I believe every married woman wants to be the best wife she can be, but it's hard to have a clear picture of what that really means or looks like.

The media seems to bombard women with conflicting messages about what the "ideal woman" is all about. One moment you're being told to starve yourself and spend all your time in the gym and salon so you can always look like an airbrushed model on the cover of a magazine. The next moment your role model is a CEO mom who is making millions and still "having it all" by being a wife and mommy too. You flip the channel again and you're told that an ideal wife makes her own clothes and home schools her 20 kids.

So which one is the "right" picture of womanhood? I believe that God made every woman masterfully and beautifully unique, so you never need to get caught up in the comparison trap by thinking your life needs to be measured against anyone else's. I hope that helps you breathe a sigh of relief!

As you live out your beautiful uniqueness in your marriage, here are a few truths that can equip you to take your marriage and family to a new level of health and happiness. While every wife is unique, I believe these truths below apply to everyone, and if you'll apply these principles within the context of your own personality, I believe you'll become an even greater wife.

This is not a comprehensive list, but these are four very practical areas where you have the power to improve your marriage:

1. Give respect to your husband

We husbands don't like to admit it, but we are absolutely desperate for your respect! When we believe that you believe in us, we feel like we can conquer the world, but when we believe you don't believe in us, we can barely get through the day. Even in those moments when your husband doesn't "deserve" your respect, give it anyways, and your actions will actually help shape him into the courageous man of character God intended for him to be.

"So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband." Ephesians 5:33

2. Be yourself (and allow your husband to be himself too)

Bring out the best in each other, but never try to change each other. Be the unique masterpiece God created you to be, and allow your husband to do the same (quirks and all)! As I've already stated above, you can learn from others, but don't feel like you've got to compare yourself or your life to anyone else.

"For you are God's masterpiece, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for you to do." Ephesians 2:10

3. Create a positive tone in the home.

More than any other person in the house, the wife has the power to set the tone in the home, so set a good one! Foster an atmosphere where encouragement, laughter, discipline, hard work, fun, love and grace all flow together in harmony.

"She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness. She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness." Proverbs 31:25-27

4. Fall in love...with God!

The more you love God, the more capacity you will have to love your husband, your kids and yourself. Make your relationship with Him the foundation of your life and everything else will fall into place.

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised. Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise." Proverbs 31:30-31

This article was originally published on Patheos. It has been republished here with permission.

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