Before I start, I should note that each husband was a high value guy. They each made a lot of money, and were generally pretty nice people (aside from the last one). She also dated a lot of very nice, high value men. This is how she landed these guys, and then lost them.
- Marry a man because you love him, not because he can fund your life. She never married a man that she really loved, it was about what they could give her. Money, status, etc. Don't marry a man you don't love completely and wholly just because he checks all of your boxes. It's shallow, selfish, and cruel to the man who thought you were in it for the right reasons. Of course a man should provide, but he does not exist purely to buy you stuff. They should be your partner in crime, your lover, your confidant, and your best friend.
- Men really value a playful, open spirit... to an extent. My mom was not the type to turn heads when she walked down the street, but she had her pick of the pack because everyone wanted a piece of her personality. She was the type who could talk to anyone, was down to do anything, willing to try everything, loved a good prank, and knew how to make people laugh. This was her main draw and she knew it. Even when her looks started to fade, this quality kept her young. The downside to this was that she couldn't turn it off. She was incessantly bored and impossible to entertain 24/7. There has to be a line drawn, and you have to be able to settle down, or else your life is going to be pure chaos.
- Men also really value the ability to speak concisely, intelligently, and with class. They need you to be able to have a decent conversation not only with them, but with their colleagues, family, friends, maybe even their boss at a company party, If you can't carry an interesting, engaging, intelligent conversation with just about anyone, that's gonna be an issue. He picked you, and so who you are and how you act says something about him and his judgement.
- Admit your faults and gracefully accept criticism. The inability to do this is a really common trait these days, and it kills relationships. If you go into a marriage (or any relationship at all) thinking that it's you against him, that you're right and he's wrong, that he's dumb and you're smart..... That will kill your relationship in it's tracks. It sets up a sense of superiority. You end up looking down on him, and he will feel that lack of respect to his core.
- Don't allow life to take away your softness. My mother and I both had hard lives as children, and that translated to being very brittle, emotionally unavailable people in adulthood. It's easy to fall into this hole, and I sat with her in it until I got married and realized that it was only pushing my husband away from me. Softness translates into being malleable. You should be able to adapt to anything and form yourself into who or what you need to be in this or that situation, while maintaining that light core.
- Take care of yourself, physically. My mother, bless her soul, aged horrifically. She smokes, she drank a lot in her youth, she did a lot of casual drugs, never wore sunscreen, ate like crap, etc. I can see how much of a toll it's taken on her self-esteem. While she wasn't a head-turner, she was beautiful, and she threw that gift down the toilet. While you may not be hot when you're 60, you can still be beautiful if you take care of yourself.
- Believe people when they tell you he's not a nice person. If one person says it, that's an opinion. If seven people say it, you should probably listen. Highly manipulative people put on a face for people they like, and drag everyone else through the pasture. He will eventually stop liking you, and the chickens will come home to roost.
I'd love to hear about what things you ladies have noticed in your mothers' marriages, what went wrong and what went right.