For years, I thought ambition and love couldn’t co-exist. Then, I grew up.
Unfortunately, I didn’t grow up until after I’d spent a good portion of my youth pursuing the things I thought a good Christian woman should be. You know, the type of woman who values their church, marriage, and children above all else–including God and herself.
Huh? Isn’t that idolatry? Isn’t that the opposite of what preachers preach? Yes, and no. Intellectually, I understood that as a Christian woman God should be first. I said, “Giving honor to God, who is the head of my life” during testimony service on more than one occasion. But, the sermons I heard and bible studies I read contradicted this. As a woman in the church, you’re taught things that should happen after marriage if you’re a good Christian woman.
Motivated by the Good Christian Wife Ideal
- Understand that your body doesn’t belong to you. It belongs to your husband.
- You should not be motivated by what you believe, need, or want. Your motivation should be what your husband wants to do. He thinks for the both of you. His decision is final.
- Take care of the needs of your husband, family, and the church even if it leaves no time to tend to your personal needs.
None of the above-mentioned actions are God-centered. They are rooted in patriarchy. The problem with the extreme patriarchy of the church is that faith has to go through a man when you’re a married woman.
It took me a while to reprogram my thinking, which is one of the reasons why I removed a good portion of my old posts. I didn’t want to perpetuate an incomplete gospel. And, it’s the primary reason I’ve been struggling with what to write here. How do I reframe my writing so that it aligns with the gospel but at the same time helps women to grow spiritually without damaging their response in relationships?
I believe that God placed purpose in men and women. Look at Mary, the mother of Jesus. She had a deep purpose that no man could deliver. While I don’t believe her role will ever be duplicated, I do believe there are other women in the Bible who exemplify strength independently of their husbands because God gave them the grace to do so. Naomi, Ruth, and the Virtuous Woman (Proverbs 31:10-31) come to mind.
A Christian Wife Motivated by Love
Proverbs 31:11 says, “The heart of her husband trusts in her, And he will have no lack of gain.” Her husband’s heart trusts her. He knows he fell in love with a strong, virtuous woman. Trusting in her frees them to prosper together. She is motivated to respect him and their goals because his heart trusts her. He loves her (Ephesians 5:25). In this scenario, their actions reflect guidance and motivation by God that causes them to act interdependently. It is the opposite of being motivated by the Good Christian Wife Ideal.
- In Proverbs 31, the husband values and respects her in every way, including publicly, and sex is never mentioned. We know they had sex at some point because they have children.
- She is not totally dependant on him. As a businesswoman, she considers a field and buys it (v. 16) and never goes to the city gate to find her husband (v. 23) and ask him if it’s okay. She made the transaction on her own without asking him. This lets me know that they have shared goals and values. He trusts her to make good decisions without his input or control.
- She is strong (v. 17). This lets me know that she took care of herself as she cared for her family.
Why does this matter? It affects how well married women fulfill their purpose in God and in the marketplace. As a businesswoman who coaches other businesswomen, it is important for me to help women operate in a way that reflects how God made them whole and complete people.
Women can be ambitious alongside marriage and family.