WifeCode Principle #7: “Be Authentically You.”

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dreamstime_xxl_102635109There will come a time in your marriage when you’ll begin to question who you are, the woman you’ve become, and why everything that used to matter to you doesn’t seem to be as important to you as they used to be BEFORE you got hitched.  These questions will start to creep into your thoughts as you become more settled into the routine of marriage, which usually coincides with the point at which the honeymoon phase of your marriage ends, and real married life begins.

You’ll know when you reach this point in your marriage because the answers will be embedded in the routine you’ve settled into…in the routine way in which you live your life day-in and day-out…the routine that dictates everything that you do and how you do them…independently and collectively with your husband…in the same way…at the same time…day-in and day-out.

The more you think about these questions within the context of how to strike the balance between growing into a new dimension of womanhood now that you’re living under the grace that comes with being a wife and remaining connected to the woman you before ALL while attempting to live up to the expectations of what a good wife should be in the eyes of everyone standing on the periphery of your marriage looking in.

Ladies, if we’re not careful to manage those expectations, we’ll lose ourselves in our efforts to live up to the optics associated with being “seen” as a good woman AND a good wife.  If we place too much emphasis on being everything that is good and acceptable in the eyes of everyone around, we subconsciously suppress, surrender, and sacrifice bits and pieces of ourselves that don’t fit that image until the authenticity of who we are gets replaced by routine, learned responses to the demands and expectations that get superimposed on us.

So, why is this? Why is it so difficult for us 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 what final principle of The WifeCode will address—the importance of being authentically you.

Shatter Expectations with Authenticity

The duality of our existence as wives is complicated because we must learn how to navigate our way through the process of becoming a wife without the benefit of having any preparation for the role. There is no course we can take on how to be a wife beyond the traditional introduction to marriage that typically comes through pre-marital counseling.  There isn’t a Cliffs Notes-like handbook that we can refer to for the quick-and-dirty on how to be better wives.  

Most of us receive our initial introduction to wifehood by observing how other wives experience. 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.  Is this so bad? I mean, is observation in this context that much of a problem? I believe so, and here’s why.

When we conduct ourselves in ways that fall into alignment with what we think and/or perceive to be consistent with what everyone around us expects, 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 we keep our vulnerabilities hidden from folks to protect ourselves emotionally.  Call it what you want, but that place does exist, and it’s where we hide all our fears—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 decide to play things safe, we remain vulnerable to those things that limit our willingness to be our authentic in everything that we do, we lose our ability to give of ourselves fully so that we can leverage our power in every area of our lives. Nowhere is this truth more pronounced than in marriage.

Key Take-Aways

The truth of the matter is that your ability to leverage 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 must be authentically and unapologetically you.  Besides, it’s better to present the real you as opposed to a cheap, after-market version of the woman you believe the world wants to see.

You must make the time to nurture yourself so that you’ll be able to balance all the aspects that feed you as a woman with interests, thoughts, beliefs, and opinions and 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 husband’s.

As a wife, you shouldn’t 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, in and of itself, is enough.

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