Build Your Barn

If you’re a frequent reader, you may have noticed that I mention my mom in a lot of my posts.

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She is a talented writer, my most influential Christian role model, and truly exemplifies what it means to live out your faith. She has even had several devotionals published in The Upper Room, a daily devotional guide that is available in 33 different languages in 100 countries! I’d say she knows a thing or two about writing 🙂 She has always encouraged me to share my thoughts with others through the written word, and not only to write, but to write well.

She’s acquired so much wisdom over her lifetime and she and my dad have never been wrong in the advice they’ve given Daniel and me, especially when it comes to marriage. They will be celebrating their 34th wedding anniversary on Monday, so what better time for her to share some of her best marriage advice?

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When my daughter asked me to be a guest writer on her blog, my mind immediately whirled into overdrive.

After 34 years of marriage, I have quite a bit to say on the subject of newlyweds, marriage, husbands, and my contribution as a wife to the married state. In addition, I observed my own parents’ marriage of almost 45 years until my father passed away unexpectedly from a heart attack at age 71.

So, after musing on the marriage subject for awhile, I hearkened back to the sageness of my dad, whose wisdom I deeply respect and still rings in my ears 21 years after his death. One of the first “talking-to”s (that Southern slang term for sitting your gluteus maximus in a chair while someone else talks and you listen) I got when I was a newly engaged bride-to-be was this:

Dad: “Wilma, look around at all that your mother and I have accumulated over the years.”

I looked around and made the following wordless observations while I got my talking-to:

Me: Okay, life’s not bad. Our home is nice enough. We have three bedrooms and one bathroom. We have a car in the garage. We own our farm. Three square meals a day appear on our table, courtesy of sweet mom. You and mom sent me and sister to college. But, I wouldn’t say we are rich….no swimming pool in the backyard, no brand new car for me when I got my driver’s license, and we’re members of a REAL country club….we’re a farm family.

Dad: “I want you to know that when you get married, it takes YEARS to get established and grow your wealth. But just keep working at it. Time will go on and little by little, you’ll add to your bank account and build up your home.”

Me: Years? Oh, great. You mean when we get married, we’ll start out in a one-bedroom apartment with gold shag carpeting and matching harvest gold appliances, and we’ll drive two functional, but very OLD cars, and the A/C doesn’t even work in one?

Dad: “Patience is the key. Just work hard and don’t get greedy. Don’t go out and rack up debt on credit cards. Pay cash for things and build your barn slowly.”

Me: BARN?! Barns are great….for cows, horses, cats, tractors, cobwebs and mice. But I certainly don’t plan on living in one!

Dad: “You and Bill just work hard together, support each other, and don’t get in a big rush to get rich quick. That never works. Slow and steady wins the race, and at the end of the day, you’ll lay your head down on your pillow and have a clear conscience and you’ll sleep good. Marriage is a team effort, and if you’re willing to work hard and make some sacrifices, you’ll be like your mom and me someday and look back on the wonderful life you’ve built together.”

My dad’s advice and wisdom have never failed me. This is his wisdom that I am passing on to you too. Be blessed in your marriage, be patient and just enjoy the journey. Anticipation maximizes appreciation!

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Thank you, mom, for supporting my writing and sharing your marriage advice today! Happy 34th anniversary to you and dad, and stay spunky 😉

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Photography by Derek Couts

Thanks for reading,

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