Today I was reading one of my favorite photography blogs, by Jasmine Star, and in her post (Personality Types, Opposites + BBQ Sauce) she writes about herself and her husband, and their opposing personality types (she’s “type A” and he’s “type B.” Incidentally, she could have been talking about my husband and I.) This reminded me of something I’d been pondering last week, while reading another blog (Conversion Diary), where the writer, Jennifer Fulwiler, describes herself repeatedly as an “introvert.” Although I was familiar with the term, I had always associated “introvert” with “anti-social” as if it were a bad thing, but while reading her blog it occurred to me that just because I had always thought of being introverted as “bad,” didn’t necessarily make it so. Today, when reading Jasmine Star’s definition of a “type A” personality, the same thought occurred to me again.
I have a lot of standards for myself, a lot of which I’m starting to believe might not be God’s standard for me. I have this image in my mind of the “perfect” wife and mother… the perfect wife and mother always has breakfast on the table before the kids wake up, hand-sews her family’s clothing, keeps the house spotless, cooks tasteful, nutritious meals, loves to go on outings with her family, loves meeting strangers and having unexpected guests, never argues with her husband, is always accommodating and cooperative, takes a shower every day (did I just write that out loud?)…
You catch my drift. The unfortunate thing about my idea of the “perfect” woman is that A. My every day life looks nothing like that of the “perfect” woman, and B. I really don’t WANT my every day life to look like that of the “perfect” woman (well, okay, it would be nice to get in a shower every day.) I’m really not interested in sewing or cooking (or cleaning, for that matter,) meeting new people makes me nervous, and just thinking of someone dropping by unexpectedly gives me the heebies (in part because my house is always a mess.) Like a true “type A personality,” I’m ambitious and driven, impatient and competitive, and a little bit controlling.
Now, here’s the thing. Just because there is a label out there that describes some personality characteristics of mine doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a good thing to be that way. I’d love to be more of an extrovert, I’d love to be more responsible and organized (and a little less controlling and impatient.) But is it possible that some characteristics in myself, that I’ve been labeling as weaknesses, are actually strengths? Could it be that some of the ways I’m different from my “type B” husband, are actually ways in which I compliment him? Maybe my husband’s “perfect wife” is artistic and driven, competitive and disorganized, messy and a little bit argumentative (personally, I think he needs someone to argue with him every now and then.) ;) Maybe she loves to take pictures instead of sew, read instead of clean, stay home with the family instead of run around town. Come to think of it, my accommodating, cooperative, easy going type-b husband probably fits better into my idea of what the “perfect wife” is than I do. And I guess I fit better into my idea of what a husband should be. And maybe that’s not a bad thing.
The bible says that a wife is created to be a “helper suitable to [her husband.]” Maybe my “suitableness” doesn’t come from being exactly like my husband, but comes from being exactly what he needs. And maybe what he needs is someone a little bit temperamental and aggressive and driven and scatterbrained (it certainly keeps things interesting around here, anyway!)
Maybe I should start exploring the possibility that the “perfect wife and mother” for my husband and my children is very different than what I’ve been envisioning. Maybe I should start exploring the possibility that what I’ve considered weaknesses are actually strengths. My guess is that if I’d stop trying to mold myself into my own fictional image of the “perfect wife,” and start focusing on discovering who God wants me to be, a lot of the things in me that God doesn’t want there, would start to fall away.