Sunday, January 10, 2010

Mother's Advice

When I got married my mother gave me two pieces of advice. The first was, “Sherrie, watch what you eat because if you are not careful you and Carl are going to look like Jack Sprat and his wife.” For those of you who don’t remember, Jack Sprat is the subject of a nursery rhyme: “Jack Sprat could eat no fat. His wife could eat no lean. And so betwixt the two of them, they licked the platter clean.” To understand why Mother told me this, you have to know that when we married Carl was 6’ tall and weighed 140 pounds if fully clothed. It was good advice.

The second piece of advice was, “Just know that you are not welcome to come back to this house to live unless he beats you or gets drunk.” To tell the truth, at the time I was shocked by that and a little hurt. It caused me to wonder if she loved me, or if she was so glad to have me gone she wanted to be sure I wouldn’t be back. But within a short time I realized the wisdom of mother’s words as I witnessed a few of my friends who when they encountered newly-wed problems run home to their mothers and eventually ended up divorced.

When Carl and I encountered the inevitable newly-wed problems, I knew I wasn’t welcome back home, but I realized that what Mother had meant was that I was to stay with my husband and work things out. It was wonderful advice and over the years I have been surprised to see how many times a marriage is ruined because a mother interferes or because at the least sign of trouble a bride runs home to momma.

This advice has been some of the best I’ve ever been given not just for marriage but for all areas of my life. Running away only prolongs problems and usually complicates them more. Staying (unless there is danger of physical harm) and working through a problem until you reach a conclusion is difficult, but it is the only way to progress and find happiness.

6 comments:

GRANDMA MUFFIN said...

Certainly running away from our problems is running away from "The Living Truth." Oh the wisdom of mothers . . . and they are always right. {Sherrie, I sat behind a sweet woman in your Education Class and wondered if she was your mother. Could it be?]

GRANDMA MUFFIN said...

[Sorry, to edit the last post: I meant your class at Education Week. Gosh, I hope that was her. Your mother would be very happy with you and all the good you are doing.]

Sherrie Mills Johnson said...

Grandma Muffin, Mom was there so it could have been her. She is thin, has short, dark hair, and is beautiful. Does that match the description?

Wendi said...

That is good advice. It's also more difficult for others to forgive and forget the "flaws" of your spouse when you talk about them. If we're not careful, we can cause our extended family members to see our spouses in a more negative light than is necessary. Thanks for this good reminder.

Sara said...

So very good. I read a book called Fierce Conversations that explained in further detail exactly what you said here. Or maybe it was Leadership and Self-Deception. I read them at the same time so I forget which had what content. If we are to enrich our lives and progress we need to have those conversations that make us uncomfortable. Running away does not solve the problem just gives us telescope vision so we can only see it fading as we run away.

dani said...

I really like that your mother was supporting the institution of marriage. Many today jump on the bandwagon of criticizing a spouse which divides and alienates rather than unites the spouses. Our generation seems blind to our selfish nonsupport of marriage. I have seen firsthand the effect of lack of extended family support of a marriage as well as the tearing effect on a marriage of a group of men that got together at their work and criticized their wives. The most critical ones are actually still with their wives, but it brewed internally for another who finally 'got the nerve' to leave his wife after hearing the others complain and do nothing over the years. And yes, these men and family members are all 'active' members of the Church. So, I think we all need to do all we can to support the institution of marriage!