Ladies…Ladies…Ladies…the importance of this key cannot be underscored enough because it is certain that there will come a time in your marriage when you will begin to question who you are, the woman you’ve become, and why all of the things that used to matter to you have just about all but lost their appeal.
This line of self-interrogation usually happens sometime after the honeymoon phase of your marriage has ended, which is typically when you begin to settle into the routine of marriage. You’ll know when you get there because that’s the point when everything about YOU—specifically, all of the things that make you “YOU,” get eclipsed by your efforts to meet and exceed the expectations that you now have to live up to all because you got hitched.
You see, these “expectations” get embedded into our subconscious as little girls and, at best, serve to provide us with a false sense of identity as we grow older because we are groomed from the earliest point in our lives to believe that in order to be regarded as both a “good” woman AND a “good” wife, we must “present” ourselves in a certain type of way.
As a result, we strive to be everything that is regarded as “good” and “acceptable” in the eyes of everyone around us while we subconsciously suppress, surrender, and sacrifice bits and pieces of ourselves that don’t fit into the image of all that is “good and acceptable” until the authenticity of who we are gets replaced by routine, learned responses to the demands and expectations that get super-imposed on us.
If you’ve arrived at this point in your marriage, you’re probably seeing the routine that you’ve settled into…you know…the routine way that you live day-in and day-out…the routine that dictates everything that you do and how you do them…in the same way…at the same time…day-in and day-out…each and every day.
It’s a sobering reality that’s sort of like imagining yourself standing on the edge of a chasm looking over to the other side, trying to reconcile the difference between the woman you are now that you’re married and the woman that you were before you embarked upon your matrimonial journey. The valley is that place that you must cross to reconnect the dots of your existence in that regard.
So, why is this? Why is it so difficult for us, as wives, to strike a balance that allows us the time and space that we need to maintain our sense of self…that is to maintain those things that are important to us…our unique personality traits…our identities, our hobbies…our interests…our thoughts…and whatever else that makes us unique, different, and special; all while being everything that we need to be to everyone in our lives WITHOUT sacrificing the essence of who we are? That’s the question, and Key #3 to the WifeCode™ will answer it.
The duality of our existence as wives can be tricky because we each have to navigate our way through the process of becoming a good wife without the benefit of prior knowledge of how marriage really works or without any subsequent preparation for the role. There is no course on how to be a wife beyond the traditional introduction to marriage that typically comes through pre-marital counseling, coupled with the “advice” that many of us receive from other wives.
Most of us receive our initial introduction to wifehood by observing how other wives operate and how they relate to their spouse in the context of marriage. We see their happiness…their joy…their laughter…their excitement…their love. We see whatever it is that we think is consistent with our beliefs about how we should be as wives. Then, we hone-in on it, study it, and let it serve as a frame-of-reference for how we should be as wives.
Problematic? I believe so, and here’s why. When we begin to model our behavior and our actions around what we think and/or perceive to be the “right” way to either be or do things in the eyes of those whose opinion about us shouldn’t matter in the grand scheme of things, the elements of us that make us “us” get masked and often go unnoticed—more often to our detriment because we’re left feeling unfulfilled…dissatisfied…disillusioned…dejected…distanced…and so-on because we cannot be free to be and express ourselves authentically.
Ladies, if we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll admit that there’s a part of our being that exists deep within…you know…that’s the place where we keep our vulnerabilities hidden from folks in an effort to protect ourselves emotionally. That’s the place where we hide our fear of rejection, our fear of not being “good enough,” and, the worst of all, our fear of not “measuring-up,” regardless of the context. Whenever we “play things safe” and remain vulnerable to those things that limit our ability to be our authentic selves we lose our power. Nowhere is this truth more pronounced than in marriage.
The truth of the matter is that your power in life, in marriage, in your place as a woman, and in your role as a wife is all connected to the authenticity of who you are at the core of your being. You have to be you—authentically and unapologetically—because no one else can stand-in and live your life for you. You have to make the time to nurture the balance between you as a woman with interests, thoughts, beliefs, and opinions and you as a wife who is a partner in a marriage where your interests, thoughts, beliefs, and opinions are just as important as those of your spouses.
The key take-away here is that no one should ever have to blow the flame on your candle out so that the flame on their candle can flicker brighter. In the same way, you should not have to sacrifice bits and pieces of who you are to fit into an unrealistic mold of a woman with whom you’re not familiar just to be accepted by folks whose opinion of you shouldn’t matter in the end. Remember—your husband married you, which is why the Fourth Key to the WifeCode™ will focus on the importance of protecting your marriage!