Imitating My Wife as She Imitates Christ
[eltdf_dropcaps type=”normal” color=”” background_color=””]My[/eltdf_dropcaps] wife Mamo and I are different in many aspects…
She was raised in the largely rural Eastern Cape, and although I was also born there, I spent the larger share of my formative years being molded in the urban streets of Vosloorus, a township south east of Jo’burg.
This is why she often looks at me with a look that is a mixture of bemusement and unease when I bob my head violently upon hearing a Theory Hazit beat, and it is why I often look at her with a look that is a mixture of envy and admiration, when she sings Weslyean Xhosa hymns from memory.
If you could be a fly on our fern green living room wall on some of our home entertainment evenings, you would hear us debating whether to watch an episode of “Gxabhashe” or a Spike Lee joint.
I must admit, there are some aspects in which I often selfishly wish my wife was more like me, but what follows are some brief, random thoughts on those aspects of her character that I pray for more grace to imitate.
Counting Others More Significant Than Herself
It is a chilly Monday morning in our rented apartment in Wellington City. I am hurriedly making myself presentable for another day at the office. Mamo sneaks out of the bedroom, careful not to wake our little terrorist children. One minute she is in the lounge, tidying up what looks like the aftermath of a miniature service delivery protest (You can take a South African out of Mzansi they say). The next minute she is in the kitchen, baptising the dishes as if to cleanse them of any guilty stains from our yesternight gluttony.
Why the rush to tidy up so early in the morning? Are we expecting guests? Sort of… The house cleaners are coming. Yes, the house cleaners. Ever since we’ve been married, I have been observing that Mamo has this habit of cleaning up before the cleaners come. While many of us would plan our house parties right on the night before the cleaners are due to come, she reasons that just because they get paid to clean our mess doesn’t mean that we should abuse and taken advantage of them. Talk about counting others more significant than yourself.
Ambitions on Hold
Like many married men, I know more about my wife’s friends than she knows about mine. I can neither confirm nor deny the fact that I am insinuating that women are generally more talkative than men, but if I am ever accused of making such a claim, I withdraw that truth.
The point is this; I have come to learn that nearly all of my wife’s friends, from her once pimple-faced high-school mates, to her varsity colleagues, are swiftly making their way up their respective corporate ladders while she sits at home being the ladder upon which our children climb their way to maturity.
Now I am in no way condemning other married mothers who are career women. Mind you, Mamo may still decide to trade the kitchen for an office sometime in the future. I am merely admiring my her God-given resolve and strength to put her career ambitions on hold (to often face disparaging remarks from friends and family and to often struggle with deep bouts of self-doubt about the decision she has made) for the sake of our children. And every time I observe our children’s confidence and emotional security, when I hear our two year old daughter lisping parts of scripture I know I haven’t made the time to teach her, I cannot help but praise the Lord for the wisdom that has led us down this path.
The ‘S’ Word
If there is anything more deplorable in our society than a woman who chooses to be a stay-at-home-mother, it is a woman who affirms her husband’s role as head of the home. Many young girls today grown up in environments where they learn to despise the idea of a woman submitting to her husband before they even learn to pronounce the word complementarianism, let alone understand its beautiful meaning.
Not so with my wife. She was nurtured by women who epitomized the word submission. Her mother and the women around her, being fruits of the Classical Pentecostalism of the Assemblies of God, sang from a hymn sheet which has all but been discarded in many parts of today’s society.
Over the almost-four-years of our married life, I have come to realize that the gentle and quite spirit that attracted me to her in the first place was not some kind of courtship make-up to be washed off on the wedding night. She truly is ‘without wax’.
To be sure, Mamo would be the first to admit that she still needs tons of grace to grow in these and many other virtues, but from where I am standing I have some catching up to do.
I am grateful for my wife’s example of counting others more significant than herself, I am grateful for her example of sacrificial living. I am grateful for those women who became walking commentaries on Proverbs 31 for her to read in her youth.
I am grateful for the jewel that my wife is.
But my gratitude is coloured with not a little tint of fear. Having sinned against her in many ways in the past, and knowing that apart from the grace of God, I may yet sin against her in worse ways, I fear lest I should trample so much upon this beautiful gift that I should be the reason our daughter grows up to join the popular chorus of voices who mock and ridicule women like her mother.
But God is rich in grace.
By Mandla Gqada