I had no idea my parents were crazy about each other. Wasn’t it commonplace for dads to daily wrap moms up in a warm embrace? Didn’t all parents hold hands everywhere? What dad didn’t walk in from work and plant a smooch on mom right there in the middle of the kitchen?
It dawned on me not long ago, I grew up in a house full of romance.
At the time of my birth, my mom and dad had been married 21 years. They had learned two decades of marriage wisdom. Here are 12 things my mother often said. She may not have always related them to marriage specifically, but her life’s philosophy certainly was the cornerstone of their lifelong love affair.
“Always put on your lipstick.”
Look good for your man. Make the effort even when you aren’t feeling like it.
I get a little quiver in my stomach when Mr. Muscle’s eyes brighten because he appreciates what he sees. It’s worth the effort. (View Lipstick to see a pic of my young mama.)
“You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.”
Watch your words and your tone. Nastiness begets nastiness. Sweetness begets sweetness. Want to diffuse an angry situation or have your opinion taken more seriously? Put away sarcastic tone and ugly words.
Mentor how you want your family to treat each other. You set the tone. Sweetness can influence ripe sexual intimacy with your husband.
“God will always see you through.”
Our mysterious God sometimes has wacky and unimaginable conclusions to the seasons of life. But, one way or another, things work out. God will take care of it.
Worry is stress. Trust God. Stress does not promote carefree bedroom play.
“Six of one, half dozen the other.”
Sometimes, there’s no perfect decision. You pray and trust God will be there for you in the decision.
Again, trusting God reduces the stress to have a peace-filled home.
“Don’t waste the toilet paper by wrapping your sanitary products in it, use newspaper.”
TMI? Well, my mother was frugal. She was the original re-purposer and recycler. She taught me how to make a penny bleed mainly through self-sacrifice, budgeting, and creative thinking.
Finances can stress you out if they are not under control. And again, stress does not promote steaminess in the bedroom.
“Roll up your sleeves and work.”
There is much satisfaction in working with your husband on a project. My mom worked with dad to build a house and then maintained and re-decorated it through the next 38 years. They grew a garden, picked, prepared and canned/froze the harvest.
Whether the project requires guts, grit or elbow grease, teamwork builds camaraderie. Camaraderie promotes communication and intimacy.
“You won’t melt.”
When it was raining out and I didn’t want to get wet, mom would always say, “You’re not sugar, you won’t melt.” There were no divas or pampering in my mom’s house. She nurtured a healthy sense of responsibility and pragmatism within me.
An over inflated ego is detrimental and is not the same as self-confidence. Self-confidence and a good work ethic spills over into being a good mate. Let’s face it, marriage can be work.
“Have some fun!”
Mom and dad were in bowling leagues, euchrue and bridge leagues, and Jart tournaments. (Jarts were the cornhole of yesteryear.) Playing together is very important in your marriage. Sharing new experiences draws you closer and gives you common memories to talk about.
“You gotta keep ‘em guessing.”
Several times throughout my school years, I would come home to find my room’s furniture had been rearranged. Mom liked variety. Sometimes, I’d come home to fresh baked cookies or a new school outfit. She liked to surprise people.
An element of light-heartedness keeps life fun. Bringing elements of charming surprises in marriage keeps things spicy
“Help people get along.”
Mom observed how people related to one another. She taught me to sense when there was something amiss in relationships. She showed me how to walk alongside someone to bolster them up, expecting absolutely nothing in return.
Our mates need us to walk alongside and be their cheerleaders, at times.
“There’s a time for baby birds to leave the nest.”
My mom’s goal was to raise independent adults who were good citizens in their community. She was always forward thinking, she never said, “Oh, I wish you would stay this age forever.” She was always preparing me for the next stage, always with an eye toward my adulthood.
Her first priority was dad. She taught me that I was unconditionally loved, but I would someday make my own home elsewhere. Dad would always be by her side.
“Having relations is very special.”
It was expected that sexual intimacy would not happen until marriage, but sex was not a taboo topic. Mom didn’t get embarrassed when the subject came up. She liked a sly little innuendo every once in awhile, too. However, I was the one giggling when she would say the word ‘intercourse.’ She shared information through books, as well as conversation about ‘female stuff’ and ‘relations.’ She didn’t always have the right words and sometimes would be too emotional to carry on conversations. But, I knew I could always come to her and ask anything.
My mama wasn’t perfect, none of us are. She could hold a grudge. In her thriftiness, she could almost be stingy (unfortunately, I’ve inherited a little of that, too). Even though mama wasn’t perfect, their marriage nearly was.
My parents’ relationship set the bar very high for my expectations of marriage. This was good because it gave me a picture of a very stable and loving home. My picture wasn’t complete, however. They had worked out their major issues before I was born. So, I didn’t get to witness them slogging through the mud.
When the season of slogging came for my marriage, God provided resources. So, see? Mom’s faith comes through again, God will always see you through if you let him!
Read more about my spunky parents: