About this series: Many years ago, we asked the matriarchs in our church to share “pearls of wisdom” they learned over the course of their walk with the Lord. We collected their stories in a booklet which we distributed through women’s ministries. My copy of the booklet is now tattered and faded, and many of the women quoted are home with the Lord.
To honor their wisdom and keep their words alive, I am sharing their pearls here before my booklet turns to dust or gets lost in the clutter of daily life.
I hope these words inspire you to share a cup of tea with an older woman in your church and listen to her pearls of wisdom.
Have respect for your husband, not just love. Let the Lord be the head of your marriage. Take time out for each other; go on dates and little trips. -Anonymous
I have found it to be true that to keep romance alive in a marriage is mainly a matter of keeping the right attitude. Proverbs 14:1 says: “A wise woman builds her home. The foolish one pulls it down with her own hands.” When I allow anger or resentment against my husband to stay in my heart, I can watch my words pull my marriage down as if I am pulling down a house with my hands.
It is only when my heart is cleansed by God that I can love rightly. Then out of it flow kind words, loving glances, unselfish acts and all those things that build a relationship. (My personal favorites are hugs and at least 20 a day!)
Other things which are icing on the cake are: a surprise gift, flowers, an evening out, a letter, a tender word when it’s not deserved, or whatever it is that (to the two of us) says, “I love you.” Maintaining a sense of humor is big, too. -Miriam Middleton
Divorcing when my children were very young was very hard, but another struggle came when my older daughter was in her mid teens, and we were having an awful time getting along. One morning at 2 a.m. I suddenly realized that she was not at home. I began weeping and pacing the floor, but finally I said, “Father, I don’t know where she is; there’s nothing I can do. You have got to look after this, Your child.” And peace, that peace that passes understanding, suddenly poured over me in a tangible way; it was wonderful. I blew my nose, went back to bed and back to sleep.
That daughter eventually grew up and went to Radford, and at that distance we got closer. She would call up and we’d have wonderful conversations, 45 minutes long, but we still had trouble being in the same room. When she turned 21, she sent me a poem. It was lovely, but I had no idea at first that she had written it. As I read it, it gradually dawned on me that this was all very personal; each line described events that had happened between us, and she was thanking me for each of them. For example, “For the hour-long minutes we shared watching inch worms traverse the great expanse of the back yard gate… For providing room-service to the very posh and exquisite penthouse under the dining room table… For being caretaker of our zoo and making all the arrangements whenever one of our precious friends departed…. For gritting your teeth at the independence of seventeen and diligently supporting the dependence of twenty-one… I thank you.”
That wasn’t the end of our hard times, but I think it was a turning point. Now she and I, and my younger daughter, too, are all wonderfully close. -Lucinda Lally
You never know how the Lord is going to work. I never dreamed that my husband would divorce me, but in 1972, he found someone else. It broke my heart, but I decided not to divorce him. It was then that I felt the Lord speak to me. Even though I had been active in my church, I had no personal relationship with the Lord till then. Both my girls came to Him around that time, too.
Then in 1978 or so, I was working in a lab at UVa at the time, I felt a lump under my arm. I had a needle biopsy and it was cancer. But I heard God’s voice, “I will be with you until the end of the age.” He has protected me! -Muriel Grose
On adjusting to an empty nest
The empty nest is my idea of God’s reward for those who have raised their children! How wonderful to have long, unbroken periods of time to refocus on projects, start a new hobby, and especially to reflect on all the reasons you married that person across the breakfast table. Here is a fresh new start for the two of you, to talk about dreams, goals, reset priorities, and make plans for the years ahead. -Miriam Middleton
Adjusting to an empty nest can be eased by reaching out to others and asking them to help you fill your emptiness, or helping them to deal with their own needs. Looking to your own forgotten ambitions and beginning to think of your own future is a big help. Setting aside time for your own interests and indulging them fills much time. Keep educating yourself, taking this opportunity not only to read books that interest you, but re-familiarize yourself with the completely wonderful stories and dramas of history that make up our own Bible. -Maggie Maranto
When we have difficulty seeing our children leave home, we should remember the Lord gave them to us to nurture them and instill the love of God in their hearts. If we have done our best, we can depend on God to take care of their future. We will enjoy spending time with our spouse. -Esther Williamson
On loving the spouses our children choose
Start with a positive attitude: If my kids chose them, I’m sure I’ll like them; I just hope they’ll like me! -Anonymous
If you truly feel deep in your heart a love for your son/daughter-in-law, then tell him/her, “I love you as though you were my birth child.” Don’t take sides if they tell you about a conflict; think of them as one. If there are problems, advise them to see a counselor right away. You could say, “Don’t waste time; your marriage is too precious.” -Gil Atkinson
Be willing to listen and not always have to add your comments. Strive for an unconditional love so that you can truthfully say, “I’m sorry,” or “I was wrong.” -Ruby Garnett
Don’t put your child in the middle, between yourself and your child’s spouse. And don’t complain about your daughter- or son-in-law to your child. -Maggie Maranto
Also in this series:
- Pearls of Wisdom: Advice from our Mothers
- Pearls of Wisdom: If I could talk with one of my old teachers
- Pearls of Wisdom: on Parenting
- Pearls of Wisdom: on Loss
- Pearls of Wisdom: on Dreams Lost and Found
- Pearls of Wisdom: on the battle against materialism
- Pearls of Wisdom: on stretching pennies
Photo used here under Flickr Creative Commons.