I have three sons and I’m raising them to love their wives more than they love me.

One day, each boy will leave me for her, and I’m preparing now to leave them in the hands of these women. Women who won’t have memories of them when they were little. Who won’t have held their hands for as long as I have. Who might not know I’ve spent all these years, all these sleepless nights raising the kind of men they’ve been dreaming about.

I believe the “leave and cleave” thing starts when they are young, not as they get older. So, I need my sons to know their mom will always be here . . . but realize their mom won’t always be their forever one and only.

And that’s OK.

It’s my job as their mother to give them this beautiful life full of memories and unconditional love. To help them set goals and believe in their dreams. It’s not my job to tell them who to love.

But, when they do choose, I want my sons to love their wives unconditionally and without any reservations that I might feel loved any less. I want for each one to know it’s OK for him to stand by her side and always be in her corner. I want her to become his one and only. 

It’s my job to raise men who will love their wives fully. Men who will never feel the need to choose between wife and mother—who instead know they can love us both. I want them to know loving their wives more doesn’t mean they don’t love me; it means I’ve raised each one to be the kind of husband his wife needs; the kind of man who knows the worth of his wife; the kind of man who won’t ever feel the need to choose because the choice was made the day they exchanged vows and became one.

I hope I have raised my sons well enough that one day, if the situation arises, each would choose his wife—over me—every single time. I’m raising my boys to cleave to their wives, and I won’t love them any less for it.

I want my sons to know that who they love, I love. And no matter what, I’ll always be their mom—there in the distance encouraging the boys I raised into men who love their wives more, every single time.

Originally published on Grief To Hope with Nikki Pennington

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Nikki Pennington

Nikki is a stay at home mom to three, high spirited boys. Three years ago she became a motherless daughter after losing her own mom to terminal brain cancer. When she is not playing the role of referee for the boys, she spends her days trying to encourage and inspire others that are on the grief journey. Read more from Nikki on her blog: http://www.grieftohope.blogspot.com/