Mentor Mama’s Advice to Newly Engaged Daughter Ashley

Mentor Mama:

Welcome back to the Coffee and Bible Time blog! For those that may be reading our blogs for the first time, we also have a YouTube channel called Coffee and Bible Time where our goal is to help people delight in God’s word. We also have a website storefront with Bible studies, prayer journals, and more. I’m Mentor Mama, and today I’m here with my lovely daughter, Ashley, who is recently engaged, so exciting!

Ashley:

Hi everyone!

Mentor Mama:

We thought it might be fun to do some marriage tips together so I can give her some of my classic marriage tips and share them with you all as well. Ashley and Johnny are so amazing though, you guys have already surpassed us on a lot of things.

Ashley:

Oh, no! Tell them how long you’ve been married.

Mentor Mama:

Thirty-one years so, I’m giving you my tips as a result of that many years of experience.

Ashley:

And I know that I have a lot to learn, so I will humbly sit and take your advice.

Mentor Mama:

That’s one of the best qualities about Ashley that I’ve loved my whole life is that she’s so teachable. You really are! You’re willing to listen. You don’t always take everybody’s advice, but you are really so teachable. I love that we’re doing this eight months before the wedding because it gives you time to think about these things, pray about them and see how God wants to use them in your own life. I wanted to bring up an example of the Holy Spirit and the passage in Galatians 5:24, because as you navigate each day of marriage, my prayer for you and Johnny, is that the Holy Spirit will guide and direct each of you individually, but also together as a couple and that you’ll experience the fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:24 says when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, it produces this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. And don’t all those things sound like things that you want as part of your marriage, right?

Ashley:

Oh, absolutely. Actually, what’s interesting is I’ve been praying. I’ve been trying to pray every day in my prayer journal, a small prayer for marriage, because I know that it’s really not going to be easy, it’s going to be tough. It’s going to be hard work. I need to douse this in prayer because that’s necessary. I prayed for a fruit of the Spirit every day already, that in marriage we would have joy, that in marriage we would have peace, that we would have patience and kindness. I do, I pray that God would fill us both with the fruits of the Spirit, towards each other.

Mentor Mama:

Yes. See what did I say? They’re on it already! Okay. So, we’re going to dive into each of these tips.

My first tip is for you guys to each know your spouse’s love language. I think that’s so important. For those of you that don’t know about it, we’ll put a link to the book below. You can take a quiz and see what is it about you individually that makes you feel loved? And so, in addition to that, what I would also suggest is telling your spouse when your love tank is running low before it gets empty. That was something your dad and I learned through the love languages class and book study on it. Now, I’ll say, “my love tank is running low,” and dad knows for me, my love language is physical touch and he’s so good at giving me a foot massage or a back rub or something like that. I would suggest keeping in mind that it doesn’t always have to be big things. Let’s say, again, dad as an example, his love language is words of affirmation. It could be words of encouragement in a text. It doesn’t have to be anything huge. Sometimes it’s the little things.

Ashley:

Yeah, you’re right. I think sometimes I get overwhelmed knowing I need to do all these big things, but you’re right, it’s more about, how can I love them intentionally every day, even if it’s something small. Because sometimes the small things actually are really special because you know that they’ve been thinking about you in the little parts of life.

Mentor Mama:

Johnny is so amazing.

Ashley:

Okay, shout out to Johnny. He is always on top of my love language. He’s always giving me gifts, always saying words of encouragement. He’s just so amazing. I know I can grow in being better at showing or providing for his love language. So that’s a really big reminder.

Mentor Mama:

I think it’s something we all need to work on every single day. My next one is going into marriage, and this stems more from my background in that my parents were divorced. So, one of the things that kind of scared me a little bit about marriage was the thought of divorce. And so, one of the things that dad and I agreed on early on was that we would never, in an argument, threaten divorce. That just was not an option that we both agreed to, because I guess that scared me. I understand and respect that divorce happens sometimes for Biblical reasons, but, for us, that just gave me comfort and security knowing that, okay, it’s going to be hard, we’re going to have arguments, but we’re not going to use that term to sling around and scare each other with.

Ashley:

Oh yeah. I think that’s great.

Mentor Mama:

And, tied into that too, is with arguments, I think it’s important to take a time out.

Ashley:

So, you mean like walking away?

Mentor Mama:

Not in the heat of the moment, but saying, “I need to take a timeout, give me five minutes,” or however long you need. I’m not saying walk out because that’s not a good response but allow yourself a timeout to just kind of regroup.

Ashley:

Yeah, I know I need that a lot, but sometimes I just leave without saying anything. I just walk out, so I need to be clearer, like if I’m going to walk out to be like, “hey, I need five minutes to myself to think about things,” and to not be angry, and I struggle with anger people.

Mentor Mama:

But you are working on it over time. So, my next tip is to keep a budget, and this is something that dad and I did as a result of our church going through Dave Ramsey’s “Financial Peace University.” It was the first time that we got our hands wrapped around our financial portfolio and saw how we each have different priorities on how we want to spend our money. You’re going to have a limited amount of income and a certain number of expenses that you have to balance out. I’ll be honest, dad and I have gone through waves where sometimes we’ve been really good at it, and sometimes, we’ve slacked on it and then we get back into it. So, my advice would be coming up with a budget that also leaves room for fun. And, it doesn’t have to be extravagant, but save some for fun, and have monthly meetings if you can, to stay on track (to ask yourselves) How did I do last month? Where are we going from here?

Ashley:

Yeah, one thing I know right now is we both don’t have a budget. So, I texted Johnny and I told him, can we start doing a budget now? Like separately before we get married so that when we do get married, it’s not like, “oh, we have to start completely new on how to start a budget and how to run a budget.” So, I think if we both can do it separately, it will be better when we start a marriage. We need to start this now!

Mentor Mama:

I got out our old Dave Ramsey book and was showing Ashley his templates and everything that you can use to make a budget. Okay. My next tip is to keep going on dates. Right now, you guys are having an amazing time doing all these fun dates, but when you get into a normal routine and you get busy doing, like you’ll be doing ministry work and all these other things. So, I would just encourage you to make sure you still do fun dates. Again, they don’t have to be expensive or outlandish. It could be just for a walk and a talk; it doesn’t have to be anything amazing. So, keep doing the dates.

Ashley:

How do you stay intentional? Should we do dates once a week?

Mentor Mama:

I think that’s up to you and your schedule but probably weekly would be ideal. I would say, dad and I, we’ve ebbed and flowed with how we’ve done it over time. It also depends on how busy your schedule is. Maybe if you know you’re going to be traveling or something like that, fitting it in either right before or right after, so just being intentional and making sure that you’re spending time to have fun. My next one is to pray, pray individually and pray together. So individually what I mean is using like the prayer journal or the prayer binder where you actually have your spouse listed as one of the people that you’re regularly praying for. One of the books that I did or early on that impacted me so much was, “The Power of a Praying Wife,” and I’ll make sure that we put the link below, but that book just has so many different areas that remind you of things to pray for your spouse. You can also journal about that and then pray together, which I know you and Johnny already do that. Just keep that up. I think to me, praying together is so comforting.

Ashley:

We’ve been doing some marriage books together and they were talking about the importance of prayer and how it really bonds you together.

Mentor Mama:

The next one is showing love and respect and that’s actually a Biblical mandate, and I’m looking here at Ephesians chapter five, verse 33 and it says, “so again, I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself and the wife must respect her husband.” This concept of love and respect I think was really instrumental for me when I learned how important it is for your husband to feel respected, and we know we need to feel like we’re loved that’s for sure, but it is so important for them to feel like they have our respect.

Ashley:

Well, and that’s that book too, “Love and respect“, that’s another book we will link in the description, but you’re right. I’ve always wondered. What does it look like for them to be disrespected? Like what does that even mean? I know respect means like they feel honored, and, like, I don’t know.

Mentor Mama:

Well, I look back now, and I see areas where I didn’t respect dad. For example, there were times I pushed my opinion so hard that he acquiesced, but in the end, it wasn’t a good decision. Through learning and growing, dad likes to ask me for my opinion but I let him make the final decision. So, I feel like that’s one example of how you can respect them.

Ashley:

So let them make the decisions, listen to them, and don’t make their ideas sound like, “oh, why do you think that?” or “how could you even make that decision?”

Mentor Mama:

Yeah. I think that too is something that, in marriage, grows over time.

Ashley:

I know I have strong opinions.

Mentor Mama:

I was really bad at it in the beginning, and it was when we did one of our marriage studies in our small group that I learned more about what that meant and put that into practice.

Ashley:

I feel like I’ll be bad at that.

Mentor Mama:

No, I don’t think so. Since you have very strong opinions, I think it’s ok to let Johnny know those, but be respectful of his final decision. I know one thing too, I think you probably read about it in your book, they do have the responsibility and, I don’t want to say a burden, but something that’s heavy on them when they do make that final decision. They may come back and be like, gosh, you were right, I wish I would’ve taken your advice. It’s going to be a give and take, but ultimately, you’re respecting them in that way.

Mentor Mama:

Next tip, go over your calendars. I know this sounds so silly and basic, but I think communication overall in marriage is an area that can always use improvement, and just going over your calendars on a regular basis will help avoid (the conversation of), “Oh, we both signed up to do something with somebody on the same night.” Or you get overbooked and then you feel overburdened. And I know, especially for you, Ashley, you need your downtime, like even for you scheduling some downtime, making sure every minute of every day is not booked. But when I mean going over it together, I’m just trying to help in the communication process.

Ashley:

Oh yeah. And I know that we both have like really busy schedules. We both love doing things and pouring into people and things like that, and I could see us both being overly committed to ministry things and work and pouring into other people that we neglect each other, and we neglect our rest. That’s not something I’m just saying for him, I can see that for me because I do that. So, I want to be able to have good communication with that. I’m also worried that we’re both going to commit to things separately and then it’ll be like, we come together and it’s like, why did you do that? Why did you commit to that without telling Me?

Mentor Mama:

You have probably noticed a lot of times dad will say to me, what do we have going on Friday the 14th or something, and that’s from learning from our mistakes, so you probably will learn from your mistakes in that area, but what I would suggest is try to talk about your calendars and what’s going on, on a weekly basis. Lay it out, and then have a month’s view too. Do you have time booked to visit family? She’s (Ashley) going to be moving to Iowa. Trip to visit mom.

Ashley:

If I have a car!

Mentor Mama:

Okay. Next one is, don’t go to bed angry. And again, that comes from Ephesians, which is so great. It’s Ephesians chapter four, verse 26. And, it says, “and don’t sin by letting anger control you don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry for anger gives a foothold to the devil.” So, I just think you’ll find that this is something I think dad and I have been for the most part, pretty good at. I can only remember very few occasions that we actually breached that, and then how bad it felt!

Ashley:

I hate that feeling.

Mentor Mama:

I would strongly encourage that.

Ashley:

And we’ve gotten angry before bed before, but I feel like we both have that conscience in us or the Holy Spirit of like, don’t go to bed mad at each other. I feel like I just can’t, even though it’s sometimes really hard to be like, ugh, I have to address this with you. And, say, I’m sorry. Humbling yourself is hard to do, but it’s worth it.

Mentor Mama:

It is worth it, and then your next day starts off way, way better. You don’t end up with a whole next day being bad after a bad night. So, okay, just two more things. The next one I think is just so critical and that one is grow in your individual walks with Jesus. And what you’ll find is by doing that, you’ll be growing closer to Christ, and we have a great example from a marriage tool that we did. Imagine a triangle with God at the top of the triangle and you and Johnny are each down on the bottom left- and right-hand corners. As you each are growing closer to God in your own walks, you’ll be growing closer to each other. I know you both do that amazingly well already, so that’s awesome. And my last tip is to keep laughter in your marriage. And I know that won’t be hard because Johnny is hilarious. I can’t imagine a day will ever go by without laughter.

Ashley:

I will never go a day without laughing with him. And, you know what is funny is I was looking back at my journal right before I went to Moody, and I made a list of qualities I was looking for.

Mentor Mama:

Yeah. I remember that list.

Ashley:

And one of them was, he makes me laugh, and Johnny makes me laugh so much. I like die laughing around him.

Mentor Mama:

And you make him laugh too.

Ashley:

I do?

Mentor Mama:

You do. Yes. You are hilarious Ash!

Ashley:

Okay. I didn’t know that.

Mentor Mama:

I know that seems like a silly one, but we need laughter in our lives. Dad is so good at making me laugh.

Ashley:

Dad is so funny. He has the funniest humor. I think that’s one of the reasons why I really was looking for someone who was funny and like, goofy because that’s how dad is too, and it’s just fun to have a goofball in the room. That’s how Taylor is too.

Mentor Mama:

Oh, my goodness, yes, she keeps us laughing. So, those are my top tips.

Ashley:

Top 10 tips.

Mentor Mama:

I’m super excited to be alongside this journey with you and Johnny, there are so many wonderful days ahead.

Ashley:

One thing I worry about is that it’s just going to be so hard. Like, I just feel like I’ve read so many marriage books that emphasize it’s going to be hard, don’t think this is easy, it’s not a piece of cake and, it’s hard work, and two sinners coming together. Like what do you expect? Sometimes I feel like I focus too much on the glass half empty I’m too much of a pessimist. And I want to be able to have a right view, a balanced view of, yes, it will be hard, but also this is something that God has ordained marriage and He is the author of love stories, and it’s a part of His will for us to come together. So, I need to trust that He’ll be in control and that He will bring us joy through that.

Mentor Mama:

He definitely will, and just take it one day at a time, I think is good advice too.

Ashley:

Amen! Thanks for chatting with me today.

Mentor Mama:

This has been so fun.

Ashley:

It has, we should do this more.

Mentor Mama:

We will.

Ashley:

Share this podcast with a friend if it encouraged you. Go check out our Coffee and Bible Time YouTube channel. If you want to stay updated on all the wedding stuff, go to Coffee Girls, that’s our vlog channel on YouTube, we have wedding dress videos, venue videos. Wedding planning has been crazy, let me tell you, it’s been wild. Like, right now I’m in a funk where I’m like, what’s going to happen? That’s how I feel right now.

Mentor Mama:

You have a beautiful dress.

Ashley:

I do have a beautiful dress. Even if we don’t have a venue, I have a beautiful dress. Also, Instagram (@coffeeandbibletime)- we will keep you updated on there, so join the family.

Mentor Mama:

If there’s anyone reading this on the blog, we are also recording these now for YouTube, so check it out on YouTube because then you can comment right there, and we have a wonderful community who comments with each other.

Ashley:

Google Coffee and Bible Time Podcast and you’ll see it. We love you so much, guys, have a great day!

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