I grew up with parents who loved each other. I thought that was normal; that all kids had a stable home life and parents who might disagree but who didn’t fight and who CERTAINLY didn’t get violent or split up. It wasn’t until I was older that I realized not everyone grew up like me. That marriages could be filled with ugliness, hatefulness, spitefulness, violence and ultimately could fall apart. That words cut just as deeply as knives, and that those you love most can hurt you most.

I guess I was a Pollyanna. But I’m not anymore. And I’d rather MY girls know things I was shielded from so maybe, just maybe, they can end up with mates and a good marriage. So…these are things I’ve learned that I don’t want to forget to pass on…

  • You deserve to be treated with respect. ALL the time.
  • You need to show respect. ALL the time.
  • If you can’t control the situation, you CAN control your reaction to it.
  • Don’t roll your eyes. It’s rude.
  • There are needs, and there are wants. Take care of the needs first…you’ll have money later for your wants, and your husband will appreciate your frugality.
  • Your babies are beautiful whether they’re wearing high-dollar name-brand clothes or hand-me-downs. A label isn’t what makes them beautiful. What they see in YOUR eyes is what will resonate in their souls. Just make sure the clothes fit and are clean and neat, and any clothes are good enough.
  • Don’t scrimp on their shoes.
  • Don’t try to live your life through theirs. Let THEM choose the things they want to try.
  • Use your “designer clothing” money to set up their college fund.
  • Make sure they know they are kind, they are smart and they are important.
  • A wedding is one of the biggest days in a woman’s life, but if you find yourself more enamored with the thought of it than with the thought of life with your husband afterwards, stop and notice. Be sure you want a marriage,  not a wedding. If you’d be willing to elope and forgo the wedding, you’re okay.
  • If you have to “trick” or “trap” him into marrying you…he isn’t who you should marry. A marriage built upon lies will be a miserable one.
  • Never be in a relationship which must be kept secret. If you aren’t “good enough”, or it “isn’t the right time”–he isn’t the right guy.
  • Just because he’s “separated” doesn’t mean he will choose you. Most of them go back. And most rebound relationships fail.
  • If he won’t marry you, he’s unworthy to live with you. Period. You aren’t a car–he doesn’t need a test drive. You are a beautiful, intelligent, wonderful woman and there IS a man who will commit to you, who will find it impossible to breathe without you as his wife. THAT is the man you should marry. IF you love him just as much.
  • Don’t waste time waiting for him to see your value. If he doesn’t value you once he gets to know you, he never will.
  • Just because he isn’t the right one doesn’t mean there isn’t a right one–it just means you haven’t met him yet.
  • You deserve a proposal. A romantic one.
  • Gorgeous guys are great. But humility, decency, honor and respect trump beauty ANY day.
  • If he’s threatened by or resents your intelligence, he isn’t the right guy.
  • Don’t be arrogant about your intelligence. Intelligence doesn’t equal wisdom.
  • If he isn’t willing to put up with your family and be part of it regardless because it’s YOUR family, he isn’t good enough.
  • Fix him breakfast in bed.
  • More things don’t equal more happiness. Be happy with enough.
  • Don’t marry him unless you’d be proud to have him as a son.
  • Choose your battles. Some things aren’t worth the fight.
  • Listen to your elders–especially the women. They have the wisdom that only comes with years. And they WANT you to have the best life you can.
  • Prepare early on to support yourself in a comfortable manner in case you find yourself single.
  • Live on your own awhile before marrying.
  • Learn who YOU are, not who others think you are or want you to be.
  • Love yourself.
  • Pamper yourself.
  • Jewels on every finger will never replace peace in your soul.
  • Never buy a “new” car.
  • Pay your housing and utilities first each month. You can’t lose your groceries or credit card.
  • Limit yourself to one “emergency” credit card. Only use it for true emergencies.
  • If he doesn’t open the door and let you walk through first, he isn’t the right one.
  • You deserve to be treated like a lady.
  • Act like one.
  • Don’t allow others to speak poorly of your husband. He became half of you the day the two of you became one.
  • Start saving for retirement NOW.
  • Spend time with your grandparents and aunts/uncles. They’ll be gone way too soon.
  • Study the roots from which you came.
  • When you make mistakes, don’t make excuses. Apologies and changed behavior show character. Making excuses is weak.
  • Vote. EVERY election. It’s a privilege your grandmother’ s grandmother didn’t have.
  • Politics is not good dinner conversation.
  • Take vitamins and calcium.
  • Empty the dishwasher first thing every morning, and fill it all day then run it at night. Your kitchen will stay cleaner.
  • Change the filters in your house when you pay your utility bills.
  • Give him little gifts “just because”.
  • The right guy will reciprocate without prodding.
  • If he thinks flowers are a “waste of money”, tell him you’ll take plants for the yard. If he won’t give those either, he’s not the right guy.
  • Spend 15 minutes a day de-cluttering and straightening your house.
  • Vacuum, dust, mop and the like on Saturday mornings (or Friday evenings) so you can enjoy your weekend.
  • Do laundry twice a week.
  • Trust but never turn a blind eye. Temptations are many.
  • Teach your children early on that they are each other’s best friends. The relationship between siblings is the longest relationship of their lives.
  • HEAR them when they speak to you. Help with what you can…give wisdom when you can…but show them how to resolve conflict and allow them to.
  • Never argue in front of the kids.
  • Never undermine your husband’s authority in front of the kids. Never allow him to undermine yours in front of them, either.
  • Watch your husband/fiance/boyfriend’s parents closely.  Be prepared to walk away if they bicker, fight or get violent. Those are the relationship skills he’s learned and he will probably not get over them.
  • It’s a good bet that he will be a husband like his father patterned before him.
  • Smile…sometimes for no reason at all other than it will improve your mood.
  • Just cause it’s cheaper in the giant economy size doesn’t mean your cabinets will contain it or that you will use it all before it expires. Don’t waste money.
  • Make sure your child’s surname is one of which she/he can be proud. Reputation matters.
  • Read with your child. EVERY day.
  • Somewhere, somehow, grow a tomato plant every year. Nothing beats a fresh off the vine tomato. (Unless you hate tomatoes. Then, grow lettuce. Grow SOMEthing. There is nothing as soul-soothing as the feel of the sunshine on your back and dirt in your hands).
  • Be honest.
  • Read and apply your Bible. Especially the “how to be a good wife” parts.
  • Never think you’re too grown up to swing on a swingset or play tag.
  • TV will rob you of your hours. Turn it on to watch a show, then turn it off when that show’s over. Don’t waste your life watching others live theirs.
  • Check your oil. Have it changed on time.
  • Never get below 1/4 tank of gasoline.
  • Keep candles, flashlights, a source of heat, water and food on hand in case the power goes out.
  • Keep your cell phone charged.
  • Train your children. If you have to work and leave them in daycare, train them every minute you’re with them. They have to be taught how to live and how to treat others.
  • Training them includes teaching them manners. Well-mannered people go far in life.
  • Take your kids to Vacation Bible School.
  • Dress in the manner of the person at your job you most want to emulate.
  • If someone continually abuses you (verbally, mentally, emotionally or physically) you have the right to walk away. Even if they’re “family”.
  • There are books about codependency. Read one. Apply.
  • Never mix ammonia and bleach.
  • To stop learning is to begin to die.
  • Pray.
  • Get mammograms. Breast cancer runs in both sides of your family.
  • Having a living relationship with Jesus is more important than “going to church”.
  • Jesus loves you, regardless.
  • So do I–forever. I’ll like you for always. As long as you’re living my baby you’ll be.
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