My oldest two children were playing one afternoon when Franc told Lira, “We should get married.”
Amid my spits and sputters about how we live in Alabama but that is not HOW we live, my youngest son tugged on my shirt. “Mommy, if they marry each other, can I marry you?”
Gazing into his sweet face, I thought of a thousand reasons why I would never want him to marry a woman like me, and I remembered something I had read in What a Difference a Mom Makes: The Indelible Imprint a Mom Leaves on Her Son’s Life by Dr. Kevin Leman:
By what happens in your home, you are setting your son up to marry a certain kind of woman. Did you know that no matter what your relationship with your son is like, he’ll tend to marry a woman like you?
Someone like you
In Even-Tempered Mother: Tips from a Mom Overcoming Rage and Depression, I mention how my struggle with anger management was handed down through the generations of my family. I have understood how sin can be carried generation to generation. [Exodus 30:6-7] I even knew that men tend to marry women like their mothers. But, what never hit me was the fact that I can pick my son’s bride by how I live my life.
You see, each day he is adjusting to what I will say, how I will react, and what I will do. To him, I am becoming predictable (or predictably unpredictable) and this is his version of normal. When he grows to the point where he starts to look for a bride, he will search for one – unconsciously – who resembles his norm… Me.
Choose to change for his sake
If all of this is settling into your brain the way it first settled into mine, you are running through that list of things you know have to change. Maybe you – like me – have tried to changed these things before and have failed. Maybe you – like me – gave up.
Ask yourself, “Is his future happiness worth my present struggle?” Of course, the answer is a resounding, “YES!” So, what can we do to break these habits, these misbehaviors that our children assume are normal? We must choose to change.
Make a list
After tactfully explaining to my children that while we can love one another forever, God intends for them to marry spouses they have yet to meet, I sat down by myself with the Bible and made a list of things I hope my children will find in their future spouses.
- Unconditional love
- Passion for serving the Lord
- Resourcefulness to work beyond difficult circumstances
- Dedication to family
- A peaceful refuge
- Physically fit and active
- Even-tempered and level-headed under stress
- Responsible and mindful of others
- Compassionate but not a doormat
- A source of encouragement
- Supportive of pursuing God-given passions
Then, I did an honest assessment of myself and planned how I could portray these characteristics to my children in such a way that these things are normal, expected, predictable.
Only one simple way
Let us not become so self-serving in this exercise that we fail to realize that God has an ultimate purpose for us and our children. I truly believe that there is only one way that change will happen. Only one possibility exists for me because I cannot change on my own. I have tried and failed. Right?
Change is not possible without the Lord’s guidance. Actually, the answer to this dilemma is quite simple…
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
As we seek God and strive to become more like Him, our lives are transformed by Him. [Romans 12:2] We will find we have become the person we would love for our children to marry. May God give us grace as we try.
More encouragement for moms
- How to be a ready for fun mom
- Depressed: A mother’s struggle to overcome depression
- How to be a selfish mom without guilt
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