03.16.10

THE “PERFECT” WIFE

Posted in Family and Friends, Memoir Writing, Motherhood at 08:00 am by admin

A frequent question I am asked at book clubs is “What kind of influence did your mother have on your adult life, for instance, what kind of wife were you?”

As I describe in my memoir Divine Betrayal, my mother did her best to become the “perfect wife” for my father. She lived to serve Jesus and she believed she could do this by being the “perfect” helpmate to her husband, the Reverend John Peter Kolenda.

For her this meant complete self-denial, long suffering, working day and night—she was totally enmeshed in my father’s work, and strove to become the kind of person she thought my father needed and wanted.

It goes without saying that she has affected my role as wife—she was my model, she had the perfect marriage, and a husband who loved and honored her in every way.

I too became a very self-sacrificing wife. I doted on my husband’s every need. I smothered him with love and attention. I helped make the living, taught nursing and then worked in his company. I look back and remember often working 60 to 80 hours per week. I became completely enmeshed in his life. I never made time for myself. After six years of marriage we had our first child. That added to the work and commitments on my part. I wanted to be the “perfect” mother. I took the entire responsibility of parenting onto myself. I thought he was too busy anyway, and besides isn’t child rearing a woman’s job.

Well guess what happened?

After our second child was born, nine years into our marriage, my husband became dissatisfied. As it turned out, I had not been the kind of wife he had envisioned. His mother had been his model. Unlike me, she was a very independent and a self-actualized woman.

He wanted me to quit working with him and stay home with our girls. I felt deeply rejected and couldn’t imagine how I would survive away from him. I felt that our business and marriage would fall apart.

Fortunately we were both open to getting help. Without going into much detail, I will summarize by saying we found a wonderful family counselor who fortunately had a Fundamentalist background. He understood my roots and where my husband was coming from. We saw him individually and together.

It was not an easy process, and took almost two years. I had to learn how to be a different kind of wife and my husband had to learn how to communicate with me and support my new way of being. I often say: “Our old relationship died, as if we had a divorce.” We had to build a new relationship. It was very painful and with a lot of tears. However it was worth it! I believe that at the foundation of our relationship there was a lot of love and respect and the willingness to forgive and grow. As I look back, I know how fortunate I was. During this crisis we had our third daughter, I was able, with my husband’s support, to go to graduate school and get a master’s degree in human development. During these studies, I was able to better understand my “Human Development” and grow as an independent person. I worked part-time as a counselor in a men’s prison for eight years.

Every year I continue to grow and to learn how to remain an independent woman as well as a supportive wife.

2 Responses to “THE “PERFECT” WIFE”

  1. Jenny Says:

    This is very interesting. I actually enjoy your writing style and your word choice more than anything Smile

  2. Jenny Says:

    Completely I share your opinion. I like this idea, I completely with you agree.


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