When Mother Made Her Choice

Modesty and Simplicity

When my mother was a young woman of eighteen, she had still not found a suitable husband. Her family was quite concerned about this because it was the custom for girls to be betrothed, or even married, just after puberty. My mother was a beautiful young woman, so I am told. The reason she had not found a husband was not because she was unattractive. In fact many suitors had come her way, but she did not like any of then.

She would stamp her foot and say, “No, Father, I will not take that young man for a husband. He may have plenty of money and good prospects, but I do not like him. He is too proud,” or, “He is too vain.”

It was always these faults that my mother seemed to find in her suitors.

“Ah, he thinks he is so clever!” she would say and then turn her back and walk out.

“Him! He thinks he is so handsome. He is more interested in impressing me with his appearance than in getting to know me. No, Father, not him!”

“Him! All he does is strut to and fro with his head held high, expecting others to run hither and thither for him. No, not him! “ And so on.

Her father and mother were exasperated. Then one day my father came to visit the house. He was a good-looking young man, clever and sensitive. When he met my mother he smiled and dropped his eyes. She watched the way he carried out his business with her father. It was temple business and she herself was very interested in those sorts of things. When he departed again, he looked modestly at her and smiled, saying his good-byes.

“Now that is a young man I could marry.” announced my mother to her parents that evening.

They were dumbfounded. When eventually her mother could speak, she said, “But he’s almost like a priest! He wears no fashionable clothes. He came here on foot, not on horseback; he brought no servants with him. He talks rather quietly for a self-assured man. Don’t you want someone with more to offer, someone who is more outward going, more flamboyant, someone who would be fun to be with?”

“Mother,” replied the daughter, “You have supplied me with a string of such raucous fancy young men and I have rejected them all. They are too bound up with their own importance. I want a man who is modest and whose life is one of simplicity, then I will be able to express myself as his wife and not become just another of his possessions.”

“Very well,” said her father, “I shall make enquiries about the young man.”

The two were married within six months. They were a perfect match for each other. My mother’s family never had cause to regret the union. After all I was one of the products of it, was I not?

Some questions to ask yourself about modesty and simplicity:

  • What do you feel about people who brag about their abilities, achievements or possessions?
  • If you find yourself boasting how do you feel inside and how do your friends take it?

Guidance on Modesty and Simplicity