A letter written to Melinda, our daughter before she married!
Daughter, as your Dad and I celebrated our 30th anniversary, you gave me the greatest compliment I think I have ever received in my life. You told your Dad and me that we have the best marriage of anyone you know. Because you are our daughter who lives with us, who sees and hears practically everything in our home, this is an enormous encouragement to me.
Several years ago, I don’t think I would have heard those same words from you. My priorities were mixed up. I was putting you and your siblings ahead of my relationship with my husband. God is a God of order and when we get His order “out of order”, there are huge problems. I am writing this to you, so you will not make the same mistakes I made when you get married in a few months. Sons and daughters will cry for our attention, but we must put the Lord first, our husband next and our children 3rd.
Years ago, I sensed in my Quiet time that I needed to get my priorities straight. I never have been one to settle for mediocre; I want to score “Excellent” when I stand before the Lord. Something needed to change quickly and that something was “me”. I knew in several years, we would have an empty nest and it would just be my husband and me, which is happening right now as I write. It was then, I reversed the priorities and did it God’s way, the best way. I started putting my husband ahead of you and your brother and sister and began working hard each day to have a happy marriage-to make my husband happy.
1. The most important step was: I took my husband off of my “husband improvement program” and decided to work on fixing myself instead. I daily worked on making him happy and left my expectations of him behind. I use the word “work” because a good marriage takes hard work daily. Expectations do more to damage relationships than anything else. Psalm 62:5 “My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.” I learned to give expectations to the Lord. I threw marriage books away that taught how a husband should treat a wife so I would not be discontent and I focused on my duties before my Lord and husband.
2. I made a list of good qualities of my husband in my Bible and I read them often. I daily tell him specifically how great he is to me and pray the Lord will continually give me a deeper appreciation for my husband. I magnify in my mind his good qualities. We are a crown to our husband when we are grateful and he will be proud to show us off in public. Pr 12:4a “A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband.”
3. I daily ask the Lord for wisdom to have the best marriage this side of heaven, and God promises to give me bountiful wisdom. Jas 1:5 “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”
4. I help other ladies with marital problems. This is a great way to learn gratefulness.
5. I study my husband, learn what pleases him and make the extra effort to say and do those things, living to make him happy and successful. Pr 31:23 “Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.”
A. The Bible teaches a husband’s number one need is respect, so I started being careful how I worded our disagreements in order to show him reverence. This has probably been my most difficult area. Pr.31:12 “She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.” I have this Scripture by my makeup mirror, so I read and pray it each morning.
B. I learned to think happy thoughts (Phil 4:8) and to be more light-hearted, positive and fun; instead of hitting him with problems when he came home from work. Timing is important; my wording and tone is also important.
These are three areas in my life, I want to finish well:
1. I want to know, love and obey the Lord all the days of my life.
2. I want to have the best marriage possible this side of heaven.
3. I want to be known as a wise and loving mother.
So, daughter, it would be an honor to me for you to write your quote on my tombstone: “She had the best marriage of anyone I know.” Your mother will be smiling in heaven.
P.S. I hope and pray that you, daughter will have a much better marriage than your parents, and your own children will tell you, “You have the best marriage of anyone we know.”