Hi friends! You’ve almost made it through your Monday, woohoo! Today I’m coming at you with a book review because I haven’t done one in a hot minute and this is a MUST READ in my opinion! It is perfect for all my girls that are dating, engaged, or married. I read through this book last year with a small group of women ranging from newlyweds to those that have been married for 30 plus years and we ALL loved it and we all agreed we wish we would have read it before we were married! You know who else loved it, my husband! He didn’t read it, but he LOVED me reading it! Ha! I’ll take you through my thoughts on it and a few things I have learned about marriage in the last 7.5 years. I’m not an expert by any means, but through trial and error you learn a thing or two. ;)
“The Fruitful Wife” by Hayley DiMarco (find here)
This book takes you through the nine fruits of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control) and applies them to how a wife can channel these characteristics in marriage. I really don’t have any complaints about this book because every chapter was SO rich, SO convicting, and SO encouraging.
If you have read any of my other book reviews (“Open Your Bible” here and “Whispers of Rest” here) then you know I am a little picky about Christian books. I’m a big reader in general. If I want to read a story I’ll pop out my latest fiction adventure. But if I want to read a Christian book that I want to help me grow then it is important to me that it is RICH in Biblical content. This book is just that! The author, Hayley DiMarco does a great job rooting all of her content in scripture. She definitely uses her own personal stories as teachable moments (which I love!), but it always goes back to scripture. If I am going to model my life after something then I need the Word of God to back it up!
I also love this book because it’s not a feel good book. That may sound weird, but reading this doesn’t leave you feeling all warm and fuzzy. Sometimes it hurt reading it, but in a good way. Like I said, Miles always liked the days I read this because I was super convicted and ready to change the way I approached our marriage. DiMarco is the first to call herself out in the way she lacks the Fruit of the Spirit in her own marriage, but she will help you open your own eyes to things you are doing that you didn’t even realize. She will help you peel back your own layers of pride to see what you may be doing that is actually hurting your marriage. Ouch.
BUT it’s not all bad! After the conviction comes the encouragement! She doesn’t just call you out and then leave you there to figure it out on your own. DiMarco does a great job coming behind herself to offer guidance and tips on how we can nourish these characteristics in ourselves and in our marriages. This is what I wish I would have read before I was married so I could try and start applying it all sooner!
Throughout the entire book, she focuses on how the only person we can change is ourselves. If we stop trying to “fix” our husbands and look inward for refinement then we will see more growth in our marriage than ever before. That’s not to say men are always right because they definitely are NOT. ;) BUT DiMarco guides you in focusing on yourself and how your best self will most likely bring out a better version of your husband as well. By no means does this mean be a doormat to your husband. Miles will be the first to tell you I have never been a doormat in our marriage. ;) However, the constant nagging will usually only deplete your husband. If I have learned anything, men THRIVE on respect and respond so much better when they feel valued. My mom always said, “two wrongs don’t make a right”. This book follows that premise in just because you feel wronged by your husband doesn’t mean you need to even the score and wrong him back. Who does that benefit? If we channel the fruits of the Spirit we can rise above that behavior, pray for our husband, and see God work through him.
It’s hard to do this book justice so I really just encourage you to check it out at your local bookstore or on Amazon here!
I thought I’d share one quote from each chapter of the book and a little bit of what I have learned along the way in this thing we call marriage! It is my hope to encourage you in your own marriage or to help prepare you if you are on your road to marriage! I am constantly learning new things through all of our ups and our many, MANY downs, but each year just gets sweeter and sweeter!
“So love is not about responding to how others make us feel but about the Holy Spirit’s promptings in our souls.” -The Fruitful Wife, Hayley DiMarco
A millions times yes. Love must be unconditional. Love cannot be based off how someone else makes us feel. News flash, your husband is going to hurt you and upset you. We’re all imperfect and he is definitely not exempt from that. If our love was determined on how our spouse makes us feel then we would be on a roller coaster of emotion all the time! We must turn to the Holy Spirit to teach us how to love on good days and on bad! Hello vows!
“A truly joyful woman sees pain and suffering but also sees the hand of God actively at work and can acknowledge the fleas while thanking God for them.” -The Fruitful Wife, Hayley DiMarco
Circumstances canNOT determine our joy! We must learn to lean on the Holy Spirit to find joy no matter the circumstance and thank God for the refinement in the hard times. Some of the most joyful times in our marriage have come from painful moments that caused us to lean on each other and to hold each other up.
“Peace in this life comes from your acceptance of suffering, not your exemption from it.” -The Fruitful Wife, Hayley DiMarco
-Yup. We will suffer. Marriage will be hard. We will get hurt. If you accept that early, you won’t be so shocked when the suffering comes, but you will learn to seek peace and live in that peace instead of seeking revenge or evening the score.
“Patience tolerates delay because it sees the hand of God in every event, and patience can suffer pain without complaint because to complain is to accuse God of some wrongdoing.” -The Fruitful Wife, Hayley DiMarco
Oh patience. Not my strong suit. But if you go back and remember all the times the Lord has been faithful it will help you be patient moving forward. It is hard to remember those times when you’re in the waiting, but remember it is not our job to fix anyone but ourselves. Practicing patience refines us and makes us more joyful and kind in the seasons of hardship.
“Kindness is me giving up my right to hurt you for hurting me.” -The Fruitful Wife, Hayley DiMarco
I never thought of kindness this way. I have learned through my own experience that no one wins when trying to hurt the other one, but kindness ALWAYS wins. It’s hard to stay level headed in a heated disagreement, but if you put your boxing gloves down and extend kindness, you’d be surprised at the love you receive in return.
“Goodness in marriage is a woman’s commitment to seek, no matter how she may feel, to live out God’s Word in her daily life, abiding in Christ, and bringing satisfaction to her husband.” -The Fruitful Wife, Hayley DiMarco
Oh man, that is HARD. As women, we have ALL the feelings, but those feelings cannot take us away from being a Godly woman. Goodness is shown not by ignoring those feelings, but by not letting those feelings define us.
“Faithfulness isn’t a steadfast devotion to your spouse, but to your God.” -The Fruitful Wife, Hayley DiMarco
This truth helps so much. Our spouse will let us down and hurt us. That is a fact. When you view being faithful in your marriage as being faithful to God, who will NEVER let you down, it becomes much more doable. As we are faithful to God, our faithfulness to our spouse will extend from it!
“Gentleness refers to an easiness, a carefreeness, that reveals a heart that is in meekness set on nothing but the will of the Father.” -The Fruitful Wife, Hayley DiMarco
Easy and carefree, two words that do NOT describe me. Haha. But if I put my high strung personality aside and focus on the will of the Father, I can let go of who I think I want my husband to be and enjoy who God created my husband to be!
“Self-control is exercised in those areas where self is seeking to be satisfied at the expense of God’s will. So then, self-control is choosing God over all the impulses to satisfy yourself.” -The Fruitful Wife, Hayley DiMarco
You read that right, “choosing God over all the impulses to satisfy yourself".” I often times think I want it my way, but I am always surprised by how glad I am things do NOT go my way. I am so glad my husband is not who I thought I wanted, but who God knew I NEEDED.
Marriage is the absolute hardest and the absolute best. God created marriage to be ENJOYED. To be FUN. It is time we start viewing it like that! I urge you to pickup “The Fruitful Wife” TODAY and lean in to all the Holy Spirit has to teach you! I will definitely be rereading this one! And to that my husband says AMEN. ;)