The term ‘Trophy Wife’ is often used in a derogatory or disparaging way and refers to a wife who is regarded as a status symbol for the husband. “Trophy wife” originally appeared in a 1950 issue of The Economist newspaper, referring to the historical practice of warriors capturing the most beautiful women during battle to bring home as wives.
Head Football Coach Andy Reid was quoted the day after winning his first Super Bowl with Kansas City, “I didn’t spend the night with the trophy. I spent it with my trophy wife.” Reid and his wife, Tammy, have been married for over 40 years. Andy and I have the same approach to a trophy wife. In our usage it is not derogatory at all. It only takes a few steps with a thesaurus to get from ‘trophy’ to words like respect, admiration, and devotion. That is what a trophy wife is in my world. An equal that is deserving of my respect, admiration and devotion.
Some might consider Esther, of the Old Testament, a trophy wife of King Ahasuerus. Her story could’ve ended with being chosen by the king because of her physical beauty, but God had a purpose and plan for her. As Esther’s character matures, she rises to the challenge to risk her life for the salvation of her people. Her fasting, praying, and interceding saved the Jews from annihilation and allowed them to turn the tables on their enemies.
My wife is self-assured and quite capable – capable of succeeding on her own but making the choice to succeed with me. She is a combination of beauty, brains and brawn; low maintenance and self-sufficient. After I had back surgery, we were having our dryer ductwork cleaned and the vent to the outside is located under a screened in porch that requires a 20-foot crawl over gravel. So, who was out there in the dark dealing with spiders and cobwebs, making sure the vent could be accessed? Then there was the time I was on a business trip and got a call, “how do I let a chipmunk out of the trap” Very matter of fact – I got it, no matter what “it” is.
She is not one to sit around and let things just happen at random. Not if she can influence the outcome in a more favorable way. She prefers to be part of the solution, wants to make things better. Since we met in college, she has challenged me to grow and be the best I can be. I like to say, “I married up and worked my tail off to reach that level.” I am the person that I am in large part due to her. My dad once told me how proud of me he was that I “married well.”
“Happy wife, happy life” is often said with a touch of sarcasm. Although on many levels it is true; but it can be an issue when it’s a barter system – “I give you what you want so I can get what I want.” That type of relationship lacks integrity or authenticity. In the short-term, it can be satisfying; but in the long-term, it can create a sense of entitlement and holding power. Couples who adopt this myth, miss the opportunity to experience a deep and fulfilling relationship.
A lasting and rewarding relationship is built on trust, honesty and reverence. Only through open, compassionate, and loving conversations can a couple understand what is important, to each other, and in their relationship. “If it’s important to you, it’s important to me.” We are genuinely interested in each other’s opinions. We choose to be best friends. We want the best for each other, to grow individually and as a couple.
Being in love with my wife is so much more than doing the things that love affords. We’re each other’s biggest cheerleader. We support each other, no matter what. We trade off duties, regardless of their perceived gender roles. I have laughed at the times I was doing the laundry while she was doing yard work. We have shared everything from closet space to finances to my favorite sweatshirt. When I start my day and can still feel the imprint of her hug, I perform at a higher level all day.
The work needed for a good marriage is comparable to football. To me, football is almost as sacred as marriage. I would never belittle marriage by comparing it to basketball or baseball. Football is a passionate sport and marriage is about passion. The commitment, determination, and intentionality it takes are all very similar. Football can have a stadium full of people watching to see every play and mistake. It’s important to be aware of our marriage observers; that we pay attention to how we model and live our married lives.
There is a great football half-time speech from the movie Friday Night Lights, “Being perfect is not about the scoreboard out there. It’s not about winning. It’s about you and your relationship with yourself, your family, and your friends. Being perfect is about being able to look your friends in the eye and know that you didn’t let them down because you told them the truth. And the truth is you did everything you could. There wasn’t one more thing you could’ve done. Can you live in that moment as best you can with clear eyes and love in your heart? With joy in your heart? If you can do that…you’re perfect.”
Sam Keen said it best, “We come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly.” I am thankful my wife follows the advice of that quote! Imperfect people, sharing love perfectly, forever – that is a marriage. We can replace the word ‘person’ with spouse, teammate, business colleague, neighbor, etc. Love requires intentional effort; it doesn’t just happen.
Trophies are man-made and presented for a person’s performance. There is a reward that comes from God not based on any performance standards – His Grace. It was by His grace that Vicki came into my life. That is the best explanation I can come up with as to why a College professor lines students up alphabetically to assign lab partners.
God is Love; Marriage is Love; God is Marriage. The ‘Marriage Triangle’ demonstrates the vital part of a husband and wife’s relationship is their individual relationship with God. As they grow closer to God, they draw closer to each other. In this relationship, if only one of them is growing closer to God while the other is not, the triangle’s shape gets out of balance as does their relationship with each other.
A ‘happy trophy wife’ is an imperfect person worthy of respect, admiration, and devotion. One who deserves our best intentional effort for a relationship built on reverence and love; as an equal. Want the best for each other, the best for ourselves. Be each other’s best friend. Get real. Get honest. Only through open, compassionate, and loving conversations can a couple understand what is important, to each other, and in their relationship.
Get closer to God.