Children born of fairy stock
Never need for shirt or frock,
Never want for food or fire,
Always get their heart’s desire:
Jingle pockets full of gold,
Marry when they’re seven years old.
Every fairy child may keep
Two strong ponies and ten sheep;
All have houses, each his own,
Built of brick or granite stone;
They live on cherries, they run wild–
I’d love to be a Fairy’s child.

– “I’d Love to Be a Fairy’s Child” by Robert Graves

When I was a little girl, this poem was among my personal favorites. I was enchanted by the idea of being a fairy (or “faerie”, as my old-fashioned heart prefers to spell it – in the traditional Anglo-Saxon style). Part of my affection for this poem may also have stemmed from the line “marry when they’re seven years old”, since as long as I can remember, my deepest desire was to be a wife. I surely would have married at the ripe old age of seven if given the option; pity I wasn’t born one of those oh-so-fortunate mythical beings of which Robert Graves wrote! If only I were a faerie, perhaps I might have found my husband sooner and loved him longer. (I confess, I’ve always had a touch of hopeless romanticism.) Ah well, a girl can dream!

At about ten years old, a church friend and I were “hired” for an afternoon of cleaning in my parents’ general store. My mother assured us that if we showed forth good work ethic, my friend and I could each pick out some candy plus anything else in the store that struck our fancy (up to a certain dollar amount). For some time, I had been eyeballing an exquisite, silver-lined, plush-covered book my parents had for sale. It was all about different kinds of faeries; complete with whimsical poetry and charming pictures. My friend and I put all our efforts into making my parents’ store sparkle and shine, and we two girls both walked out of the store that day as the proud new owners of the last two volumes left in stock of A Deluxe Book of Flower Fairies by Cicely Mary Barker. We spent hours poring over those books in all their glory.

My affinity for faeries followed me from early childhood on into my teen years, during which I dubbed the two young daughters of a family friend, “my little faeries”. This was considered the highest compliment in all the world to those girls, who embraced the magic wholeheartedly. Playing “faeries” became our special game whenever they would pay us a visit, and between the three of us, we were called “Tree Faerie”, “Flower Faerie”, and “Mushroom Faerie”, respectively. Even our brothers (their elder, and my younger) wanted to join in on the fun, so after much consideration on my part, they were designated the “tree hoppers”. We five had many delightful adventures as guardians of the trees, flowers, and mushrooms.

As an older teen, I took on the social media handle, “The Auburn Faerie”, which I was using at the time I met my husband. He found the name alluring, and during our courtship days he wrote me a love poem entitled, “What Do Faeries Do?”, about a man discovering a faerie while taking a walk through the forest. In the poem, the man is so captivated by the faerie and curious about her kind, that he continues to wonder within himself just exactly what it is that faeries are all about, and what that might mean for him.

You might be wondering: how does all this tie into today’s lesson? Well, a while back, I was pondering the phrase, “your wish is my command”. It’s quite a pleasant phrase when you think about it. When one says these warm words in response to a request, they are affirming that they are eager and willing to be of service to another. They are saying that they don’t have to be bribed or threatened or coerced into action…they simply hear the desire of the other person and consider it their solemn duty to fill it out of love. Sounds a bit like the heart of a submissive wife towards her man, does it not? “His wish is my command” is certainly a worthy maxim for the Christian wife to live by. Now, when I think of the word, “wish”, a connection comes to mind. I automatically link this word to – can you guess? – faeries! The enchantment of my youth. I am reminded of the long forgotten question: “What Do Faeries Do?” Instantly, the answer is there. Why, they grant wishes, of course! Just like wives of excellence seek to do for their husbands. Perhaps I really can be a faerie after all?! Thus, the idea for His Wish is My Command is born.

What are faeries (wives) all about, and what do they have to offer to the world of men (their husbands)? Today’s article seeks to answer, in three points, these musings which my husband put forth all those years ago by way of a little love poem. If you would be the “magic” in your husband’s life, then stick around. Let’s look at three truths that stand the test of time, concerning the dealings between faeries and men.

Faerie Fact #1:

The fairies, as is their custom, clapped their hands with delight over their cleverness, and they were so madly in love with the little house that they could not bear to think they had finished it. So they gave it ever so many little extra touches, and even then they added more extra touches.

J.M Barrie, Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens

J.M. Barrie, author of Peter Pan, creator of Tinkerbell, and presumably the authority on faeries, portrayed his little winged ladies as those who love to learn. Cleverness was a delight to these faeries, and they felt so fulfilled by having conquered a newly learned skill (in this case, the building of a house) that they wanted to keep adding to and perfecting the work they had done. A Christian wife can glean a lot from this fictional example. Do we share the faeries’ fervor for learning, especially in regard to our husbands?

If we are to be women whose motto is “his wish is my command”, our first step is to learn what our husband’s wishes are in the first place. There are two basic ways to do this: 1.) asking him, or 2.) observing him. I find the latter approach to be most effective, most of the time. While some husbands are more vocal about their desires, the vast majority of men are not “talkers”. The average man would much rather his wife ascertain his wishes by observation and learning, rather than by goading him for his opinion on every little thing. A good wife asks her husband’s wishes, but a great wife knows her husband’s wishes. This knowing does not happen overnight, but it is built “order on order…line on line…a little here, a little there…” over the course of a godly marriage. And if you love to learn, you’re already off to a great start.

A common marital mishap women make is to submit to their men only in the “big things”. Many a wife lives in such a way that says to her husband “my wish is my command”. She goes where she pleases, dresses how she likes, indulges in hobbies she prefers, befriends who she fancies, etc. in her everyday life, but (if her husband is lucky) she’ll submit to him when it comes to a massive life decision, such as what new town to move to…and this after many a long discussion and persuasion on the part of her husband. Since husbands and wives reflect the relationship between Christ and His church, this kind of “submission” is akin to a Christian telling Jesus, “I’ll submit to you in the really big decisions like getting baptized and saving sex for marriage, but for the other 99% of my life I’ll be following my own wishes”. Unacceptable.

If we are to be virtuous help meets, we must have an attitude of submission to our husbands in all things, both great and small. We must approach every area of life in a “his wish is my command” sort of way. Whether by asking or observing, we must seek to discover our husband’s wishes so that we can grant them. There are innumerable questions we can ask ourselves each day. The 5 W’s is a great starting point:

Who does my husband want me to be? What does my husband want me to do? When does he want me to do it? Where does he want me to spend my time? Why does he react the way he does to certain behaviors? These 5 categories should address most, if not all, of his wishes. Ask yourself these kinds of questions as you go about your day, and your marriage will flourish. If you learn your man’s desires, and if you have a soft and submissive heart, fulfilling them will be a breeze. After all, “knowing is half the battle”!

“What do faeries do?” We love to learn our husbands. We “clap our hands with delight over our cleverness“, we “cannot bear to think we have finished“, we add “ever so many little extra touches” to his home, and “even then add more extra touches“. We are in a constant state of observing, learning, adjusting, and perfecting. We bring the sparkle and magic to our husband’s life when we love to learn.

An excellent wife is the crown of her husband… – Proverbs 12:4a

Faerie Fact #2:

Tink was not all bad: or, rather, she was all bad just now, but, on the other hand, sometimes she was all good. Fairies have to be one thing or the other, because being so small they unfortunately have room for one feeling only at a time. They are, however, allowed to change, only it must be a complete change.

J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

This quote made me chuckle, because it is so true about “faeries” – the wifely variety, that is. Members of the fairer sex have proven time and time again, since the Garden of Eden, to be creatures led greatly by emotion…sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. The capacity to love passionately and hate venomously both reside within our feminine makeup. And just like Little Miss Tinkerbell, we “unfortunately have room for one feeling only at a time“. Sadly, many nurture feelings of hatred for their husbands. But feelings are fickle things, and, thankfully, we are “allowed to change, only it must be a complete change“.

All the marriage gurus will tell you that “love is a choice”. I believe this to be true. I also believe that “love is a feeling”. This is not a contradiction, because choices and feelings are not mutually exclusive. When you love to learn your husband (a mighty fine choice), you learn to love your husband (a mighty fine feeling). When choices and feelings are in tandem, a healthy, happy, holy, harmonious marriage ensues.

Helen Andelin, author of Fascinating Womanhood (a cherished book of mine that comes highly recommended), wrote and spoke on many exemplary traits of the “fascinating” wife. Two of these go hand-in-hand with loving to learn and learning to love. These two traits are: acceptance and admiration. Acceptance means loving a man in spite of his flaws. Admiration means loving a man because of his virtues. Together, they mean loving the whole man. Do you accept and admire your husband?

When you make the choice to accept your husband for who he is right now, flaws and all, it will allow your heart and eyes to open up and see his good qualities. We must choose acceptance in order to feel admiration. Has there yet been upon this earth a husband so foul that not one good quality could be found within him? If perchance that may be, I pity the wife married to such a beast. I will venture to guess, however, that most women who read this article are married to men who possess a myriad of qualities, both good and bad. I adjure these women to stop focusing on the bad and start looking for the good.

Is your husband morally upright? Is he wise? Is he kind? Is he patient? Is he disciplined? Is he selfless? If you can say yes to one or more of these questions, you hardly need any admonishment to admire your husband…certainly you chose well and belong to a man of stalwart character! But if your husband is not a Christian, or at least not strong in his spiritual attributes, perhaps he possesses some positive social traits. Is your husband successful in his career? Is he intelligent? Can he be depended upon to solve problems? Does he run a budget? Can he give a good speech? Lean into those skills and praise them! Even if he lacks good social skills, perhaps he is, at the least, somatically sound. Does he bring home a paycheck? Can he lift a heavy load? Would he defend the home against an intruder? Is he a capable driver? Does he have a warm embrace? Is he physically appealing? Admire these qualities…make him feel like a man.

“What do faeries do?” We learn to love our husbands. We accept their bad qualities, knowing that wives are not given the power of authority over their husbands, but rather the power of influence – to “win without a word”. We admire their good qualities, knowing that a wife’s approval can do much to make or break a man’s self-worth. We bring the sparkle and magic to our husband’s life when we learn to love.

…encourage the young women to love their husbands… – Titus 2:4a

Faerie Fact #3:

I do believe in fairies! I do! I do!

J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

It is claimed in J.M. Barrie’s lore, “every time a child says that they don’t believe in faeries, there is a faerie somewhere that falls down dead”. And if a faerie is fading and on the brink of death, nothing is so healing as the words, “I do believe in faeries“, accompanied by a hearty clap of the hands. Certainly this sentiment also rings true for wives, as nothing feels quite so hopeless as being rejected; nothing so life-giving as being believed in and loved. What woman would not yearn for her husband to say, “I do believe in you”?

If you would have your husband regard and treat you as his faerie queen, you know what you need to do. Sow seeds of learning and seeds of loving into your marriage, and you will reap a bountiful harvest. Forsake the destructive path of “my wish is my command”. This mindset is the way of the world – the way that exalts women and children into positions of power and stomps men under their feet. The way that leads to sin and sorrow – unhappy men, unhappy women, unhappy children, broken families, broken churches, and broken nations. How much better to follow The Way – the path set forth in God’s word? Take this path, and not only will your husband be well-pleased in you, but the King of Kings will be, also. Foster a gentle and quiet spirit – the innocent essence of a faerie – for this is precious in the sight of God.

“What do faeries’ husbands do?” They learn and love their faeries. They cannot help but to be won over by the subtle charms of the faerie folk: submissive faerie hearts, soft faerie mannerisms, and stunning faerie appearances, all wrapped up in sweet little faerie packages. A man who is fortunate enough to be in possession of such a rare and hard-to-find treasure will soon find himself saying, “I do believe in faeries! I do! I do!” When we bring the sparkle and magic to our husband’s life, we will be learned and loved.

Her husband…he praises her, saying: “many daughters have done nobly, but you excel them all.” – Proverbs 31:28b-29

In conclusion…

What do faeries do?” They love to learn, they learn to love, and in turn, they are learned and loved.

If you would bring the sparkle and magic to your husband’s life, then you must become a faerie who says “his wish is my command“. Adopt this as your mantra, and your husband will certainly come to feel that:

All the world is made of faith, and trust, and pixie dust.

J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

For God’s glory,
Mrs. Dustin Bolks

Chaste Bolks is a church of Christ preacher’s wife, and the home educating mother of two children. She and her family currently reside in Northwest Iowa.