Lessons from a Wife of a PhD Student


I have a confession to make. A few mornings back I was so grumpy towards my husband. I was selfish, and the opposite of supportive and gracious towards him. Why? Well the short answer is that I was frustrated that he has been working on the same paper for quite awhile. I did not understand why he could not just buckle down and finish the paper, so that we could have more time together, he could get better sleep, and not feel defeated when he was home.

A little background... I got a degree in communication, an entire department committed to setting short and long term goals. Set goals. Meet goals. Set more goals. Meet more goals. And so on and so on. However, studying to obtain a PhD in Civil Engineering could not be more different. It is tedious, ongoing, and slow. That is just part of the package deal...and I have had the hardest time in supporting my husband in this calling. I do not do slow, I struggle with methodical and tedious, and anything ongoing causes me stress. 

My selfishness however, goes much deeper than just frustration towards a paper that happens to be taking a few weeks to complete. There is a deeper heart issue taking place; a sin that I have since begun to see needs to be brought to light. As I have pondered that morning, my attitude, and heart these verses have come to mind.

"An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones." Proverbs 12:4

"A continual dripping on a rainy day and a quarrelsome wife are alike..." Proverbs 27:15

"When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent." Proverbs 10:19

"A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back." Proverbs 29:11

"She does him good and not harm, all the days of her life." Proverbs 31:12

"...and let the wife see that she respects her husband." Ephesians 5:33

Wow. Each of these verses seem like a cold bucket of water being dumped over my head. I had become self consumed in my relationship with my husband. It was all about me, my irritation, my need for more time with him, my lack of understanding of the time commitment his degree requires. Rather than uplifting and supporting him, whether I understood the demands of his job or not, I chose to do the opposite. I found myself tuning him out as he laid his burdens and feelings of defeat before me. I would complain about how consumed he has been with this paper. I was that continual dripping, that rottenness to his bones. I was giving full vent to my spirit, using many words to express my own frustrations without thinking for a second how my word would impact my husband's heart as he absorbed the full blow of my irritation. 

So why am I sharing this? Because I know I am not the only selfish wife in the world. I know some of you can relate to this realization that you are expecting your husband to serve you at all times, and find yourself not truly considering his needs. I am sharing my struggle with you because I know I am not alone, and because there is freedom in honesty. There is freedom in transparency and vulnerability. 

Satan desires nothing more than to get us entirely focused on ourselves. When we become self absorbed, he is overjoyed! He has us exactly where he wants us, and when we are in this place we will begin to spiral down into a deep self consumed pit at an alarmingly fast pace before we even know what has happened. 

So as I am fighting to pull myself out of this pit, and bring this struggle fully into the light here are things I know are true. 

I am called to respect my husband, to be his helper,and  to support him. I am called to speak life into his heart and not bring rottenness to his bones. I am called to lay my frustrations aside and carry his. I am called to silence my own irritations and pick up his. Does this mean I am a doormat? NO! This means I am a partner in a covenant relationship, in which we bear one another's burdens and love each other wholeheartedly with SELFLESSNESS. I desire to bring good to my husband and to lighten his load, so I am choosing to rely on the Holy Spirit to give me the ability to hold back my words quietly and to give me the strength to lovingly support my husband in his pursuit of a PhD. 

I have recently found deep pleasure in reading some of the Puritan Prayers found in The Valley of Vision book...I think that they are a beautiful literary depiction of my sinful heart. They remind my of the poetic yet emotional writing style of David in the Psalms. Read this prayer in light of this post, and be filled with hope found in the grace of our Heavenly Father. 

"O God, may Your Spirit speak in me that I may speak to You. I have no merit, let the merit of Jesus stand for me. I am undeserving, but I look to Your tender mercy. I am full of infirmities, wants, sin; You are full of grace.
I confess my sin, my frequent sin, my wilful sin; all my powers of body and soul are defiled: a fountain of pollution is deep within my nature. There are chambers of foul images within my being; I have gone from one odious room to another, walked in a no-man's-land of dangerous imaginations, pried into the secrets of my fallen nature.
I am utterly ashamed that I am what I am in myself; I have no green shoot in me nor fruit, but thorns and thistles; I am a fading leaf that the wind drives away; I live bare and barren as a winter tree, unprofitable, fit to be hewn down and burnt. Lord, do You have mercy on me?
You have struck a heavy blow at my pride, at the false god of self, and I lie in pieces before You. But You have given me another master and lord, Your Son, Jesus, and now my heart is turned towards holiness, my life speeds as an arrow from a bow towards complete obedience to You. Help me in all my doings to put down sin and to humble pride. Save me from the love of the world and the pride of life, from everything that is natural to fallen man, and let Christ's nature be seen in me day by day. Grant me grace to bear Your will without repining, and delight to be not only chiselled, squared, or fashioned, but separated from the old rock where I have been embedded so long, and lifted from the quarry to the upper air, where I may be built in Christ for ever." 

Also, in other unrelated news...WE ARE GETTING A PUPPY! Ben and I could not be more excited to add a little fur baby to our family of two. We were notified from the breeders we had chosen to go with a few days ago that a litter had been born...5 little girls and two boys. We will be able to pick up our little girl, who we will be naming Piper, on June 2nd. She is a cockapoo pup, a mix between a cocker spaniel and a poodle, and a whole lot of adorable. Cannot wait to share more with you and introduce our little Piper girl to you all very soon!



Happy Happy Monday!

BLOGLOVIN' // INSTAGRAM // TWITTER // PINTEREST // FACEBOOK 


A Harvest of Blessing