Monday, September 27, 2010

Calling all Mothers With Daughters

I stepped outside my comfort zone of usually reading only fiction and read this terrific non-fiction book called, Last One Down The Aisle Wins: 10 Keyes to a Fabulous Single Life Now And an Even Better Marriage Later, by Shannon Fox and Celeste Liversidge.

I dated my husband for five years before marrying him at the ripe old age of 21. We’ve been happily married, for the most part—if anybody tells you they’ve been married a number of years and never had any bumps in their marriage I’d have to think they are fooling themselves-- for 27 years. As the woman who choose the “other” path, I feel well qualified to speak to the issues / advice brought up in this book.

I LOVED this book. Loved it.

Before I’d even finished it I ordered copies for my 3 girls (age 17-24) and my 20-year-old niece. I wish I’d read this book when I was a late teen—even though I’d already have fallen in love by then, however, I still like to think I might have postponed getting married until I’d grown up and learned about me.

The National Center for Health Statistics have noted that your chances of staying married more than double if you get married after the age of 25. These authors espouse the theory that before rushing off to become someone’s better half, girls should take the time to be the best, strongest person they can be. And they have tons of sage advice on how.

The premise is that, if girls take the time in their early twenties to grow up—get to know themselves, learn how to forge solid, healthy friendships, make peace with difficult family dynamics, learn to manage money and emotions, grow independent from parents, learn to honor and respect their bodies and embrace their sexuality, and open their minds and hearts to spiritual beliefs, then they will have spent time giving themselves valuable tools that will help set them up for a mature, successful partnership with a spouse.

Hopefully all that experience will help our girls choose a husband who will not only make their hearts race and stomachs flip flop at his sexy smile, but also a guy who is her best friend. A guy who compliments her strengths, respects her and supports her. A man who will make a truly great match for her. For life.

It’s SO true. I did most of this maturing while married. Some of it I even did while mothering my four children. While I have nothing to really compare it to, I imagine it would have been much easier to do all this growing up before I was a wife and mother. I’m NOT going to even ask my husband and kids their thoughts about living through my learning curve! I do not want to know. We all survived.

However . . . knowing what I know now, and having the advice I've read in this book . . . I can't help wondering how things might have been different had I taken the time in my early twenties to grow up instead of growing up while being a mom and wife. I've always been a great multitasker, but . . . what if . . .

Shannon and Celeste’s path is the one I choose for my girls—for every girl. It’s a gift to each young woman and her future husband. Check it out. Do you agree?


Jeffe Kennedy said...

This sounds like a really great book for girls and young women - thanks!

Donnell said...

Oh, wow, T. Thank you! As the mother of a daughter in her 20s, I will definitely pick it up! And you're right, there's a lot of growing--and--growing up that comes from marriage. My DH and I are going on 28 years, and we still have our moments ;).

Theresa said...

Jeffe, it is a really great book.

Donnell, marriage --a good marriage--demands so much work and compromise and maturity that it only makes sense to me that it'd be such an advantage for the couple if each individual brings his/her best, most mature self to the union.

I find that I constantly evolve into a slightly different me, but never so much as in the early 20s and it would be such an advantage to have had a more "polished" me, before marrying.

Hmm. I wonder if midlife crises are experienced more or less depending upon age married. It makes sense to me that the younger one marries, the higher frequency that person experiences midlife crises.

What do you think?


Marriage is not for the faint of heart.Rarely do my romance stories end with a wedding. Sometimes an engagement. A long engagement.

woolfcindy said...

As someone who didn't marry until she was 40, I can tell you that I think I'm much better for it. I was in love and dated my husband for 10 years, then lived with him for 10 years then married him. During the first 10 years, I grew, we laughed, we parted, we dated others, he grew. The second 10 years we lived together and I guess some people would say that we were "married" but I would disagree. Until you actually marry, you still have the "out" of being able to just leave. You don't comingle your finances or your families. You may buy a house together but you buy your cars alone. There are many differences to being actually married. I have to agree with Theresa, too, that no marriage is perfect. That is part of marriage, learning to compromise, because this person and this relationship is more important to you than being able to say "I'm right."

KL Grady said...

Wow, T. Sounds awesome. If I had a girl, I'd definitely get this book (and I'd get a copy for her friends, too). It sounds like advice I should have taken, too, since I got married at the ripe old age of 20. ;)

Theresa said...

Hmm, so far we're all in agreement. WOW, Cindy. 10 yrs of dating followed by 10yrs of living together before you were ready for that level of commitment? You are a carful gal. Jim certainly couldn't say he didn't know what he was getting into when you finally married.

KL, when we marry young, I think we both, wife and husband, have a bumpier road to ride while we grow up together. Think this is where the "growing apart" reason for divorces comes into play more frequently?

Be interested to hear a younger woman's perspective on the book. Maybe I can get my niece to weigh in here. Reggie?

KL Grady said...

T, absolutely. I think my husband and I are lucky in that I really like the guy he's become, and he seems to dig me just fine. ;) We most definitely had some bumpy times, right at the point when we were both coming into our own and getting accustomed to the shifts in our personalities and viewpoints. I'm grateful we managed to weather it all okay, but I often wonder how much stronger we'd have been from the start if we'd waited.

Angi Morgan said...

Awesome blog. Going to have to get the book.


Janet Lane said...

Timely blog for me Theresa. I have two daughters, 24 and 21. I dated my DH 5 years and we just celebrated our 25th. I like to think they'll learn from our example, but it never hurts to get other women's input and examples.

I also like to think that they have picked up some messages from my historical romances and learned that no one can "complete" you but you, and that love can help us grow (in addition to bringing much joy). Thanks! --Janet

Victoria Dixon said...

Thanks, Theresa! My daughter's too young to understand now, but my best friend and I were just discussing how she wished she'd done this. Her daughter is twelve now. About time to start considering this conversation, perhaps. :)