Guest Writer: A Dear Friend – To Hannah, from a Younger Older Woman

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In forty-eight hours she will be Mrs. Benjamin Giselbach. My daughter will be married. I’ve done lots of reminiscing throughout my day as I tied rings in pillows, made little bags for flower girls to carry, and put together a bridal bouquet. I remember a wedding in which Hannah was a flower girl. I think that was last week. 
One of Hannah’s dear childhood friends was about four years older than she. This friend was a great example for Han and made some great decisions for her to emulate. I hope you will take the time to read her recent letter to Hannah. Titus two enjoins older women to teach younger women. The older woman who wrote the following letter is still in her twenties. But she took the time to teach someone still younger some important truths from the Word and from her recent experiences as a newly married Christian woman. It’s a good read for married women of all ages. She makes me want to be a better Titus-two woman of God. She makes me want to be a good and non-intrusive mother-in-law. (Wow! In 48 hours, I will be a mother-in-law! Bring it on!)  Here’s the letter:  
Dear Hannah, 
I was so excited to hear about your upcoming wedding.  I am certain that you will make a beautiful bride. I must admit that it makes me feel pretty old that “little Hannah” is getting married. Or, maybe I should just feel old for making that statement.
Anyway, even though we’ve been out of touch for a while, you were always like the little sister I never had; thus, unfortunately for you, I have some “older sister” marriage advice that I’d like to pass along. Take it or leave it. I’m sure that you get plenty of unsolicited advice from people. Well, here it goes:
1) It’s true what they say, “You should never go to bed angry.”  Even though you couldn’t even imagine it right now in your current, blissful, bride-to-be stage, there will come a time when you and your hubby don’t see eye to eye (e.g., he’s left his towel on the bathroom floor for the 300th time; he spent all day cleaning the garage and you didn’t say “thank you”, etc.) These things may sound silly, but over time the little annoyances can really start to bother you. If something is bothering either one of you, talk to each other about it.  I’m sure you’ve learned by now that a man’s version of “communicating” must be “perfected” by his dear, loving wife.  All that I mean is that you must learn how to truly listen and communicate with each other.  Besides, my husband is NOT a morning person…I couldn’t imagine what he’d be like if he was mad in the morning (think the cyclone from the Wizard of Oz.)
2) Always laugh at his jokes–yes, even the stupid ones. Oh, husbands…they think they are soooo funny.  Sometimes they really are. You will laugh so hard that your stomach hurts, tears are rolling down your cheeks, and if you were drinking milk it would most certainly come out of your nose. Other times, our sweet, dear husbands are not funny. Their jokes are not even worth a polite chortle. Yet, as he looks at you, you have to smile. At least muster up a little giggle. What I mean by this is that you should try not to just love your husband, but also think that he is the most adorable man on the face of the planet. Coming in a close second is your dad, of course (whose jokes definitely require at least a smile.)
3) Remember that you are a Christian first and a wife second. These conversations can be uncomfortable.  Especially because your husband will hold you and your opinion in such high regard. As long as you are coming from a place of love and caring, love for him and care of his soul, these conversations will not cause guilt or resentment, but rather a higher admiration for you and your marriage. You were fortunate enough to be brought up in a home with a mother and father who taught you well. If you know that it isn’t right, then don’t do it. If you know that you should be doing it, then do it. Marriage can sometimes afford you an excuse to be a lazy Christian. It can also encourage you to be the best Christian you can be.
4)  Let him have the remote. You heard me. Just give it to him. Okay, this is only for those of us who are stubborn, independent, and strong-willed. If this doesn’t apply to you, then skip to the next section. So, the remote… What I mean by this is that you have to remember that your husband is the head of the house.  *Ahem* Yes, I said it. If he says that you can’t go out to lunch on Sunday because money is tight–then that’s what it means. Whining, pouting, and forcing him to make his own PB&J will not change this fact.  You are a smart woman.  I am certain that you are marrying a smart man.  If he has made a decision for your family then you need to support it.  This means that you won’t win every argument.  You won’t always get your way.  And even if you are 150% sure that YOU are right and your way is definitely the best way…just get over it.  Hand over the remote.  Let him watch what he wants to watch.  Your turn will come next. He’ll listen to your more earnestly and appreciate your input.  
5) You don’t always have to be in the same room with each other. When I first got married, for the first few weeks, I don’t think my husband and I were apart for more than a few minutes (to go to the bathroom, etc.) If he’s sitting in the living room and you want to go the kitchen, it’s okay. You can just go. It’s not weird. It doesn’t mean that you don’t want to be around him. It just means that there’s something in the kitchen that you need to do. This idea can be broadened: Don’t NOT do something just because your husband can’t go.  Depending on your husband’s schedule this may or may not be an issue for you.  For me, with him being at the hospital at all hours, if I waited until he could go I wouldn’t go anywhere until 2015!  Keep up with your couple activities, but also schedule some alone time.  A women’s Bible study, a visit to a girlfriend’s for lunch, babysitting for a family friend…any of these will do. Each of you will spend time making your relationship strong–just make sure to take time to maintain your individual strengths and talents.
6) Don’t call your Mother. Okay, so, that sounds bad. Really bad.  But, I don’t mean your mother in particular. I pretty much mean all mothers, but especially your own Mother. Ok, before I start to feel the wrath of your Mom, what I mean is that the first year of marriage is hard.  Those that say it isn’t are either liars or don’t remember…just kidding (sort of.) If you are close to your Mom, it will be really hard not to call her and complain/vent/whine about things.  I mean, after all, that’s what we’ve done our whole lives.  If something isn’t going right, if you’re feeling down, if you just need that extra “boost” from someone…you call your mom.  My advice to you is…don’t call your Mom about these things. Call your husband.  Hey, wait a minute, that doesn’t mean call your Mom and then call your husband and tell him the things your Mom said.  Talk to HIM about the things that are bothering you. If you still feel like you need to talk to someone, then call your Mom.  Don’t ever say negative things about your husband to your Mom.  Moms are like elephants…errr, well, they never forget.  Whatever fight you may have had will be over, you will be completely over it, and your Mom has stored it in the back of her mind.  Let me tell you, one of the worst things for a mom is to feel like her child is in pain (emotionally or otherwise) and she can’t fix it. Just wait until you have a baby.  When my son is upset or hurting it triggers some sort of reaction in me.  I just want to make it better.  To take the pain away.  When you complain to your Mom about things your husband has done/didn’t do, whether she realizes it or not, she’s going through this same process:  How can I fix this?  How can I make it better?  Help her (and yourself) by not including her in these issues.  Ok, so let’s fix this:  you CAN call your Mama.  Make sure to tell your Mom if she stopped reading after that last page.
7) Take care of each other.  Live well–exercise together:  go hiking, biking, or anything else that ends in “iking” will probably do. (Even though you will be tempted to cuddle up on the sofa and watch TV.)  Eat well–limit your fast food, sweets, and homemade lasagnas. (Even though you will be tempted to dazzle him with your absolutely FANTASTIC cooking skills.) Be well–pray with and for each other.  Make sure you are exercising those spiritual muscles, too.  (Even though you will be tempted to compare yourselves as a couple to other couples who may not be as faithful.) ?
Okay, this is WAAAAY too long. I don’t know if you were brave enough to read the letter this far. If so, congrats, again.
With love,

Your Dear Friend

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