Some of the best marriage advice I ever received
February 18, 2012 § 2 Comments
Dress like a wife, not a mom.
This isn’t where I tell you “no more mom jeans.” I think most women get that they aren’t supposed to wear those at this point (well, most women in their 20’s and 30’s at the very least).
When Johnny and I were engaged, we met a few times with our (then) pastor and his wife, Aaron and Sara, for some premarital counseling. We were given lots of great advice, and were able to gain some insight from them on how that advice could look practically in our future marriage.
Out of all the wisdom we were given, the one thing that stuck with me the most was when Sara said to me: It’s important to me that I am a wife first and a mother second. I want to dress like a wife, not a mom. Even though I wasn’t a wife yet and certainly wasn’t a mother, that resonated with me and I resolved I would hold on to what she told me. She has four adorable kiddos, and I would definitely consider her a hip and easy going mother. If she can do it with her four children, surely those of us who have less children can do it, right?
I have so many thoughts about this subject that I’ll try to empty my brain in an organized manner for you. Before I do that, however, I am putting out a disclaimer: I am not a fashionista. I am not a hipster, though Johnny kinda is (he won’t admit it). I am not a trend-setter. But you know what? Most of us aren’t. And for those of us that aren’t, we can still look clean, put together, pretty, and not screaming I AM A MOM AND I HAVE BEEN SPIT UP ON 3 TIMES ALREADY AND AM RUNNING ON ONLY 4 HOURS OF SLEEP.
So then, how exactly does this relate to marriage? I truly think that dressing like a wife, or at least making it a priority (we all have those days when we barely have time to shower, much less think about a cute outfit) reminds our husbands that we care. To Johnny, it says that I still care about being attractive, that I still want him to think I am the most beautiful woman in the room. I always want him to know that I value our relationship more than I value my relationship with our kids. That may sound strange to some, but I firmly believe that if my marriage suffers, my kids will suffer. So I try to dress like a wife and not the worn out, busy woman I sometimes feel I am.
Without further ado, here are the things that I remind myself, often:
1. Dressing like a wife instead of a mom doesn’t have to be hard. Really.
Okay, I am sure this gets more difficult with the more kids you have. And I know I only have one. But I firmly believe that if you make a little effort to be aware of popular fashions, key in on popular items that are easy (i.e. oversized sweater and leggings, jersey dresses) and require little care (cotton knit sweater vs. cashmere), then you are okay. Notice what women are wearing at the store, go on Pintrest, or have some of your favorite clothing stores send you their catalog. It doesn’t take long to flip through it and tear out the pages with the outfits you like and think are easily doable. Put it in a “style box” or “style binder” in your closet so that when you need inspiration its right there to flip through.
2. Dress for your husband…not always the practicality of your kids.
Sometimes I pull on leggings and one of my husband’s oversized t-shirts (well, oversized on ME) and call it a day. To some people, that might be mommy-wear. But my husband appreciates that look, and he likes that look. So to me, that IS dressing like a wife because my husband likes it.
3. There is a lot of relativity here.
Note above. My husband likes the knot on top of the head, leggings, knee socks, boots, huge t-shirt and cardigan with a thrown on scarf look. Sounds complicated, but it only takes minutes to put together, not to mention it’s comfortable, easy, and realistic.
4. Just go for it.
When in doubt about whether your outfit is too “out there”…just do it. Don’t question, just do, as my super hip cool friends told me on Sunday:
Them: Jenevieve. Just wear shorts with tights!
Me: Yeah, but I think…
Them: Don’t think! Don’t question! Just do! You totally can pull it off. Just do it!
So. Here is me doing. Or rather, me telling you to do ;) [Update: I did it on Friday. I’m still a little wary of the look, but John loved it and thought I was so cool. So it was a win for me, I suppose]
5. Imitate looks you like with clothes you already have.
It isn’t always possible to imitate a look exactly, but it is possible to imitate the general feel of an outfit with similar items you may have in your closet. Also, I have found that when I look at my closet with “new eyes” I am able to see my garments in a new way, which does wonders for my imagination and creativity. Pintrest always has lots of cute outfits put together (see below), and it is fantastic for giving me a starting place. Just take an idea and run with it.
6. Accessories are your little helpers.
Accessories are fairly cheap. They go with more outfits than a new shirt can. The mix and match possibilities are endless. Jazz it up with some nice earrings, a scarf, and cute flats. You’re good to go. My favorite accessory is a scarf. It’s baby friendly. If it gets drooled on, tugged on, manhandled, what have you, you can always just throw it in the wash and wear it again tomorrow.
I leave you with some inspiration, thanks to Pintrest:
Still a cool-weather look, but most should be able to do something similar for another month or so.
Two pieces, lots of pop (high neckline perfect for the mamas).
Non-bulky scarf, easy and comfy.
Perfect for a play date at the park.
Easy accessories, neutral items that can go with almost anything (though not a fan of the shoes).
One last thing: ladies, what are some of your favorite “go to looks”? I would love your thoughts and further inspiration! The main reason I posted this was to challenge myself first, and share my thoughts with others second. So…give me your thoughts!