We are told, again and again, that our parents are the most important figures in determining how we will behave as a wife (or husband). We see how our parents interact and that is how we think married people ought to interact. If they argue and disagree frequently, then we are perfectly comfortable arguing and disagreeing in our marriages as well. If they were affectionate, then we are affectionate. If they were cold, then we are cold.
We also expect our spouse to act like our parents. As wives, you expect your husband to act and react as you saw your father act and react. If your father was a kind and patient man, you expect kindness and patience. If your father was a cruel man, you expect cruelty.
Here is the reality of "what our mothers left us." They left us filled with fears, hopes, expectations, and concerns about marriage. For all the Bible's talk of "older women teaching younger women," most young women know almost nothing about marriage but what they have seen in their homes. Most moms do not actually teach their daughters consciously, but the teaching of their lives is enough.
I asked on Sunday how many women had taken their husband's arm in a public place in the last month. A few women raised their hands. I wonder how many of them had moms who would do such things. Of the women who did not, I wonder how many never saw their mom do that. I know you probably think it is a small thing, taking your husband's arm in public. It is actually a very telling act. It communicates a pleasure in his company and closeness. It communicates affection. It communicates a sense of belonging and warmth. It expresses a sense of ownership (telling others "this is my husband." It is a quintessentially "wifely" act. I cannot understand why any woman would fail to do such a simple act which means so much to both you and your husband, except that they do not even think of it.
What did you learn from your mom? Did you learn to be affectionate in public, to be proud of him, to be glad to be seen with him, to take actions to let him (and others) know how glad you are that you married him? Or did you learn to defend yourself? Did you learn to be suspicious, fearful, and cold?
Every abusive father, every cold mom, every bitter family torn by strife, leaves the world with wounded children, who will grow up to wound their own children unless they learn better from other people. Older women are to teach younger women in the church. We do not want children left to what they saw at home, because we know that "what we saw at home" may not have been healthy at all.
It is the word of God and the wisdom He gives that tells us what a wife should be. If we had a godly mother to model it for us, then thank God for such kindness. If not, then learn from others how to be an excellent wife..