At the beginning of summer Brad was part of a men's Bible study at church. He's been in several of such studies and always enjoys them so much. We usually talk about whatever the topic was that night and Brad loves sharing with me what he has learned about being a husband, father, and just a man after God's heart. He is so encouraged to be a strong leader for this family. He has learned how important it is that he serve his family, not just sit back and let me do all the work/child rearing. He has learned the importance of encouraging me through words, service, time together, etc. I'm always so impressed with the studies and how dead on they are about what I really want from him. It's so encouraging to know that men are being encouraged to take a more active role in the family. That they're being told especially as Christian men they need to step up and realize how important they are in their family, not only as the breadwinner, but also as a discipliner, supporter, encourager, house cleaner, etc.
After this last session I told Brad that I wish there was something like that for women. Oh, there are lots of Bible studies for women. Lots of studies about how to love people, how to get over our own insecurities, how to find strength in the Lord, etc. But I have never really seen a study on how to be a good, Christian wife. Not like the studies Brad goes to. What is my duty as the wife? How should I serve my family? What role do I have in the family, as opposed to my husband's role? What exactly does it mean to be a "help mate?"
In a totally unrelated conversation one day I was talking with my friend about how excited I was for her to become a stay at home mom (she was previously a working mom). I knew that she felt the same as me and secretly wanted to be like June Cleaver, with the house cleaned, dinner on the table when her husband gets home, and well-behaved children. We were talking about that and what the reality of it is and she recommended I read this book, A Woman After God's Own Heart by Elizabeth George.
This book was exactly what I was looking for.
Much of this book is very counter-cultural. She talks about the importance of having the house clean, greeting your husband at the door when he gets home from work, only leaving the house to do errands one day a week, not talking on the phone with friends while spending time with the children, etc. All things that are deemed "old fashioned." And they might be old-fashioned, but when you think about it they make sense.
I think in order to not make this post super long I am going to end up writing it over a period of a couple days. However, as an overview I will say that I found this book very challenging. I didn't like a lot of what it had to say (greet my husband at the door?!), but I can honestly say I didn't disagree with much. It was more that I don't want to take responsibility. A lot of it is more work for me. And, let's face it, I'm lazy. I don't want it to all fall on me, but when I thought about it, it all made sense. So, this book was very challenging, very insightful, very thought-provoking. It was exactly what I needed. I've already started to put some of what I've learned into practice and I can tell you it is already making a difference.