December 5, 2012 - Marriage

To say Gwen was a special woman is an understatement.

I knew from the moment she agreed to be my wife that I was unjustly blessed. But I wasn’t about to tell God that He gave me too wonderful a woman. I wasn’t giving her back.

One of Gwen’s passions was mentoring young moms on how to thrive during the challenging and demanding years of early marriage and motherhood.

For many women, carrying out their responsibilities and meeting everyone’s expectations was a struggle. So Gwen worked with each individual mom and helped her discover the joys that awaited her in young family life.

I don’t know how she did it, but she changed lives and blessed many. And although I am not Gwen (and please remember these are recommendations from her to the women she mentored) here are five of her rules.

  • Define expectations
    • Sit down with your husband (without the kids) and agree on expectations that are appropriate and reasonable. This is less of a challenge than one might expect. Oftentimes husbands don’t realize how much pressure they are placing on their spouses. Those with unreasonable expectations often benefit from counseling. Don’t give up—take that step if needed. It’s that important.
  • Determine to make it work
    • Surprisingly, many of the women Gwen mentored initially had the mindset, “I can’t do this. I need to figure out what to do, because I can’t deal with this.” Gwen’s belief was that that, if God has given you the situation, you can handle it (keeping in mind that each situation is unique, and some require professional help). In addition, she knew that if these young moms would honor God in their marriages and families, they would reap the benefits later.
  • Decide what’s most important
    • As a young mother, it’s easy to spend most of your time putting out fires. Chaos becomes part of the daily routine. Few people understand that. Decide ahead of time what items are the most important. What is taking too much of your time? Is it worth the drain it’s placing on you? (It may be and that’s a choice for you to make). How can you better manage those situations, or eliminate them?
  • Bless your husband
    • Oftentimes wives can become (quite understandably) bitter and resentful toward their husbands. This is especially true if they have given up a career to care for their families, or even worse—if they are still juggling a career while bearing the responsibilities of a wife and mom. The task here is to be a blessing to a guy that doesn’t deserve it (Sorry guys, but she was right about this most of the time). The expectation is that being a blessing to him will bear fruit in the marriage that nothing else can bring. Remember, these were Gwen’s recommendations, and they worked very well.
  • Don’t become discouraged
    • It would be easy to do. Changing the course of a marriage takes time, and it is often a thankless job. If it’s done right, nobody from the outside will really see what you’re doing, but you will know, and your family will love you forever.

It was important to Gwen to help women enjoy these years, not tolerate them. In addition, she taught them how to create true romance in their marriages that could not be overcome by any outside force. If you want me to post on this subject with her recommendations, just suggest it under comments and I will make it happen.

For seven years Gwen put up with a husband that was physically ill. She was the fabric of our family at that time, and we would never have made it were it not for her determination, integrity and prayers. She refused to give up in the face of unbeatable odds. She was there for us, no matter what.