I am forever grateful for my mother, who was always generous in sharing her wisdom and guidance with me.
She was always teaching. Encouraging. Leading. Loving.
My mother strongly believed that you should live your life learning from the mistakes of others. In order to do that you would need to evaluate the past. You would also need to have a deep understanding of an individual’s motivation.
She would often share stories with me about people that she knew in her lifetime and the outcomes of their choices. I was able to navigate innumerable negative situations based on knowledge from her stories alone.
With the plethora of valuable information my mother imparted upon me, one might wonder how in the world one piece of advice might stand out?
Well, if you’re not wondering, I certainly am.
To truly understand how one single piece of advice became utterly life-changing for me, you will need a little context. Allow me to paint a brief picture of the scenario.
The Back Story
I grew up in a single parent household. My parents divorced when I was around 3 or 4 years old, I can’t really remember. What I do remember was that their divorce was the most tragic event of my life.
That one decision had such an impact on me that it skewed how I viewed relationships, men, marriage, God, and life in general.
Now, you may be thinking something along the lines of “drama queen” right now. Trust me, I won’t judge. I’m kinda thinking the same thing now that I’m writing this. However, the truth is the truth and so I shall write the truth.
I lived my life in a kind of fear that I can’t rightfully explain. My mother use to say that the most dangerous animal is a scared one that feels cornered. That was me. Always afraid, and at times, feeling trapped.
By the time I was a young woman, the effects of my parents’ divorce had produced a strong-willed, outspoken, confrontational, and authoritative individual.
Not necessarily the kind of woman that you would picture as a blushing new bride.
By God’s abundant grace and mercy, He blessed me with someone that had the vision to see beyond my tough, coriaceous exterior.
Now that you have some background, I hope you can picture the person that I was some 20 years ago. Can you imagine the kind of discussions that had to have taken place in my home?
If you can call them discussions.
There was no such thing as submissiveness or forgiveness in my vocabulary. There was no such thing as sharing or working together from my perspective. It was my way or the highway!
Wow, all I can think about is my poor husband right now.
The good news …this is where my mother stepped in to save the day, and the rest of my life to be honest.
How My Mother’s Advice Changed My Life
My mother would often visit, as we were trying to rekindle and renew a mother/daughter relationship after my marriage.
She began to take notice of my behaviors and antics.
I can only imagine how I must have truly come across to onlookers at that time in my life.
I’d recently began studying the Bible for the first time actually, even though I was baptized when I was thirteen years old and had spent my whole life in the church.
I recall wanting to be a good wife, but not really knowing how. I constantly felt a prodding to seek information and learn as much as I could about marriage. I’d purchased a few books but didn’t really find anything that seemed to relate to me.
My mother knew that I’d began studying the Bible with a few other women and was extremely supportive. She also knew that my main motivation for studying was to become a better wife. I think she used this knowledge to her advantage, as this story continues to unfold.
As I studied, I found myself frustrated or feeling like many of the biblical concepts were unfair. The Word of God seemed to be in direct opposition to the ways of the world I was living in. I began to dismiss much of it, thinking that it was completely out of touch with my life.
Didn’t God know that “these men will run all over you if you let them,” I wondered?
I remember wondering, why would any woman give up her freedom for marriage. I began to feel trapped. I began to feel like something was wrong with me.
I felt so frustrated and out of place in my marriage that I was about to throw up my hands in defeat.
One day, my mother dropped by for a visit. We began talking and somehow we happened upon the topic of my bills. I began telling her that I make sure that my bills are paid every month on time. I was explaining how I even pay some of them in advance.
She asked me why my husband doesn’t pay the bills?
I snapped back, “because I don’t trust him or anybody else to keep my lights on.”
Then came the most profound advice my mother ever gave me and it changed my life forever.
Mama said …”Let him lead.”
Now, I won’t go into detail about my initial response to that advice. However, I will tell you that after bantering back and forth about women’s rights and all that jazz. My mother calmly explained why this strategy was my best option.
She told me that “A man needs to be a man, that is how God created him.” She said, “his job is to lead.” She explained that there are repercussions for a man, his wife, and their children when he doesn’t operate in that role.
Her advice promised differences in how my husband would present himself and behave and most importantly, how he would respond to me.
She even said that I would be happier, and therefore a better wife.
Okay, if you’re thinking like I was thinking, that payoff sounded too good to pass up. I’d be nuts not to give it a go.
After our discussion, I thought out how I would make my first move towards seeing if her advice would be fruitful.
I was scared to death, but I decided to explore my mother’s suggestion and lay down my iron-clad grip on the responsibility of paying the bills.
You know what …IT WORKED!!
What I Learned From Taking My Mother’s Advice
Let me just share with you some of the benefits that I have enjoyed since my husband has been leading our family.
- I’m able to focus on rearing our children
- I’m able to support my husband
- I don’t worry about bills
- I don’t have to be on hold with customer service people
- I can share my opinion but don’t have the burden of making the final decision
- I’m happy
- I’m in alignment with God’s original design
Hence, I am FOREVER grateful for my mother’s advice. I think that learning from my mother’s history helped me to accept her advice. I’m thankful that God used my parent’s divorce for good in my own marriage. God blessed me with a wise and loving mother. She shared her wisdom in a way that I could receive it, seasoned with salt. Her advice saved my marriage and it shaped me into a better person through being a wife.
Not just any wife, a good wife!
Blessings to you and Happy Homemaking!
You are invited to read more from this series by other sisters at Telling Hearts, by following this link:Best Advice from an Older Woman; collaborative series introduction