Why I Quit Being a Good Wife

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Why I Quit Being a Good Wife | AlisonTiemeyer.com

I was trying really hard to be a good wife.

A wife that is pretty enough.
Smart enough.
Money-savvy enough.
Organized enough.
Submissive enough.
Happy enough.
Loving enough.

This wasn’t because of pressure from my husband. No, this was all coming from a sense that I have to make myself worthy to be a wife.

I struggle with this. And maybe you do too.

I desperately struggle to realize that my worth isn’t rooted in what I do, but rather it’s found in who I am. And this struggle? It was pouring into the sweet places of my marriage.

My husband would say, “You look pretty today.” And I’d think, Not pretty enough.

Or he would tell me that dinner was delicious and thanks for working so hard on it. And I’d tell him, I’m glad but it’s not how the recipe said it should be.

You see what I mean here? My feelings of unworthiness were spilling into the parts of my marriage that were previously so sweet, so sacred.

And so I quit.

I quit trying to be a good wife. Trying to be enough. Setting standards that were way too high and I. just. quit.

I realized one day – through the sovereignty of God and the sweet words of my man – that nothing I ever do will be enough. On my own, I cannot be a good wife.

On our own, we will never be 'good enough' wives. #christianmarriage #wifelife Click To Tweet

I finally understand that I must rely on the saving power of Jesus in me to make me worthy.

Friend, the freedom that came from this was huge. Exponential even. Sure, I have responsibilities and duties. I still must clean our house and cook dinner and love my sweet man as best I know how.

But instead of relying on my own efforts to do this, I lean deeply into the arms of Jesus. I step away from myself and my own efforts.

I’ve learned to rely on Someone greater than myself.

Can I encourage you to quit trying to be a good wife, too?

When I say that, I don’t mean that you should stop trying, stop loving, stop being a wife at all. I say that because you will never be good enough on your own. So, quit trying to do it on your own.

If you want to quit being a good wife – making those feeble attempts to become good enough – I suggest you do these three things.

1) Talk to your husband about your feelings of unworthiness.

This is hard. I know, because I did it. It turned into one of those I-can’t-stop-crying-and-my-words-aren’t-making-much-sense kind of conversations. But the impact it made on our marriage?

Priceless.

My husband got it. He understood why I couldn’t accept a compliment. With kindness, he listened as I explained why I didn’t give myself the grace to sleep in. He wanted to know why I was constantly doing and couldn’t sit down for more than five minutes. He joined in the fight against my feelings of unworthiness.

And because he understood, he encouraged. He gently warned me when I wasn’t living out of grace, but out of duty instead. And he now frequently reminds me that I will never be good enough – which is annoyingly convicting, yes, but also incredibly freeing.

Maybe your husband doesn’t listen to hardships like this. Maybe he’s not the type to encourage you in grace. Dear wife, tell him anyway. And then also tell your most trusted friend. The two of you can pray together about this whole I’m-not-enough situation. And prayerfully, maybe your husband will begin seeing the freedom in you and will encourage your heart.

An incredible book for learning effective communication in marriage is Cracking the Communication Code.

2) Quit setting standards for yourself.

Yep, I did this too and it hurt. It’s downright difficult to step away from standards when you’re used to living by self-made expectations. You know what I’m talking about. Things like making a to-do list and feeling lazy if everything isn’t completed by dinnertime. Or planning to keep your cool and love your husband well, only to feel like a frustrated failure when the going gets tough.

Standards kill grace. And can I just go on record and say that standards will kill your marriage, too?

Expectations. Standards. The two words are interchangeable. You must let go of expectations and live from a sense of true grace & freedom.

Here’s what I’m not saying. I’m not saying that you don’t have a job a do, mouths to feed, a home to care for, a spouse to love, etc. You do. You are called to be a servant and to care for your family in love.

But what I am saying is that these jobs are not to be done without grace. If dinner turns out to be delivered pizza, hey, dinner accomplished. And if you’re struggling to love your spouse well, run first to Jesus for guidance and help. That’s a baby step. It’s grace.

My favorite book for grasping a life of grace-filled simplicity is Present Over Perfect.

3) Remember your true purpose.

Your purpose was never to be a good-enough wife. Also, your purpose was never to be the prettiest wife, the smartest wife, and most organized wife.

Rather, your purpose is to live as a child of God, fully relying on His power to live as a witness for the Kingdom. It’s to be a helpful and submissive wife that lives in the freedom of grace. And your purpose is to be daily washed by the blood of Christ – not doing, but being.

Hey wife, there isn’t any requirement to do. There’s just a requirement to be. Be made new, be helpful, be loving, be washed by the blood. Be enough in the name of Christ.

Remember that your purpose is to be, and give up the feeble attempts to do.

My all-time favorite book on Christian marriage is The Meaning of Marriage. It will encourage your soul and cause you to work toward change for God’s glory.

It’s all easier said than done, I know. I know because I’m walking this journey right now with you. There are days when I’d rather give in and try to earn the title of “Good Wife”. But the reality is that the title means nothing if I’m not living in grace and pointing my husband to grace in the process.

The title of Good #Wife means nothing if I'm not leaning into #grace. Click To Tweet

Quit trying to be the good wife. Rather, be the wife that recognizes her weaknesses, admits them with freedom, and relies on the Father for all of her worthiness.

We’re in this one together.

I quit being a good wife. I quit struggling to believe that I could make myself enough. A godly marriage does not equal a perfect marriage - it doesn't even equal a good marriage! A Christian marriage is about so much more. Consider these tips & decide if you should quit being a good wife too!


P.S. Grab the FREE Wife’s Scripture & Prayer Challenge Pack! It’s one of many resources found in the resource library here at AlisonTiemeyer.com. It will bless your heart – and your marriage – much. Sign up below for instant access!

38 thoughts on “Why I Quit Being a Good Wife

  1. Why do we put such high standards for ourself? Few weeks back I was also crying because I look at the woman in Proverbs 31 and I felt so inferior. I think we should give ourselves the same amount of grace we give other people. For me it is so easy to forgive someone and lift them up, but I struggle to do the same to me. We should remember we can only love others as we love ourselves.

    Thank you for this great post. I needed to be reminded of our purpose. 🙂

    1. You’re speaking my language! I put incredibly high standards on myself in almost all areas of life. I’m slowly learning about the beauty and reality of grace. It’s a sweet process. 🙂 I agree that we need to practice giving ourselves grace like we give it to others! I’ve actually written about that before, because I agree with you – only after we truly accept this grace for ourselves are we able to honestly give it to others.
      Thanks for commenting, Rolene!

  2. Alison, this is such a great post. What you have written concerning being a good wife applies to me as a single person, too. Apart from grace, I would always be trying to measure up to a standard I have set up for myself. That’s still a temptation, but thank God for grace! I could really relate to what you wrote.

    Thank you for sharing so openly. Keep on writing!

    1. I’m so glad you were able to connect with this post! Isn’t grace the sweetest gift? Striving for self-set standards is exhausting and frustrating. Thanks for commenting and encouraging this journey!

  3. Alison, thank you for sharing your heart. Having come from a home of a standard-keeping mother, it’s a struggle I all too often face. These self-imposed, unrealistic, ‘can’t ever reach expectations’ – joy-stealers. ButI’m learning more and more what it means to rely on God’s grace.

    1. “Joy-stealers.” Amen! That is so true! I’m so glad you’re digging into grace & learning to rely on that sweet gift from God. Really, that’s all we need to overcome the self-imposed unrealistic expectations!

  4. Hi there Alison!

    I really got the “scoop” from reading your post today. Thank you so much for being brave and sharing your heart on this topic. I’m so glad you found the freedom from being a “good” wife. Like you said, leaning on Christ is how we find true freedom, so we can let all of the expectations go.

    I found you (again) through one of the Friday linkups!

    Blessings,
    Tiffiney

    1. Tiffiney, thanks for stopping by again! It thrills me to see a comment from you. 🙂 The freedom is sweet relief – all grace, all from a loving Heavenly Father. It’s sweet when we grow and change and find that freedom, isn’t it?

  5. This is a great post! And very convicting for me. Who would’ve thought that it would be so freeing to realize that you’ll never be good enough? Thank you for the reminder that our job here on earth isn’t to be good enough, it’s to live for Christ!

    1. Bree, thanks for commenting. 🙂 It is kind of an interesting concept, right? I mean, freedom from realizing we’re inadequate? But I think it takes the pressure off, lets us live in the sweet freedom of grace, and allows us to be ourselves!

  6. This is a lesson I’ve been learning myself lately, that it is not my job to be “good enough.” Just to love like Jesus and to lean into Jesus when my self-imposed expectations blow up in my face. Grace. But I sure do wish I had the reassurance your husband provides too! My husband is not critical at all, which is WONDERFUL after coming from an extremely critical family (which is now the voice in my head), but I think my family history has made Words of Affirmation my number one love language. And unfortunately it’s my husband’s least. He doesn’t give negative feedback, thankfully, but neither does he give positive feedback. So I am learning to keep going back to God for that reassurance, that in Jesus, I don’t have to be good enough anymore because that’s HIS job, not mine. My job is to love like Him. I’ve talked about this struggle many, many times with my husband, that I would really appreciate his help in battling these insecurities and my “inner nasty,” but he forgets after a day or two. So ladies whose husbands do compliment you, please accept it graciously. 🙂

    1. Kay, thanks for sharing! Isn’t it so sweet that God fulfills the needs in us that our husbands don’t? It’s beautiful, reassuring, and so sweet. Our fulfillment comes from HIM alone – and when we rest in that? Wow. The freedom that abounds is refreshing. I’m so thankful to connect with you here & read a little of your story. Keep reminding your hubby and trust that God will move. And in the meantime, rest in God’s Words of affirmation continually flowing from His heart to yours. <3

  7. Thank you for that reminder. Many times we get ourselves into being good and forget that point of grace and letting God. For me am learning that God has called me for a greater purpose than just being a good wife and mother. the point on purpose did great for me. God bless you.

  8. Wow, Alison, this really is a wise word here. I’m so thankful for a good husband and relationship, but I will admit that sometimes when we have conflict, I’m left feeling like “I’m not enough.” So this is a life-giving word. I especially like the idea of TELLING your husband how you feel. So freeing, whether he responds as you’d want or not.

    1. Thanks, Betsy! It’s in the “not-good-enough” moments that we need grace most! I’m so thankful that grace is a reality. 🙂

  9. Such a beautiful post, I’m going to share it with every wife I know. I think as women we already face societal pressures of what we’re meant to do and how we should act. The. You add being a wife and feeling responsible for loving, representing and taking care of another person and those pressures can pile up. Love your message about our ultimate mission being to live for God. It’s a good one to remember when we feel inadequate.

  10. It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d definitely donate to this brilliant blog!
    I gueess for now i’ll settle foor book-marking and
    adding your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forwad to new updates and will share
    this blog withh my Facebook group. Chat soon!

    1. Wow, you’re making me blush! Thank you for such a kind & encouraging comment! It is always a blessing to connect with people who support the mission and vision of the blog. Thank you, thank you! 🙂

  11. Thank you Alison for these amazing words. Too many times I see young wives trying to live up to what they have been told is a “good wife”. I try to explain to them that the expectations that they have created in their head will only result in disappointment. I try to explain to them that instead of trying to be a “good wife”, be a “godly wife”. It’s a way to get them to lean on Jesus instead of what this world classifies as a “good wife”.

    1. Yes, Melissa! SUCH an important thing to teach young wives. I started out trying to be a “good wife” too – but I love that you say, “instead of trying to be a good wife, be a godly wife.” Amen. 🙂

  12. I so needed this this morning. I wondered why in my heart I had a hard time receiving my husband’s compliments and felt I needed to do more and be the best. Thanks for sharing. I will follow your advice and receive God’s grace.

  13. “Your purpose was never to be a good-enough wife. Your purpose was never to be the prettiest wife, the smartest wife, and most organized wife.

    Your purpose is to live as a child of God, fully relying on His power to live as a witness for His kingdom.”

    And that’s where I started crying. Thank you for this; definitely something I’ve been needing to hear lately.

    1. Oh wow, thank you for commenting. What an honor to be able to speak some truth to your soul here! I don’t take that privilege lightly. <3

  14. Wonderful post! I actually clicked from Pinterest because I was intrigued by the thought of where this was going!

    I am so glad I read it through, I don’t struggle with knowing I’m doing good enough, I know I do my best. I struggle with the fact that for my first 10 years of marriage – I wasn’t and until recently I thought I was doing a pretty good job! (I cringe looking back on pictures and noticing the kitchen full of dirty dishes in the background, etc.)

    Now that I’m going on 11 years, I am trying to forgive myself and boy is that hard! I used the excuse of having my babies and that I just couldn’t get the kitchen cleaned or the floors vacuumed when actually I wasn’t giving it my all because I’d rather spend time with them and knew that was important too, so somehow in my mind that justified the messy house. Looking back though, I could have done more, I haven’t worked outside the home in 9 years, so that makes me feel extra guilty, so I’m making up for it now with a passion!

    Thank you for sharing, it really inspired me to work harder on forgiving myself for feeling guilty about those earlier years and look forward to how good I can do in the future.

    1. Emily, isn’t it so beautiful how God can take words and use them to teach you (even something that I didn’t specifically intend)? I love that. Thanks for sharing your processing with me here. This is important – to do our best and serve our husbands and love them well. Keep making progress. Keep serving well. The Lord will meet you there & provide continual strength.

  15. You’ve blessed my life! Thank you 😊 I’ve fumbled around trying to be a-great-at-everything wife/mom & a little blind to grace here. Leaning into Gods grace & purpose in my “daily” routine so I don’t miss kingdom work while I’m checking off my to do’s. Not neglectful to my family but intentional & purposeful rather than efficient & dutiful.
    Bless you!

    1. I love what you wrote: “Not neglectful to my family but intentional & purposeful rather than efficient & dutiful.” YES! You get it, girl! Live in freedom. 🙂

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