My oldest son turned 30 today. Yeah, I’m that old (and then some).
Reflecting back on this amazing young man’s life, and looking forward to what the future holds for him and his lovely bride of 9 years, I got to thinking about the other three — the younger brothers who are as yet unmarried. Since they were born, I’ve prayed for the women God would bring to share their lives. Our oldest son is happily married to his best friend, and I’ll continue to pray that these three will have the same good fortune.
I’m aware that statistically, the odds are two of the four will have marriages ending in divorce. Rather than dwell on that possibility, I’ve come up with some “premarital advice” for my prospective daughters-in-law. Here is my open letter to the young women who might want to marry one of my sons:
Dear One ~
As the first woman in the life of the young man you hope to marry, I would like to share a few thoughts with you. They are offered in love. It’s entirely up to you whether you take them to heart.
This young man is not the perfect match for you. No one is. We are all flawed, including my son, and if you go into this union expecting perfection, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. He’s forgetful, a little messy and sometimes he smells. He won’t always want to do whatever you want to do and he’ll probably hurt your feelings and fail to say he’s sorry. But if he loves you like I know he can, you’ll forgive him and accept him for who he is, and you’ll help him become a better man.
Don’t do everything for him. If you want to spoil him from time to time, that’s fine, but don’t make it a habit. He can do laundry and clean bathrooms, even cook a little. Share the load with him or you’ll be sorry — and you’ll undo all the hard work I put into him.
Treat him like a King. And act like his Queen. If he fails to honor you and make you feel like you’re the most important person in the world, tell him his Mom said to straighten up. If you show him honor and respect, you will likely receive the same in return. It just works that way.
Expect his best. A man is only as good as we expect him to be (and a woman, too, for that matter). Set the bar high and help him to reach it by letting him know what you believe he’s capable of. Men need goals, not criticism. Let him know that you think he can achieve anything and he just might.
Keep your struggles to yourselves. Don’t share your dissatisfaction with my son with all your girlfriends, your Mom or me. If you have problems (and you will), deal with them at home. Or see a good, Christian counselor and work it out. Your best friend is not equipped to help you, no matter how sympathetic she is. (And neither is his best friend.)
Expect his parents to love you unconditionally. We’ve decided that the best thing we can do for our sons is to love the women they choose as their wives. Unconditionally. Unless you betray him or us, you can count on us to treat you with the same love and attention we give our sons.
We will never be your child’s baby-sitter. If God gives you children, we’ll be their grandparents. We’ll willingly play with them, teach them things, read to them and just hang out with them whenever you want or need us. But we won’t call it baby-sitting, just being Grandma and Grandpa.
Memorize the “love chapter”. He’s read I Corinthians 13 and you should, too. Then try to live by it. “Love is patient…..” is a good place to start.
Keep God at the center of your relationship. My son knows Jesus and he knows who created him. He may forget at times, but he has been taught that his strength comes from a heavenly Father. Pray for God to equip him to be the kind of husband you need.
Don’t walk before him or behind him, but beside him. He’s been raised to believe women are equal to men. That doesn’t mean he will expect you to be able to do all the things he can do, but you are his partner and “help meet”. He needs you by his side.
I’m sure there’s more I could share, and hopefully we’ll have plenty of time to sit at my kitchen table or yours and talk about this man we both love. I feel I already know how special you are…..because my son chose you.
Your Man’s Mom