The Tiny Difference Between A Good Wife Vs. A Great Wife

A great wife does less of what makes her ‘good’ and more of what makes her whole.

Good Wife Vs. Great Wif AleksandarNakic | Canva

What do you picture when you think of a "good wife"? I know we’ve evolved beyond the 1950s stereotype, and except perhaps the tradwife movement, most of us can acknowledge that a hot meal and a fresh martini when our husband walks in the door at 6 p.m. isn’t the measure of ‘goodness’ these days.

But when I look around, I still see women (myself included) trying to be ‘good’. While we’re not putting on a full face of makeup and our Sunday best to greet our men with a smile each night, there’s a different kind of standard placed on us, or that we put on ourselves (and each other).


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A good wife these days is trying to be all things to all people, all the time. She’s not just a good wife, either. She’s a good mom, a good friend, a good sister, and a good colleague. She is the epitome of selflessness, tirelessly tending to the needs of her family and everyone who relies on her, orchestrating the intricate dance of household/life/work management, and ensuring everyone’s happiness.

Wife and mom multitasking MilanMarkovic78 / Shutterstock


A good wife is the linchpin holding her family together. She’s the one who remembers the birthdays, plans the meals, and navigates the rollercoaster of emotions that come with daily life. She’s trying to stay supportive of her partner and enthusiastically show up for her job.

A good wife is giving the best of herself to everyone else. A good wife is holding it together on the outside. A good wife is doing it all.

Except that she’s not. Because amidst the chaos of caregiving and constant giving, she slowly fades into the background, losing herself in the process. She’s withering up on the inside. She’s physically and emotionally exhausted. She’s one forgotten dentist appointment away from a full meltdown.

So if she’s running herself into the ground to stay good, what could it take to become better than good? How can she possibly give more? What makes a great wife? The thing is, to become great she needs to do less of what makes her ‘good’ … and more of what makes her whole.


A great wife recognizes that her fulfillment is essential to the overall health of her relationships. A great wife understands that this fulfillment stems from prioritizing herself, rather than from sacrificing for others. She understands that to be the best partner and parent possible, she must first nurture her well-being.

The truth is that filling your cup is not just a luxury; it’s a necessity for your overall well-being and the health of your relationships. And no, self-care is not a hot shower or a cup of coffee in peace. These are basic human requirements. 

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To be a great wife (or husband, for that matter) you have to put yourself first — here's why:

1. Resilience

When you prioritize self-care and fill your cup, you build resilience. You become better equipped to handle life’s inevitable challenges and setbacks because you have the emotional and physical reserves to draw upon. Instead of crumbling under pressure, you’re able to bounce back stronger, which benefits not only you but also your relationships.

2. Modeling healthy behavior

As a partner and a parent, you serve as a role model for those around you, especially your children. By prioritizing your well-being and demonstrating self-care practices, you teach them the importance of setting boundaries, advocating for themselves, and nurturing their happiness. You show them that it’s not selfish to prioritize yourself, but rather essential for a fulfilling life.

3. Increased energy and creativity

When your cup is full, you have more energy and creativity to bring to your relationships, parenting, and pursuits. You’re able to approach weekend parenting or quality time with your partner with a clear mind and an open heart, finding innovative solutions and embracing new experiences with enthusiasm.

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4. Improved mental and physical health

Neglecting self-care can take a toll on your mental and physical health, leading to increased stress, anxiety, and even physical illness. By prioritizing your well-being, you can reduce stress levels, improve sleep quality, and boost your overall health and vitality. When you feel good mentally and physically, you’re better able to show up as your best self in all aspects of your life.

5. Enhanced relationships

When you fill your cup, you’re able to show up more fully for your partner, your children, and your loved ones. You have more patience, empathy, and generosity to offer, creating deeper connections and stronger bonds. Instead of feeling drained and depleted, your relationships become sources of joy, fulfillment, and support. And if there’s a conversation that needs to happen about a more equitable distribution of the household mental load, you’re much better placed to tackle that head-on.

Being a great wife doesn’t mean doing, being, or giving more to others. It means acknowledging and respecting the fact that you play a precious role in the lives of many people. For you to show up in the healthiest, most fulfilling way for your loved ones, you have to feel fulfilled yourself.


So sure, doing the groceries on your own feels like a real treat sometimes. But it’s not enough. Get honest with yourself about what makes you feel whole, and take action to do those things regularly. Taking care of yourself isn’t selfish — it is, in fact, one of the most selfless things you can do.

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Evie Gray is a writer who seeks to create connections by sharing her experiences of life, love, loss, and joy. She frequently publishes her pieces on Medium and is a regular contributor to Mamamia.