Five Things My Mom Taught Me About Being A Wife

Of all the lessons my mom passed on to me, I am most grateful for the example and principles she taught me that prepared me to be a wife…

 1. Be Spirit-filled

Growing up I hardly ever saw my mom lose her temper or get angry. She chose to be controlled by the Holy Spirit. The benefit to us as children was we had a happy, peaceful home. No shouting between our parents and no shouting directed towards us.


I am so thankful to the Lord for a mom who wasn’t temperamental or easily unsettled. Her example of grace under stress gave me a mental peg of how I ought to respond to Edric and my kids when I am upset. This doesn’t mean that I do so perfectly, but through her, I learned that gentleness and quietness of spirit is more powerful to communicate a message and point rather than yelling or shouting at others.

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (‭Galatians‬ ‭5‬:‭16, 22-23‬ NASB)


 Being spirit-filled for my mom wasn’t merely about keeping her anger under control. She was predictably joyful, especially towards my dad. He came home to a wife who welcomed him each day with a smile. My dad didn’t have to guess what kind of mood my mom was in when he stepped into our house. He would excitedly call out, “Deonna!” and her response was one of delight as she received him.

2. Appreciate/Affirm More Than Criticize.

Every woman believes she marries the man of her dreams when she stands at the altar, but then she takes a list full of expectations into her marriage…all the ways her husband should love her, lead her, and provide for her. When he falls short of these expectations, she becomes disappointed, demanding, and then annoying!

When I am tempted to become like this, a good way to arrest the process  is remembering what my mom says so often, “lower expectation and raise appreciation.” It’s the expectations that trip me up a lot of times, but focusing on Edric’s many amazing traits causes me to be grateful. After all, I am married to a wonderful, godly man.

The principle of lowering expectations is not thinking less of Edric and saying, “Fine, I am not going to expect anything because you fail me.” Instead, it is choosing to emphasize and acknowledge the positive in him which results in the bonus effect of encouraging Edric to love, lead, and provide for me!

3. Follow Your Husband.

Even though my mom’s country of origin is the United States, she left it completely when she married my dad. At first, she traveled to the Philippines as a missionary. But marriage sealed the deal for her permanently. The Philippines became her new home.

My mom embraced my dad’s Chinese background and family. She intentionally made friends with Filipinos instead of hanging out with Americans from the expat or missionary community. It might have seemed like she was giving up her identity and culture when she married my father but she didn’t see it that way. She considered it a privilege to serve the Lord along side him in the Philippines and be his strong supporter.

She echoed the commitment of Ruth to Naomi, when Ruth declared, “Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. Thus may the LORD do to me, and worse, if anything but death parts you and me.” (‭Ruth‬ ‭1‬:‭16-17‬ NASB)

Before I got married, my mom told me something similar, “Follow your husband. Where he goes, you should go.” Coming from a family with such close ties to one another, this statement carried a lot of weight. She was liberating me to transfer my loyalties to Edric and to direct my commitment to him. Genesis 2:24 tells us, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.”

This passage isn’t just for married couples, it’s for parents, too. Parents need to let their kids leave home physically and emotionally to begin their new life with their spouse. They need to applaud their child’s desire to honor their husband or wife by prioritizing them. As a mother, I can imagine how difficult it must be to release my children in this manner. But that is God’s design. No umbilical attachments to mom. Loyalties and priorities are transferred to one’s spouse.

For example, when my mom calls to invite us to a family dinner, and I say, “Sorry, mom, we can’t make it,” she doesn’t burden me with a guilt-trip. However, since we have a great relationship, I find ways to spend time with her during the week. Maybe we will go shopping together or get our nails done, or chat over lunch. But the point is she respects the boundaries of my relationship to Edric. If we have our own schedules and plans, she understands. She helps to reinforce the biblical principle of following Edric’s decisions and prioritizing him.

4. Be Simple.

It still amuses me how my mom, who doesn’t have to worry about money (by God’s grace), shops at tiangges and struggles to pay more than 2k for a bag. I remember one afternoon when we were shopping for a bag for her to bring on her U.S. trip. She was going to be a guest with my dad at the Presidential Prayer Breakfast in D.C. So she thought of buying herself an elegant handbag. We must have gone in and out of six or seven stores and still found nothing. The styles weren’t classy for the price point she had in mind. And she felt like she already spent a lot for an outfit and shoes, which actually wasn’t that much in my opinion. (She even used gift checks for the outfit!)

Yet, this is my mom. She is not extravagant or materialistic. But she still tries her best to look put together. In fact our concern as children is that she refuses to wear flats and tends to fall or trip. No matter what we say, she remains a heels-only kind of woman even if she is in her late 60’s!

Going back to my mom’s bag story…When she and my dad got to the Presidential Prayer Breakfast, she discovered that bags were not allowed into the venue. So she was thrilled that  God prevented her from finding one to buy! 

My mom remains simple when it comes to material things because she knows that “all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever. ” (‭1 John‬ ‭2‬:‭16-17‬ NASB)

  She prefers to invest in the lives of people and is generous when it comes to helping others or using money to spread God’s Word. Buying jewelry, bags, shoes, watches…that’s not my mom and I have been blessed by her example of simplicity. To my recollection, she has never asked or pressured my dad for an expensive gift. Ever. He has applauded her for being easy to please. I hope to be the same way as a woman, especially in my marriage. I want Edric to know that he doesn’t have a high maintenance wife.    

5.Celebrate Femininity.

I have heard my dad say, “Your mom is such a feminine lady,” and it’s attractive to him. What is femininity anyway? Is it being weak and frail as a female? Of course not.

My mom birthed all of us naturally. When she was young, she transferred schools 18 times because my grandfather was in the navy so she learned to reach out to people and make friends everywhere. As a flight attendant, she traveled the world and warded off the advances of flirty pilots. She left the comforts of America to live in a country that was completely foreign. Marrying cross-culturing was not very common in the 70s. Homeschooling in the 80s wasn’t either. She successfully petitioned for the Department of Education to create a pilot homeschool program when she and my dad started TMA Homeschool. In her sixties, she chased a thief through the mall in high heels when her bag was snatched. And she caught up this thief and shared the gospel to her. I can numerate so many other ways my mom is a fighter and “strong in spirit,” but she is also soft-hearted, sweet, and graceful. She carries herself like a woman in the way she speaks, laughs, sits, stands, and relates to my dad.


The best way to describe my mom’s femininity is to highlight her inner tranquility. She is a woman who trusts in God and his plan and will for her life. Therefore she smiles at the future. She doesn’t strive or manipulative circumstances or people to get her way. Nor does she put a spotlight on herself to seek attention or glorify what she has accomplished. People are drawn to her person as they see Christ in her and she blesses them with godly wisdom and encouragement. As a wife, she respects my dad and honors the desires of his heart, seeking to please him and serve him. Therefore, he treasures her and deeply loves her, and he is still very much attracted to her.

Edric has told me on several occasions that he is glad I learned to be feminine from my mom. It matters to him that I put effort into embodying the same kindness, gentleness of spirit, and desire to serve him. My mom is much better at this and I continue to look to her as a standard to work towards. 

Thank you, mom, for the life lessons you passed on to me about being a wife. You are an incredible woman of God and I am so blessed to be your daughter and to have you as my example!

  “Strength and dignity are her clothing, And she smiles at the future. She opens her mouth in wisdom, And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. Her children rise up and bless her; Her husband also, and he praises her, saying: ‘Many daughters have done nobly, But you excel them all.'” (Proverbs 31:25-26,29-29)


24 thoughts on “Five Things My Mom Taught Me About Being A Wife

  1. Thank you for sharing your stories.. They really inspire me to be more Christ-like in my head and heart. Thank you

  2. Thanks for sharing this Joy. When I face any challenge as a mom I often wonder what your mom would do. I may be far away but she is still the example I would love to emulate.

  3. Thank you for sharing. You and your family is an inspiration to me. My mom went to the Lord when i was 13 and that was more than 20 yrs ago. I consider my self a strong woman and following my husband is hard for me as its putting my life on someone other than myself 100% when once upon a time, he has already failed me. By God’s grace, I am able to accept this and follow. I have assured my husband now that if he choose to stay abroad, we are willing to work on living there with him even if it means leaving my career and comfort here. Thank you again. God bless you and your family.

  4. wow! goosebumps! God bless our mothers! the Lord is changing us to be a better wife to our husband and mother to our children. Thank you for sharing this!

  5. hi joy. thanks for sharing this. i’m having a not-so-good toward my husband, to put it mildly. your mom is right–lower expectation, raise appreciation. after reading your post i felt d heavy negative emotion in my chest disappeared. i think your mom should write a book, seriously. i’m sure many women will benefit from the many years that God has sanctified her, all the knowledge and wisdom she acquired along the way in her many experiences. she is an amazing woman, you’re so blessed to have her indeed. my parents aren’t like yours. but i’ve come to accept that the one who chose my lot in life is the same God who chose those of others who seem more fortunate, just like you. God bless you and your family.

  6. One of my favorite posts in this blog. It moved me in soooo many ways now that I just got married. Blessings!

  7. I attest to what Joy writes about her mom. She is my role model. I praise God for my godmother Deonna who epitomizes the woman I’d like to be.

  8. Thanks for sharing your story Joy :-). My mom cannot handle stress gracefully, so we grew up in an atmosphere of shouting and even public critism. But my dad taught me that we should remain feminine in every way and to handle stress gracefully. He taught me to be kind and gentle and to pray and understand my mom. For every mom has difficulties, insecurities, women sickness (monthly period, etc) that carry on each day doing moms tasks daily. For that being a wife now, sometimes I failed to respond gracefully to stress but the good thing is that I acknowlegde my doing and I ask forgiveness to my son and spouse and address whats causing my bad respond. I learned to appreaciate my mom more and even love her more.

  9. Such incredibly amazing story about your mom. Indeed, your parents deserve more than an applause in raising all of you. I know, envy is not a good character but I do. I envy your family. If I could go back the hands of time, I want a family just like yours. But this is God’s plan for me, his ways of molding me, still thankful that He has given me a great husband too and lovely daughters.

  10. Thanks Joy for this. Enjoyed it. Please give my regards to your Mom. I have written her a couple of e-mails and have not received a response. Anyway, please tell her that I am praying for her, especially her health. Also, just want you to know that I have not been receiving your blog anymore. I do not know why I got cut off. I just saw this article posted on FB so I clicked to read it and wondered why I did not get it in my e-mail. Would like to continue my subscription. Thanks. See you in Sept.

  11. This is a great blog entry. I have always wondered how your Mom handled living in the Philippines. Do you think you can post more information about your parent’s relationship? Having married a man of a different culture, background, and any challenges that they went through? Also how did she handle missing her family and friends in the US? thanks

  12. sooo blessed by this entry. It’s always a joy to see sister Deonna share her experiences and journey during worship service or conference, she’s so soft spoken and her face is so radiant, every woman would love to be spirit filled like her. And am soo blessed when she told the story about praying on her knees when she still wasn’t married to pastor peter. How I pray that I can have a family like that in the future, that while waiting.. God will slowly refine and change me to be the best person for my GB. I sometimes wonder how you can be joyful all the time or how you can be spirit filled, but I have seen it with my own eyes the true evidence of God’s grace and faithfulness in the life of your mom.

    PS. please tell her she always looks great and has great taste ( there’s really no need to buy expensive stuff she can pull off any outfit )

    1. Thanks Esa! I will tell her! That’s encouraging to hear. It’s really all by God’s grace!

  13. I have always looked up to your Mom, and will forever be grateful to the Lord for her; for walking me through some of my most difficult years, patiently listening to me and giving me godly advise. GOD bless her!

  14. i am single yet i am reading blogs like this, it so helpful for me as a single, i now have an idea how to become a wife filled with the holy spirit, Thank you ms, joy for the thoughts, Godbless!!!!

  15. I’m not married yet, but this inspires me to be a Godly wife and to be an example to my future children someday.
    Thank you for sharing..
    GOd bless.

  16. I am truly blessed reading this article. I even made notes in my journal so I can easily grab it and be reminded. I was teary-eyed when I was reading the last item (celebrating femininity). In my mind, I was wishing and praying to learn to be all those. I am a young wife and mom and sometimes I really feel like I’m in the dark just doing trial-and-error. I do have a mom and I love her dearly but at a young age she had to leave to work overseas and I kinda feel I didn’t have someone to look up to or to someone to teach me with all these wife and mother issues.

    I praise God for blogs such as yours. God is using people to teach me how to be a good wife and mother. I also thank God for my mom for teaching me some things. Sometimes I just have to filter (hahaha)

    Thank you. I truly admire your mom and I look up to your family. Someday, I pray that I’ll be able to share my notes to my daughter. God bless you. =)

    1. Thank you for sharing, Chelle. God loves you very much. he has a wonderful plan for your life and he will surely guide you as you keep following him. He will give you the wisdom to be the best wife and mother!

  17. running in heels!!! now i believe in outrunning a dinosaur while in heels! hahaha. what a model you girls have 😀

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