To the sons I never gave birth to:
I have been amazingly blessed with two precious and incredible daughters. I have also been given the opportunity to sow into the lives of many girls over the last 35-40 years. I’m almost 60. I’ve accumulated MANY blessings in the form of some other mother’s daughter and now, some sons.
First, God blessed me with two kind hearted and loving sons-in-law. This isn’t about them, nor necessarily for them, although, if they are as smart as I think they are, they will pull some nuggets and put them in action.
What got me thinking in this line of thought are the five most recent young fellows God has blessed my life with in the past three years. I won’t tag them, nor state their names, they know who they are. And they know they are precious. Fellas, Mama Angie is about to give you some “mama advice”. You all have your own mama—I’m not that. But I believe in sowing seeds of faith and love wherever God plants you—and I’ve been planted here—and you are there as well, so get settled to listen a few minutes.
You are either just married, about to be married this month, or will next year. I’ve seen the rings. “Y’all did good!” I pray the coming years are even better!
So, let’s talk. Or, let me. (If you know me well, you know I will be honest and upfront if asked my opinion—but today I’m giving my unsolicited opinion.)
These are in no particular order of importance except this first one:
- Pray for her. Not just in your own prayer time, but hold her hand or hold her close and pray OVER her. When I worked in Dothan, Jeff began doing this in the last couple of years that I traveled back and forth, and let me tell you—what a difference it made in my day! As well as how loved I felt—words can’t express the depth of that feeling-emotion. Just try it and see what happens. You will have a happy wife on your hands—and God will bless YOUR OWN life. You are her prayer covering. You are the priest of the home. You don’t have to use fancy words. It doesn’t even have to be long. If you feel too shy—do it anyway. Guys—if you cannot pray over her—stop and rethink this. This is a must for a blessed and whole marriage. Oh, you will still have a marriage, it just won’t be as blessed and amazing. (Girls, this is for you too.)
- Find out her love language. If you’ve never read the book, “The Five Love Languages, by Gary Smalley”, I encourage you to read that. At least enough to get the gist of it. Her love language is what makes her “feel” loved. Guys we may “KNOW” we are loved, but we like to “feel” loved. That happens with the love tank being filled. Daily. I confess, I didn’t read the whole book and what I did read was many years ago, but it stuck. Find out what her love language is. It’s a short little quiz you can take online without even buying the book and it will open up your world! Everyone is different. My love language is three top contenders: physical touch, quality time and words of affirmation. Physical touch doesn’t just mean the bedroom (yes, I said that—you are either married or about to be—figure it out). Physical touch is holding her hand when you walk sometimes. It’s your arm around her when you sit close, or rubbing her shoulders—or feet! (If she loves that.) If you are doing this with sexpectations, you are doing it for the wrong reasons. And yes, I said that too. And guys, as you get older, you have to be more intentional. Life happens and we all get busy—just don’t get too busy to be there for each other—in the small ways as well as the big ways. If the church service is the only time you are close—go back to number 1. Pray. Ask God to remind you of the love you once had. When you find out what her love language is, not putting it into action is like saying, “I don’t care or it’s not that important to me”—if that’s the case, you are in a mess. Only God can help you. (Girls, SAME SAME SAME)
- Help each other. If she needs help with a big job in the house, i.e., moving furniture, help with patience. If you need help with an outside project, ask for her help. Chances are she will love that opportunity to spend some extra time with you (but don’t get angry if she’s neck deep in the middle of something and can’t instantly to run help you). If that’s YOUR love language, make sure she knows that. She won’t know until you tell her. I personally love helping Jeff. We work pretty well together on projects—he knows my physical limitations—and while there was that one-time helping sheetrock I cried, it hasn’t been often—it’s a true joy to work side-by-side. (We grew that day.). Going through struggles is going to happen. Go together. Don’t struggle alone. The devil gets in when you try to go through things alone and he plants crappola in your mind and her mind all day long—we each have the ability to help one another and make it stop.
- Be a good forgiver. My mother had Jeff and I sit down and read 1 Corinthians 13 together the day we married. We have both had to put it into practice many times in the last almost 39 years. And we have both fumbled at it at times—but we keep at it. This translation and I like the way it reads, 1-8:
If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it;[a] but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages[b] and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever!
- Don’t spend more than an agreed upon amount without discussing it. That means, don’t go out and buy a boat without sitting down and seeing what’s coming up, where you are financially and can you afford this…. And girls, same goes for you. When I find something I think I just have to have, I will send Jeff a message or call if it happens to be over the agreed amount. This is just good common sense.
- Keep a little cash stash for emergencies, i.e., a special date night to a really nice place rather than just same-old-same-old. Plan ahead for vacations by saving and sticking it back. Makes vacation more enjoyable when you know it’s already funded. There were many years we never took one—it wasn’t in the budget. I didn’t pout—we did something else together. (Even if I pouted initially, I got over it really quick.). Goes without saying, girls SAME.
- DO NOT YELL. Ever. If you feel the blood boiling, go wash the car or truck, cut grass, chop wood, or something constructive. Calm down. Talk about it before the week is out. Sometimes it takes a few days. Just don’t let it fester and become infected. Get it out and get rid of it. The devil loves it when we hang on to hurt. We have all been guilty of that. Girls SAME. If you yell, I will be very disappointed.
- Give her the attention she needs. Girls, same. Give him the attention he needs. It’s biblical. Don’t make either one a beggar. Not only is that wrong biblically, it also lets them know—your needs don’t really matter to me. If there’s too much going on in your life and your mind can’t stop—work on that. Spontaneity is great—but planning is better. Planning shows you really care about the other person’s needs. I remember one time I was working two jobs and one was at the law office all day and the part-time one was at the mall in a small dress shop. Jeff knew I was exhausted. I was helping out a friend who was on maternity leave. I always called him to let him know I was leaving Dothan. He timed it just right and had me a hot bubble bath ready when I got home. Yes, I cried. Guys, pay attention to what she needs. There may be times she can’t put it into words…learn to read her heart.
- When children come along—remember the little lady was here first. Love her big. Girls, SAME THING. If you have to “make a date night”, do it. There is a grandma who would LOVE to watch that little baby for a few hours while you have a special date. If you live away from parents and grandparents, find a responsible young lady or couple at church and ask them—whether you can even leave the house for a date or not, make it special. Intentionality speaks VOLUMES. Those little babies do go to sleep sometimes….don’t worry about the house—it will be there. Give one another some real listening time. If she needs to talk—listen. What she really might need is for YOU to talk. Girls, SAME. (Listening to Jeff is in my top five favorite things. He doesn’t talk a lot—so when he does, I pay attention.)
- Be a saver more than a spender. This also speaks volumes. It means you are looking to the future and not just living for the present.
- If a particular task makes her just nuts, help her with it. (Tax time is a good time.). Girls, SAME.
- TELL her each day something you like or love about her. Whether it’s her hairdo, her eyes, her outfit, her nail polish or the way she loves you…make it personal. Not about what she cooked the day before. She needs this. I heard an older preacher say once, “son, if you don’t tell her, someone at that office will”. BIG side note: Girls, SAME. Tell HIM what thrills you about him. I love telling Jeff this—because number 1, it’s true. He’s the most amazing and handsome man I’ve ever laid eyes on, and 2, he’s mine. I want to take good care of him. Because he’s mine.
- KISS. KISS. KISS. I laughed when I typed that because that’s something we ALL need. If she’s a kisser –KISS HER. Girls, SAME.
- Don’t go to bed angry. I’ve done this. I’m sure in the almost 39 years we’ve been married Jeff has too. BUT if you do, pray until you aren’t angry any more. Praying for her will remove the anger and help you love her through whatever made you angry.
- Send her sweet texts in the day, write her sweet notes (I love a handwritten note). Generally, Jeff and I do cards rather than gifts at birthdays/anniversaries/valentines etc. Sometimes there’s a gift—but there is almost always a card. Make it one that says your feelings if you have a problem writing yours out. I’m a writer—so I have no problem with writing. If you are NOT a writer, do it sometimes anyway. I treasure each one Jeff has written.
- Go the extra mile. Sometimes it may seem you are the only one going the extra mile—(girls don’t let that happen). Don’t carry resentment with you. Go with love for her.
- Holidays are generally times we have to do more than we physically feel like doing—don’t fuss about going to her family’s house for a meal. Girls, SAME.
- If you get mad with her about something….for Pete’s sake, DON’T go tell your mama. Don’t tell anyone but God. Unless you need a counselor. GIRLS, SAME SAME SAME.
- If she handles all the household chores, tell her THANK YOU. If you share in those chores, great. That doesn’t always happen. Side-note to girls: if he takes care of the maintenance on your vehicle –tell him THANK YOU! Find lots of things to thank the other one for. A thankful heart is a happy heart. And lastly,
- Go back to number one. Pray for each other. Prayer is the glue that will keep your marriage together in the hardest of times.
I’ve written a ton. More than I planned—but it just kept coming out… so maybe you needed reminding of what she needs. It’s not all about you. Girls, SAME.
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