouragement shared here!! Ladies, love your man as God loves you and graciousness will flow from you. Don’t wait for him to do anything…..leave him to God and do your part to unconditionally love and joy will fill your lives!!
Thank you so much for your insight on trusting him again. My husband is acwonderful man, provider for our family but has always had pornography as a temptation. We’ve been married for 20years now and recently my daughter found sexual chats between him and other woman. When I confronted him about it he swore he did not know the woman but was a porn site. Begged for forgiveness and swore he would never do it again. He is a truck driver and alone a lot, just recently lost both parents this year and I realize the loneliness that come with his job. Hello I’m alone too. With 4 children. Scared to leave, not knowing what to do and have so many people depending on me making the right decision. I decided to forgive and work things out. But I can’t trust him. I don’t know that I ever will. He said things to those woman that I had longed to hear from anyone. I don’t have a low self esteem. I am in amazing shape for having 4kids and I have a life long illness aswell and have really overcome so much. It’s been 2 months now since I found out about him and am trying so hard to keep it together. Little things can trigger me into being so angry. I told him to go to counseling and he still hasn’t but he did ask forgiveness from my girls and so far has been so much nicer to live with.
Although I am too young to be married, this blog actually is very challenging for me. Looking at the dating scene, and realizing that this is a time to pursue Christ and becoming the woman He wants me to be. So, God really spoke to me through this, more characteristics of a Godly woman & future godly wife as well! This was great! 🙂
Love the fact that you’re desiring to pursue Christ right now, Kelly! He’ll meet you right where you’re at! Welcome here.
am currently trying to be a gracious wife as i have noticed that i am easily hurt by words and actions and so i retaliate back to relief myself of some of the hurt.
thank u so much for your little nuggets..
may God help us all..
I really want to be a gracious wife but struggling. I’m a newly wed and I caught my husband watching porn and talking to other woman. I feel like its cheating even though other woman I’ve talked to say it isn’t because hr isn’t physical with them. I don’t talk to them anymore, and I feel alone and have feel so betrayed. I can’t be in the same room as my husband anymore and I don’t know what to do to , so I just read the bible, pray and completely avoid him. How do I get past this?
Hi Brittany, I’m so sorry to hear about your situation. You are on the right track. Here’s a post that I pray will minister to you: http://joleneengle.com/when-the-seeds-of-bitterness-sprout-up-in-your-marriage/
Hey, Jolene. I find this article to be very useful and i would be interested in translating it and making a post on my blog with link to your site. I think many wives and friends from Romania will find it helpfull to read. Can you tell me if you are ok with it? Thank you and God bless you and your family. Ena
Hi Ena, yes, I’m fine with that. Just link back to my site like you mentioned!
Thank you for your encouragement. I have been married for almost 8 years and still learning to show my husband grace even in little things. We’ve recently been seeking to truly be loving and patient with one another in an effort to not argue or harbor bitter feelings against one another. Recently, my husband showed me grace by forgiving me a small yet very annoying offense. Because of his self control and graciousness, I’ve been thinking that if we both practice self control when small little flair ups arise, we can avoid hurting one another and honoring God, even when we are offended. Thanks for the practical advice. ~Yessel
I have a different perspective. My first husband was killed on active duty when I was only 24. I had 2 children. I, like you had listened to the older women in the church as they complained about their husbands. I resolved I would never remarry. 17 years later God brought my Beloved into my life. We have now been married almost 19 years. I am blessed as I wake up more in love with him every day. My secret is simple. I realize every time I say goodbye, it may be my last. I don’t want to have regret. I want him to KNOW I love him.
Hello Jolene….It is great to read your words,I really feel good every time I read about God n his ideas of us being better humans, Though I m too young now n not wise enough to talk about marriage…But I am brainstorming a lot these days about people( most of them my classmates)……There r some people who really disturb me mentally …..I m a bit introverted and I just seem to not pick up courage to fight them….I seem to worry about them a lot…… I am not able to concentrate neither on my life nor in God !!!!! I just feel so messed up every now n then !!! DEar Jolene please guide me n help me live God’s dreams !!!:)
Keep pursuing Jesus. Immerse yourself in the Word of God. Find a Bible-believing church and get connected to the body of Christ. These are the things I did when I was younger and still do now that I’m older. God is with you!
This is sooo refreshing, and sooo biblical, thank God there’s still true believer out there living according to the spirit rather than the flesh. Big ups to you but Glory to God for putting this desire in you, and being an example of what 1 Corinthians 13 should be.
-Mar from Costa Rica, I’ve been married a year and 2 months?
What Godly advice would you give to the wife of an alcoholic?
Thanks ,Jolene, for another great article. The things you describe seem to be weekly disciplines for me, but they are so necessary. I’m praying for God to bring someone into my husband’s life that can come along side and strengthen him spiritually. He has many struggles that he never seems to gain victory over. It obviously affects our marraige and I have to be extra careful not to allow a root of bitterness to take over. Thanks for your continuing encouragement. God speaks through His Word and I’m.glad you share it so thoughtfully.
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