Dear Esther…

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 I wrote this letter for my sister Esther, and read it at her bridal shower yesterday.  She gave me permission to publish it here!

                                                                                 December 11th, 2010

Dear Esther,

In October, you asked me what advice I could give you on how to be a good wife. I didn’t answer then, because I had no idea what to say! That, and Derek and Ben got to talking about husband stuff, and we stopped to haul that big red door into the truck.

I still didn’t know what to tell you, so I went to a man. I asked Derek. “If you were still looking for a wife, what one quality would you look for? What would a guy appreciate in a woman?”

His first response was very guyish, so I’ll skip that one. But you already know how important that “fun” side of marriage is! Keep it up, even when you don’t feel like it, and you’ll have a good marriage. It’s how Ben is hardwired to show his love for you!

Derek’s next response was “stand by him.” Loyalty. Choose Ben over everyone else! When his boss is a jerk, and his father-in-law just said something to annoy him, stand by Ben. Pick Ben over your mom or your sisters. Loyalty is easy when you and your husband stand on the same side of an issue, but stand by Ben even when you feel like fighting him. I guarantee he’ll notice your loyalty, even if he doesn’t say anything. He’ll be able to fight the world off with a woman like you! Prove your loyalty now, when you have your newlywed spats. Because no matter how many books you read, front porch talks you have, or marriage counseling sessions you go to, you will fight! You’re a sinner, he’s a sinner, and you sinners are going to knock heads.

Honor him. (Derek couldn’t pin-point just one quality. Men want it all!) Admire and praise Ben every chance you get. Even cheesy stuff like, “Oooo, honey, you have such big strong muscles!” when he opens the pickle jar for you. (You’ll be eating pickles soon, right? And yeah, you have to pretend you can’t do it yourself.) Stroke his ego! It’s okay! Flattery in a marriage is just healthy flirting. Make him feel like a man.

Don’t compare! Contentment. You guys are just starting out, so it might seem like everyone else has more. Of everything. Again, stand by your man! Tell Ben it’s okay that there isn’t extra money for a vacation, and it’s okay if you’re still in a tiny apartment. It’s okay if you have to use hand-me-down furniture, and it’s okay if “out to eat” means Taco Bell. I’m pretty sure you’d be okay with any of this, but make sure Ben knows you are! Your guy worries about providing. Let him know you really are okay, and happy.

Follow his decisions. Derek didn’t say “obey,” but that’s what he meant!  Obey Ben, even if he doesn’t actually ask you too. Obey his heart. Know what he wants to do about church, kids, food, holidays, cleaning, vacation – whatever! – and then follow his spoken and unspoken wishes.

So that was four things, right off the top of a man’s head. Loyalty, honor, contentment, and obedience. I think men just want to matter to someone, to be the center of someone’s world. Your man is craving love, like we all do. So just keep on loving him! Unconditionally! Remember that love covers a multitude of sins. Love him when it’s tough. When he’s hurt you somehow, set aside your pain and love him anyway. You and Ben have something special going on, and Satan’s going to attack your marriage. See it for what it is, and don’t fall for his traps! Hold on to God, hold on to Ben, and keep on being the beautiful woman you are.

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About patchofheaven

"Mom" sums it up quite well! I cook, I clean, I homeschool, and yes, I do still ride a tricycle. I love to read books to my kids, and every once in a while I manage to read a book "all by my big self." I journal about my life, here at patchofheaven; hoping to remember, grow, love more, and entertain my mom and other readers!

13 responses »

  1. Ruth,
    I’ve been reading your blog from the beginning, I just never say anything. I really enjoy hearing about what is going on in your life. This post especially touched my heart. It was beautiful. Even though I’m nowhere near becoming a wife, I think I can apply some of these things to the way I treat my dad, but of course I would have to tweak other parts.
    Thank you for sharing with us and keep up the good work,
    Ruth

    • Oh yay! Hi, Ruth! I’m so glad you commented this time. It’s nice to know you’re out there, way up in… are you guys still in Massachusetts? You moved when your mom got married, but I can’t remember where?

      • Yea, I should speak up more often. My family now lives in New Hampshire, but we are only about an hour and a half away from Greenfield MA. So we aren’t too far away from where we were before.

  2. Ruth!

    You always blow me away! You’re amazing! Like I said you should put together a book on either thoughts for marriage and/or moms or a book on little devotional thoughts for wives/moms! I was curious what you read to Esther when I saw the picture. Thanks for sharing, I know I can use this advice too! I’m sad we live so far away I’d so love to hang out with you more :o) Can’t wait to see you at the wedding! Esther is SO blessed wether she knows it or not that she’s got you for a sister…. Which from Esther and I talking, I know she knows she’s blessed to have you for a sister!! Keep writing Ruth, you’re so talented!!

    • Same here — I wish we lived closer!!! I love having you for a sister-in-law, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the little time we’ve had to hang out over the years. And me too — I’m excited about spending so many days with you and Steve and your kids in January! Can’t wait to meet Xander for the first time, and see how much Zeva’s grown up, and catch up with you and Steve! We need to have more weddings in the family, just so we can get together more ofter. LOL! Actually, when my kids get just a little older, I can totally see us making drives out to Montana. See you SOON!

  3. What a beautiful letter to your sister, what a special love for her….and from a woman in her late 50’s with 4 kids and 10 grand-kids….what perfect advice! A friend of mine just wrote in a fb post…”let me heart be so hidden behind yours, oh Lord, that my man would have to go through your heart to get to mine” …this is in perfect alignment with the letter and advice you gave to your sister, you are both so blessed!

    • Such a beautiful statement, those words your friend wrote! I’m definitely tucking that one away in my quote journal. Or maybe up above my kitchen sink would be better?!

  4. This is such a beautiful letter! My sister wrote a similar one for my bachelorette party, and I know I’ll cherish it forever. I’m sure your sister will cherish this letter too! It’s full of really great advice.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog from incourage! Your comment was very encouraging to me 🙂

  5. Visiting from Laugh With Us Blog.

    Hope you don’t mind visitors. This is a great post. I write about marriage and family on my blog, Family Fountain. Next year 2011, I am going to have a series of guest posts on the theme of marriage. The message of this post would be excellent.

    If you are interested in guest posting, please check out Family Fountain. If you would still be interested you could let me know. You are a good writer and I’d be glad to have you write a post.

    wb

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