Wife: Noun 'Helpmate'

I’m back in Miami. I’m really thankful for the time I had in Colorado. It was so beautiful and soothing for my soul. I got to really reflect on life. I learned how much I love my friends and husband.

Coming back home was good. Rusty and I spent 3 days away and it was great to reconnect and talk about life. But if I’m being honest, it’s kind of hard being back. I loved to slow pace of life I created in Colorado and I enjoyed the freedom to schedule my days.

I don’t talk about my marriage much on social media, unless it’s to brag on my husband. Which he deserves a lot of that. But for good reasons I often don’t share of our own struggles as a couple. I love protecting my husband and social media is not the place to go into dirty details. But as I sat drinking coffee with a friend this morning I was reminded of the struggles of marriage and how hard we must fight for it. You will not hear me rag on my husband. I love him and there is nothing I will share that will selfishly put him down. Because let’s be honest, he is not perfect, but I am married to an incredible man.

But I do feel compelled to share some of the struggles that I’ve faced with marriage, as a woman, as a partner, as a friend, a wife. It has been hard, really hard at times. This is a very personal post. I’m often ashamed of the feelings I have towards my husband, but they are feelings I have none the least. And I think the best way to fight our negative thoughts and feelings is to be honest about them. This is a blog of my insecurities as a wife and a woman. Everyday is a daily fight to stand for what God has called us to be. I know some of you may not be married, but trust me when I say there is always something you can learn and take away.

As I sat with my friend, we were talking. She’s an amazing young woman, she reminds me a lot of myself. It was convicting as I talked with her. Just talking about marriage, but also trying to help guide her in the process and I was so convicted of the advice I was giving her.

Many of you know Miami has not been the easiest ride for us. And in many ways I’ve struggled a lot more than Rusty. I’m not gonna lie, I’ve had a lot of rejection here and just a lot of crummy circumstances. Planting a church isn’t easy either.

Not long ago I sent a letter to my husband sharing deep feelings I had been carrying around for quite some time. Friends, I’m not proud to admit this, but I have deeply struggled with resentment towards Rusty. And not justified resentment. WE decided to move here and join Greg in starting this church. It was a completely joint decision. There are times when staying has not been what I wanted. If I’m being honest, at times I’ve just wanted to run away from all our struggles and my personal insecurities. And yes, all of our decisions come with consequences (good or bad). But we can decide how we respond to those circumstances. And I’ll be honest, I’ve taken a lot out on Rusty. I’m jealous he has a good job; let’s also note, he has a very challenging job even if it is good. But I’m jealous that he has coworkers and people who see him and tell him good job on a regular basis. I get jealous that he has an established role to play in life, outside just being my husband. Sometimes I wish he could spend a month in my shoes. And don’t get me wrong, marriage is hard and that’s okay. But sitting in contempt is not okay. I can’t control all of my circumstances, but I can rest in Jesus to be my source of joy. I don’t have to make Rusty feel bad.

But something interesting came to me this afternoon. I was walking and often Rusty wants to know: Why is it so hard?

I mean lets be real. We’re making financially. We have friends. I’m pursuing my dream! (which is absolutely amazing)! But as a woman and a wife I want to help. You know I fight the traditional roles for women. I don’t like when a man says, “you do as I say”. I believe marriage is a team. Thankfully, so does Rusty. But it hit me today, you know I think sometimes it’s so hard because at times it’s easy to feel more like a burden than a helper. I mean think of the women in your life. Women are strong leaders, but we’re also the ones who end up being teachers more frequently. We’re often the ones who stay at home and raise the kids so the man can go to work and we can support them. And yes, I am that wife that loves to cook for her husband. I want to take care of him. And guys, I know this is more of a contemporary thing, but I think a lot of women want to help financially too, especially when we’re not a stay at home mom. At least then you feel your fulfilling a purpose. I’m not saying any of this to stereotype or say this is how it is. I’m using these as examples, I mean this stuff is backed up by truth and stats.

And let’s be real. Money is pushed so hard in our culture. It sucks as a woman to feel like you’re not contributing, especially when circumstances have dictated that more than choice. Rejection sucks friends. This city is full of it. And let’s be real, when you live in an expensive city and can’t contribute much financially, you feel pretty needy for taking money that your husband has worked hard for.

Now I’m not justifying my reactions. In fact, I was reminded of the fact that Rusty won’t know how it feels to be in my shoes, and I won’t know what it feels like to be in his. We can’t play the comparison game. It’s dangerous friends, and it leads to resentment. Trust me.

Here’s the thing though, when you’re married your contentment is not to be built off your spouse. Our contemptment and joy comes from Jesus alone. We can’t expect our spouse to fill that need and we can’t expect to fill that need for our spouse. We have to lean into the constant, the perfect, unrelenting love of Jesus. He is our satisfaction. Yes, our spouse contributes to our happiness and we contribute to theirs. If you’re a jerk that’s going to affect your spouse so don’t do that, but ultimately Jesus is the one responsible for our joy and contentment. He is enough. When anger or resentment creeps in, that becomes a discussion between you and God.

The truth of the matter is, our loved ones will disappoint us and we will disappoint them. It’s called being human. But that doesn’t have to control our marriage. We can choose to bring it to the Lord and he will give us the ability to forgive and let go. Forgiveness isn’t going to come from human efforts, that’s a supernatural thing. But there’s also some ownership. There’s a part of us that has to accept that we are not perfect either. There is the reality that there is probably something we need to ask forgiveness for. And also, resentment isn’t from God. That’s rooted in our selfishness. Life doesn’t go as we want, then it’s really easy to place blame on the one closest to us, when if fact, there’s really no one to blame. We live in a broken world and life is just hard.

Everyday I have to remind myself the fact that I’m in desperate need of a savior. I’m a mess. But a beautiful one. God has placed gifts and blessings in front of me even in the worst of times. He’s taking care of me. All he asks is that I come and trust him. Contentment doesn’t come from our circumstances. Friends, joy doesn’t come from our job, our house, our status, it comes from the one who made us. It comes from the ultimate source that never runs dry: Jesus.

So as I share my struggles as a wife. One who often feels really insecure. I am reminded that I am made to be beautiful, strong, lovely, capable, courageous, confident. And so was every SINGLE person in this world. Every face I see. Everyone I love.

Maybe you’re like me. Life has been hard at times. Maybe you’re trying to find someone to blame. Maybe marriage wasn’t as easy as you thought. Maybe you realized how selfish you really are. Maybe you’re just trying to figure out how to find joy. Maybe you need to forgive. Maybe let go. Wherever you may be, you are not alone and there is hope. But you have to fight for it. Fight for what’s good in this world. Fight for your marriage. Fight for hope. Fight for love. Don’t let Satan win, because God already has.

I may be young and not married for years, but there is one thing I want to leave with you: one challenge I want both husbands and wives to take. Wives, support your man, lift him up, encourage him, be there even when it’s hard. Husbands, listen and show up. Women, we need to realize that men like verbal affirmation, they want respect. But men, we need to see you care, we need action, we need to see you’re listening. It’s a two way street. It’s a team. Fight for it, with all you’ve got.

Jo ButlerComment