Wife – You Are More Than Your Role | By Byron Vardilos
I have the privilege of being married to an amazing woman. I first met Theresa at a coffee shop in Fort Worth, Texas. It was a typical fall night during my Junior year at Texas Christian University. A group of four of my fraternity brothers and I had just finished eating dinner at a local downtown eatery. I was a newer Christian at the time and being part of BYX rooted me in my faith.
Brian, who we called “B-Grow,” announced to the group that he had forgotten he’d promised to meet a girl at a coffee shop and we were over an hour late. We all piled into a beat-up Chevy Suburban and rushed off to the coffee shop. Little did I know I was about to meet the love of my life!
I’ll never forget the night. I walked in, and there she was. She was beautiful (and sitting at a table by herself reading a Bible!). I don’t remember the conversation, and we only exchanged a few words, but driving home that night was one of the few times in my life I distinctly heard God’s voice. He told me that this was the woman for me!
That was over 20 years ago! 20 FULL years of ups-and-downs, success and failures, four kids, two dogs, and over 16 moves!
The first few years of our marriage were rocky, to say the least, but since then, each year we get closer and I learn more about this wonderful woman. With so many things vying for our attention, it’s becoming more and more difficult for wives to keep their identity.
Theresa has had many roles over the years; the role of a wife…the role of mom. More recently, she is adding many more roles. But the roles do not define who she is. First and foremost, she is a Daughter of the King!
In the last two years, I’ve witnessed Theresa growing in all areas of her life. She’s embracing the truth of her identity in Christ. I want to encourage you, the women of The Fathers House, to do the same! A great resource that talks about this identity is the book, The Secret of Significance, by Robert S McGee.
With raising four children ages 10-16, running multiple businesses, volunteering and participating in community activities, Theresa and I are at the busiest season of our lives to date. Full schedules blur the bigger picture for all of us.
I’m naturally big-picture thinker. Theresa is much more detailed, so we complement each other in this way. Whenever I see her taking on too much or getting caught in the minutia, I remind her to take time off for reflection. I ask her questions like…“What do you want to be doing in 10 years after the kids have left?” “What is God calling you to do?” and “What is your long-term mission?”
The answers to these questions don’t have to be world-changing, like ending world hunger. But these types of questions have helped Theresa stay focused on what is most important and discover a passion to impact the lives of families and women.
I’ve watched my wife take on these habits and can encourage you to think of some that can help you grow in your identity:
1) Build time each week in your calendar just for you. Theresa is introspective, so once a week, she gets away to the beach or a coffee shop by herself to pray, journal, exercise, and have a time of quiet reflection with the Lord. Find what refuels your tank and make the commitment to do it each week. If you catch yourself feeling guilty about taking this time to recharge, remember, even Jesus took time away in the “lonely places. Taking care of yourself in this way will bless those you love the most!
2) It’s ok to say “no,” even to good things. Nothing can tire you out more than feeling obligated to say yes to every opportunity to serve. Having the bigger picture at the forefront has helped her say “no” to things, even good things, that are not part of her bigger mission. This helps her avoid burnout and keeps her focus on what is most important.
3) Know your strengths. If you haven’t taken a spiritual gifts class, I highly encourage it. There are also numerous personality tests, including the Myers Briggs and StrengthsFinder. Learning your natural gifts can help you identify new roles and opportunities you may not have considered before.
4) Know your season. Theresa and I are in, what is affectionately referred to as, “The Long Middle.” But seasons will not last forever. Knowing your season provides perspective which can keep you going, even when you feel like giving up. If you’re in the darkest Winter right now, know that Spring always follows winter!
5) Find mentors; be a mentor. God uses people to grow us up in the faith. The Father’s House and has made it a priority to spend time building relationships. This is a good place to find and/or be a mentor.
6) Work on your schedule as a couple and prioritize. On Sunday night, Theresa and I get together and have a brief meeting to go over our calendar for the next week. It’s not always perfect, and sometimes messy, but it helps us plan out and make sure that we are spending our time wisely.
7) Plan a weekly date night. Having a weekly date night is a non-negotiable. It allows us to connect, at a deeper level, and communicates to our kids that our marriage is important.
8) Read inspirational books. Theresa has become a voracious reader. She also listens to positive podcasts and audiobooks to learn while driving or doing work around the house.
9) Pain is part of the process. Psalm 30 says that “weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” The transformative process is not all sunshine and rainbows. Theresa has encountered many challenges in recent years with all the demands upon her and in building her business. But I’ve watched the challenges make her stronger! Like weight training, where you tear muscle fibers to gain strength, the hardships she experiences are building her into a much stronger version of herself.
10) Make wise decisions about health. “I want to work out and eat healthier, but I just don’t have the time.” We’ve all been there. I think the biggest revelation for Theresa and I recently is that the time and energy we spend on exercising and making good food choices will come back to us ten-fold in the form of increased energy, health, and clarity of thought. Don’t feel guilty about taking time to work on your health!
I want to encourage you to take some time this week to seek the Lord and ask him to use you in a new and fresh way. Then take action and go for what God has put on your heart. Stir up your gifts and trust Him for the great reward!
Byron met Theresa over 20 years ago at Texas Christian University where he played baseball and studied business. Married for almost 19 years, they have four children Jacob, 16, Hannah, 14, Caleb, 12, and Abigail, 10. Over his career, Byron worked as a Business Coach in the Real Estate industry, as well as in sales and entrepreneurship. He is committed to Christ and helping others live out their full potential. He enjoys spending time with his family, playing piano and guitar, mountain biking, trail running, weightlifting, the ocean, travel, and any sport involving a ball.