Letter to my daughter about the man you will one day marry:
There is no shortage of opinions about finding your “happily ever after”. Books. Marriage seminars. Youth group campaigns for purity. Singles support groups about waiting for the right one. Online dating services. Romance novels. Chic Flicks. Premarital Counseling. Mentor programs. Some are useless or absurd, but you might find some useful nuggets along the way. And somewhere amidst the bombardment of information, my dear daughter, you’ll begin to formulate ideals for what the guy will be like that you’ll marry. A mental checklist starts to emerge. Some things on your list will be superficial….In my case, at 6’ 2”, it helped narrow the field to know I never wanted to date someone shorter than me.
Some might be common sense……agreed, don’t date a 30 year old who still lives at home with his parents.
And others might be strictly attraction based and superfluous…..I wanted to marry a California surfer dude – and I did.
And sandwiched in there between your expectations of him being sensitive, romantic and buff, you’ll probably include a desire that he be a man of integrity, that he love the Lord and a hope that he be an awesome guitarist who loves to lead praise and worship.
It cant be helped. Ideals and attraction are human. And finding that perfect guy who adores you just might happen.
But there is one crucial piece of a budding romances based on these “lists” that make them destine for failure. If they’re lucky, the facade falls apart before they say I do. But often, it unravels after the vows are said and real life takes over. And here it is…..in a relationship Dear Daughter, don’t settle for someone who loves YOU more than he loves the Lord!!
We are all star-struck by the iconic figures on the screen who coin phrases like “You make me the man I want to be”. We swoon when hear Jerry MaGuire passionately whisper “You complete me” and when we are told “Im a better person when Im with you”, our heart swells and of course we want to believe that. But aside from the well intending romantic notions, if you look deeper, you see these statements are selfish and manipulative and dangerous.
We want to believe we are all that to our men. We’re flattered…..and naive to believe them.
Because dear one, we as women were never designed to meet the needs of our husbands in that way. We cant change them. We cant make them into something other than what they are now. They may feel empowered by the love and adoration of a wonderful girl, but true transformation doesn’t take place based on this. And even if your guy loves, adores you, treats you well, puts you first, sacrifices for you, but isn’t more passionate about God than he is about you, then your marriage is headed for unnecessary heart ache.
Because, daughter of mine, the things about you that are so wildly attractive and fetching and that help him rise to the occasion right now, might not always come so easily to you. You are not perfect and you will act at times in unlovable ways. You will inadvertently hurt each other. And life someday will weigh heavily on your now slender shoulders. There will be seasons that physical attraction will fizzle out at times. Stretch marks, sleep deprivation and hormones will wreak havoc. Stress of raising little ones will take a toll. Strain of work and supporting a family will be all consuming. And sin and selfishness will rear their ugly heads at times for both of you!
If your man loves you first and foremost above all else, I can guarantee you there will be cracks in the foundation of your commitment, because you will fail. You will fail dear girl!! If his commitment is to you alone in marriage, its a temptation to back out when you dont keep up your end of the bargain. And the same is said of him, when you see him struggle with temptation or fail to defend you or speak harshly or respond insensitively, you’ll doubt his love and will question his commitment and insecurities will chip away at your heart. But……but when a marriage commitment is made first to God, and secondly to eachother, that is an unshakable foundation!
Your daddy and I will celebrate 13 years of marriage this week.
And by the time you read this one day, we will have many more years as husband and wife (many….many…..many more years before you are allowed to even think about marriage) 🙂
You have seen our marriage up close and personal. Its not perfect, but its perfecting. We fight. We make up. We work hard on differences and clashes in our personalities that don’t always contribute to a harmonious relationship. We have learned to forgive quicker and extend grace more generously. But, I don’t doubt our marriage will stand the test of time, because of the one thing I saw in your daddy from the early days of our blossoming romance – He loved the Lord. Passionately.
And he seeks God with his whole heart. He spends time listening. And he has a teachable sprit. When he’s hardheaded and resistant to me, God still gets through. And when Im that “drippy faucet” nagging wife, daddy might tune me out, but he is listening to the still small voice. (In fact, its when I shut up that he can hear God a lot more clearly sometimes!)
Ill be honest about 2 things;
1) I am genuinely more joyful, fulfilled and hopeful in my marriage today after sharing a bed with this man for 4,745 nights than I was on our honeymoon.
2) There were times in our 13 years together that I would have lost hope of our marriage working if I didn’t know beyond the shadow of a doubt that your daddy loved the Lord more than he loved me. That truth gives me incomparable assurance and security.
And here is the key….
The assurance that my husband loved the Lord and was hearing from the Lord has saved me from a despair on more than one occasions. Because I knew God would change him….I didn’t have to change him. And that kept me from loosing hope. Because my faith in God was bigger than my faith in your daddy. And because I knew that he was listening and responding to Him and that in Gods timing, He makes all things beautiful.
So honey, be content with second place in his heart. Encourage him to pursue a love affair with the Lord which will reap the greatest benefits of intimacy and growth in your marriage. It is here that “happily ever after” begins.