Teachers of Good things is a series of interviews we will be conducting on Tuesdays and Thursdays here at Ruby in the Rough. It is our goal with these interviews to follow the instructions found in Titus 2:3-5 for the "older women" to teach the younger women good things such as: loving their husbands, keeping their home, and conducting themselves with all purity both before and after marriage.
Today it is a pleasure to have Amy Cahill joining us for Teachers of Good Things. Amy is married to Brian Cahill, and together they have four children: Lance, Ivy, Flora and Baby E (due to arrive in early April). You can read more about the Cahill family at their family blog, The Cahills.
My Dad sat me down at 7 years old and told me about this great new
idea he had heard called "courtship" and how I would be doing that
instead of dating (though I had no clue what either were at the time).
Since then the idea that I would grow up to be married and a mom was
always there as my future. While I didn't pursue boys and
relationships, most things I did were centered around the idea that
they would prepare me for that end. We had a very open family and my
sisters and Dad and I would sit around from time to time, discussing
different young men, good and bad points, and what we would like in a
future mate. Dad was preparing us to be discerning of character.
teen some friends challenged my idea of marriage as an ideal and it
prompted me into an in depth Biblical study. Even service I did "for
the Lord" was centered on children, because not only did I enjoy it,
but I knew this was good preparation for motherhood. I guess, I tried
to do more in the way of preparing than pursuing to help keep me from
dreaming of particular guys. My Dad also played an active role in
being our "boy friend" - going on little dates here and there, getting
us chocolate on Valentines. ect.
There was a point in my early 20's that as a challenge for a friend
who had trouble with an addiction, a number of us gave up things
important to us for a month and I choose marriage - thinking, studying
or talking about it. Crazy enough, that's when God brought my husband
into my life.
What steps did you take after you met your future spouse (during dating/courtship/engagement) to keep your focus on the LORD first?
During this time I think it's important to learn how to focus on the
Lord together. This will be something you will do forever after you
are married so if the relationship is distracting, it's not
necessarily a sign to pull apart for individual focus on God, but a
time to work through the new dimension of a one flesh relationship
with God. You obviously won't be together all day every day so it's a
good way to slowly integrate this new change and learn how to handle
it. We memorized 1 John during our courtship and would quote it to
each other when we got together on weekends. We would pray together
over the phone as we talked each evening and share insights we may
have gained from our Bible readings during the day. It was also a time
of searching out each other's beliefs and learning to go to scripture
together to come up with answers and solutions to everything
situations from wedding themes to birth control, to courtship
How do you think a single woman should pursue/prepare for marriage?
Do your school - get out of high school at least, finish early if you
like. Go to college as God leads - I did at 21 because I didn't want
my lack of education to be a hindrance if my husband wanted to go on
the mission field (some mission boards require the wife to have some
Know how to care for a household, your own is a good place to start -
I'm sure your mom wouldn't mind a little help :-) Find opportunities
to work with children. Learn to share a room and get along with your
siblings - they are your "boot camp" for marriage - learning how to
yield rights, fight and make up, serve someone, love when they act
Take some opportunity to do single service for the Lord - for
example, I helped in Sunday school, lead a children's choir, worked a
summer camp, taught in a homeschool co-op my younger siblings
attended, taught piano, gave horseback riding lessons, went on a
mission trip, led a Bible study of teenage girls (that was my dad's
Practice discerning God's will in little things, even if you mess
up sometimes and you won't be hit cold when you have to decide on
something for the rest of your life. Discipline yourself now, it will
pay off later. Get up early and have that quiet time every day - you
won't always be able to do that when married but you'll benefit from
that time spent when you have the chance. Exercise - same reason.
And for finding that guy, under your parent's guidance, get out and
do things, meet people, talk and mix (I'm meaning less when you're 14
and more when you're of courtship age). Learn many things, be
interesting, have a life! Guys are attracted to girls that are full of
In what area were you the least [and/or most] prepared to be a wife?
I wish I'd been a little more knowledgeable on my own body - after two
kids I read this book: "Taking charge of your fertility" this talks
about your cycle and things female. I would read this under guidance
from your mom due to much of the subject matter but some of the info
would have been nice to know and practice before being concerned about
getting pregnant. You could read this during courtship depending on
how long you have - I only knew Brian 3 months before we married so I
didn't have time to find out or implement some of this. Frankly, it
was an embarrassing subject for me, as was most of "becoming a woman"
so I didn't talk with my mom much. This left us as a couple scrambling
to figure out how to not have a "honeymoon baby" and choosing maybe
not the best way because I hadn't paid much attention to how my body
Having worked with my dad gave me a great groundwork for being a wife.
I learned how to do things out of my comfort zone, patiently wait on
him when he had to do something too skilled for me to help, and learn
the joy of companionship. When married, I had the opportunity to join
Brian on some of his jobs. I won't lie, sometimes it was boring and I
didn't always want to go to the work of learning to help, but it gave
me a taste of what his work was like, made me a better conversation
partner in the evenings and I understood why a "quick project" could
suddenly take hours. This kept me from nagging at him for being home
late, or being upset when things didn't go according to plans. Plus it
gives him a chance to brag on his wife to the guys at work - something
a man likes to do. His work is not the "other woman" in his life,
taking him away from me, it's something we can do from a team
perspective. Oh, and on the education point, I edited a lot of his
technical papers for his Master's degree - again, not the most
exciting task, but I got to be a partner instead of a bystander.
What does being a helpmate look like in your marriage?
Doing my part to help him fulfill his calling as a man. If we are
called to have children, I bear them and take care of them. If we are
called to minister in a big city to a bunch of rich business men and
technical minded people (Brian's co-workers), I will have to keep a
house that will lend itself to hosting them - not the farm I always
dreamed of living on. If he likes the house neat when he comes home,
then I endeavor to make it that way before he arrives. If he likes a
hot breakfast, then I get up early with him and make one. If he wants
to keep in shape, I go jogging with him and fix him healthy meals. If
he wants to save up for a house, then I live in an apartment and watch
our spending. For intimacy, I follow my Grandma's advice and "never
say no." If he wants a companion, I'm there to join in whatever he is
doing. I add my own creativity to life, making it fun for both of us.
It sounds like I might lose myself, but "whowever loses his life will
find it" and I feel so fulfilled in fulfilling him.
What was the biggest surprise to you after marriage?
One was realizing just what love was. I think from books, or movies or
even friends I had an expectation that I would just be swooning over
my husband and when I didn't act that way it bothered me. I finally
realized that I would react to love, much in the way I reacted to the
rest of life - with more of an even keel and level head. I have a
friend who was always over the top excited to see anyone, gave big
hugs and squealed - this is who she was, a gushy, emotional kind of
person and when she married that's how she acted over her husband. I
was never that way and to expect myself to act different was to set up
for guilt and failure. Do I feel fun tingles? Yes, but my reaction is
in character, and I don't exactly faint :-)
What is one thing about men you learned after marriage?
That they have a very big ego that needs to be fed often by the person
that means the most to them. I really have to watch what I say,
because some things I've said in fun have totally deflated my man. He
can thrive or fail on my opinion of him and one little compliment can
go a long way. Don't like a certain shirt? Don't say so outright, just
tell him his muscles look bigger in another shirt and he'll be sure to
wear it more often.
Edited to Add: Brian and Amy had an unusual and very sweet courtship story. If you are interested in reading it, it can be found on their wedding website. Here is Brian's side of the story, Amy's side of the story, and the engagement.