Thou shalt be her sous chef in the kitchen.
She has shelves of cookbooks and Southern Living magazines, and she is always trying new recipes. She believes the couple that cooks together stays together, so no more piddlin’ around in the evenings — you’ll be doing the chopping and cleaning come supper time.
Thou shalt remember a woman’s work is never done.
Her daily to-do list will always be three times as long as yours. She has given you the time of day and expects you to do your fair share. Take out the trash before she says something and put your laundry in the basket, instead of on the floor.
Thou shalt keep the freezer stocked with half-gallons (not pints) of her favorite Bluebell Ice Cream flavors.
She indulges on bad days, good days and cheat days. A late night at the office calls for Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. When she finishes a big project, she wants Homemade Vanilla with Mawmaw’s blackberry cobbler (which also better be in the freezer). A pause mid pre-beach-vacation diet means Banana Pudding or Birthday Cake.
Thou shalt court her properly.
She wants flowers, fairy tales and butterflies in the pit of her stomach, so surprise her with grand gestures every so often. She also appreciates the little things like when you make the coffee before she’s up or put a home-cooked meal on the table Tuesday nights.
Thou shalt mind your p’s and q’s.
RSVP for get-togethers, tell anyone who sneezes “bless you” and hold the door open for others. During dinner at her folks’ house, finish everything on your plate, compliment the cook, and call her daddy “Mister” unless told otherwise.
Thou shalt respect her decision to avoid “living in sin.”
You may practically live under the same roof, but she will maintain a separate residence to avoid sideways glances from her relatives. Bottom line: She won’t accept your proposal to move in together unless you propose something else first.
Thou shalt be an excellent host alongside your southern hostess.
She enjoys entertaining and wants everything to be flawlessly executed. You will be responsible for dusting, vacuuming and grilling. The house should be so clean and organization it appears as though no one lives there.
Thou shalt not speak of her mama in vain.
Your mom makes tastier chicken noodle casserole, but you will keep your mouth shut. She will have a hissy fit and tell you to “kiss her go-to-hell” if you criticize anything about Mama.
Thou shalt pick your fights carefully.
She generally keeps her cool, but if you get her started, you will lose. She is as stubborn as a mule and can plead her case better than the attorneys in Michael Grisham’s courtroom dramas. Ask yourself if this is worth arguing about for three days because she is quite capable of filibustering.
Thou shalt be a good sport about sleeping on the couch.
Whether you’re in college or in your 30s, you cannot sleep in the same bed with your sweetheart at her parents’ house. Choose wisely — spending nights on the sofa is less awkward than sharing a bedroom with her moody teenage brother over Thanksgiving.
Thou shalt never hurt her.
If you cheat, fail to end your relationship with decorum, or otherwise break her heart, her daddy’s going to break you. He’s got one helluva gun collection, and he has yet to miss a target while hunting dove, deer, or duck.
Thou shalt learn a thing or two about fashion.
She wears coordinated active wear to the gym and gets gussied up for dinner. Gone are the days of flip-flops, baggy shorts and old t-shirts because you’ve got to look like you belong with her.
Thou shalt make jokes about her accent and southernisms.
She says “Bless your heart” and “y’all.” She calls all sodas “Coke.” She adds syllables to some words and drops letters in others — and it’s adorable.
Thou shalt not tease her about the size of her purse.
It takes five minutes to find anything in the damn thing, but she also has everything in that giant bag. Remember this fact the next time you have a headache, stomachache, cut or runny nose.
Thou shalt get permission before buying a ring.
You must have a sit-down with her parents before asking for her hand in marriage. Plus, co-conspirators will come in handy for the obligatory over-the-top proposal plan.
Thou shalt understand she will find nowhere she loves like home.
She will travel the world with you, perhaps even move from the south for a while, but only if you promise to return. You can take the girl from the south, but you’ll never take southern from the girl.