When Carley was a toddler, I found an amazing group called MOPS- Mother’s of Preschoolers. We met at a church a couple of times a month where childcare was provided in the nursery, and we got to eat, converse, and grow together as mothers and women.
Each table had what was referred to as a “mentor mom” this woman was out of our diaper changing and snot wiping season of life. She had been there, done that, and often had some of the best advice for us.
Carley was my easy baby. There wasn’t too much advice I needed on that front, but my marriage was a different story. I was only 19 when we married. Charles was 23. We were just babies who turned around and had a baby. We didn’t know what we were doing most of the time and between undiagnosed bipolar disorder and possibly some post-partum issues, our marriage struggled.
My mentor mom’s name was Kathy, and boy did she mentor. She laid her business out there for our entire table to help us grow from her mistakes. She spoke of separation, near divorce, infertility, sex, early financial struggles, everything that was heavy on my heart. We became very close friends and to this day, I credit part of the foundation of my rock solid marriage to Kathy.
Of the many things she taught me, these 10 stand out the most in my memory.
- After the kids are grown and married with lives of their own, you will be left with an empty nest and just your husband. Make sure you like him. Make your marriage a priority now above your parenting. Set regular date nights, and don’t feel guilty about leaving your kids to do so.
- When dad walks in the door from work, send the kids away for 10 minutes. Yes, they are excited to see and snuggle him, but take those 10 minutes to really ask how his day was, give him a kiss with out peering eyes, and smack his butt when he walks away.
- Never stop flirting with your husband. The honey moon phase will last forever if you let it. Take that flirty pic for him. Text him sexy things. Let him know you are thinking about, attracted to, and love him as much as you can.
- Discover his love language and be intentional to speak it.
- Never withhold sex as a punishment. Not being in the mood is one thing, but don’t withhold simply because you aren’t getting your way.
- Have sex often and keep it interesting. No. It is not solely your responsibility to work on your sex life, but do your part. Discuss what he wants, what you want, and be vulnerable with one another. Your husband is your partner and best friend for the rest of your lives. If you can’t be open and honest with him, who can you be with?
- Shower together at least once a week. There is no vulnerability quite like naked discussions. No blankets to hide under, no sheets to cover your chest. Be naked and vulnerable, and discuss what’s on your heart. I can’t tell you how many hurdles we have worked through during shower conversations. It’s the one place we both feel like we can’t put up a wall. There’s nothing in the world sexual about it, it’s all about vulnerability and honesty.
- Don’t ever fight over money. If you have it you have it, if you don’t you don’t. Fighting about it isn’t going to help anything either way.
- Pick your battles. Ask yourself, “will this argument be relevant in 1 month? 1 year? Don’t be a pushover- stand your ground, but know when you need to put your foot down, and when to let it go.
- And the most important- keep your business to yourself. Don’t call your mom/dad/sister/best friend every time he does something wrong. Your marriage is your and your husband’s to protect. Outside judgement can make it even harder to work through minor and major hurdles. Choose your words wisely, once they are said, they can’t be taken back.
It’s been 7 years since I’ve seen kathy. We keep in contact every so often, but have both moved on to different places in our lives. Physically and mentally. She’s one friend I will always treasure every word she told me. I hope some of her wisdom finds its way into your heart and marriage, too