Five things my mother taught me to prepare me for marriage

Happy mother’s day everyone! I hope wherever you are, you’re letting your mum know how much you love and appreciate her. Now, my mum isn’t a very public person. So she’s probably going to be all embarrassed and shy when she reads this. But sometimes there’s a time for grand public gestures no?

See, I wasn’t the easiest daughter to grow up with. There were plenty of  times where angry, teenage “I hate yous” were thrown around without a thought about the impact of those words. There was the time when I was very young that my mum was ill on her birthday and (to this day I’m mortified to say) I went out to play with my friends instead of looking after her. There are lots of things I regret, but the thing about mothers is, no matter what you do or say when you’re too young to understand quite what it is you’re doing and saying, their love and forgiveness is unconditional.

Mothers shape who we turn out to be. It’s no accident, it’s careful moulding and example, it’s saying “no” even when the result isn’t going to be easy to deal with, it’s sitting you down when you’ve had your first heartbreak and sharing her first heartbreak story with you, helping you to understand you’re not alone.

My mum has taught me a lot of things that have made me into who I am today – but, quite specifically, I believe there are many ways (probably ways she doesn’t even realise) that she’s prepared me for marriage. Here are just five of them, but first, isn’t my mum literally the most beautiful woman in the world, like, ever?? Praying those genes don’t skip a generation!!

Image © Under the Vintage Veil

The five things my mum taught me to prepare me for marriage:

Kindness, compassion and healing. My mum genuinely doesn’t have a spiteful bone in her body. While that means she sometimes puts up with a lot (yes, including from me) it also means she’s got the world’s biggest heart. Being an aromatherapist, reflexologist, healer… (amongst other things) she has a tendency to give a lot of love without realising it.

I’m doing my best to model myself and my behaviour on her. I can’t stand to see others upset, I try to help, I try to heal. I don’t think I’d be that way if I had a different mother. I think those qualities are crucial to making a marriage work (think about a marriage with coldness, stubbornness and destruction!) so without my mum’s example, I’m not sure I’d be ready for this step.

Doing what you love makes you a happier and better partner. My mum loves to sing (and she’s damn good at it as well). She also, as I mentioned, loves to heal people and help them cope with life’s stresses and illnesses.

Without those things in her life when I was growing up, I think she wouldn’t have been as happy. I think to be a happy partner (and mum) you have to express yourself creatively and do what you love. My mum taught me that – to follow your heart and do what’s important to you and what makes you into a more complete person to be around.

How to know when it’s not right. Well, I used to know when it wasn’t right because I could tell, by my mum’s reaction, that this guy wasn’t going to last. But I also knew the behaviours my mum wouldn’t accept or tolerate. She showed me what self worth looks like – and by watching her stick to her principles and her heart, deep down I knew with every Mr. Wrong.

It was partly her calm acceptance of John, without any drama or without my neurotic need to know what she thought of him that made me realise he’d slotted right into our crazy little family without even realising it. It was also the fact that all the warning signs she’d practically trained me for all of my life were absent – it was just… right. I’m not sure I would have been so certain otherwise.

That the best relationships are not polite relationships. My mum and I banter. Yes, we banter. We’re friends – there’s no awkwardness, no “don’t say that in front of your mother” no “should” or “ought to” or anything of the sort. We’re completely natural with each other, and it makes for very easy company.

I have always applied that principle to my relationships. Unbridled, raw honesty. I’m 100% real with John, even if that’s not attractive, but it makes for a bond so much deeper than any polite, superficial relationship where we tiptoed around one another pretending to be perfect versions of ourselves. As a result, we really know each other, in the way I think my mum really knows me.

You don’t have to be pushy to make a difference to someone’s life. Almost every bride I speak to tells me they had to compromise at least a part of their wedding dreams in order to accommodate their own (or their partner’s) mother. I’m happy to say that my mother wouldn’t dream of trying to dictate how my wedding should happen.

My mum raised me to be a creative, free thinker – and in doing so showed me that when you trust people to grow up right (yes, adults too) they’re far more keen to prove you right. She taught me that by being yourself, you can enrich someone’s life beyond belief. For example, my mum hasn’t told me to do anything with the wedding, but there’s so much of her influence in it – the beautiful scents I’ve chosen (and that she’s making), the roses (my love of roses stems from the fact that I always associate them with my mum) and lavender (ditto).

But I think the point I’m making is, if you’re taught to be too pushy, you’ll end up pushing people away. That doesn’t mean “don’t stand your ground” it means learn to do it in a constructive and loving way that doesn’t feel like a push or an insult.

I could ramble on forever about the countless gifts my mum has given me and how they’ve better prepared me for the journey I’m about to take. I could go on for hours about how lucky I was to have been born into the family I was born into – but for now I just want to say, to my beautiful mother, thank you for everything (and everything you still have to give). I don’t always show it, but life’s too short not to! I love you.

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