An open letter to my nine year old daughter about relationships

It’s always been tough to navigate the waters of relationships. I think it’s even tougher today. This is an open letter to my nine year old daughter as I try to help her understand what to look for….

Dear Daughter,

I love you!

Are you sick of hearing me say that? I’m sorry if it gets annoying. Someday soon, you’ll probably even roll your eyes when I utter those words. That’s OK. I get it. You’ve got a weird dad. I’m still going to keep on saying it anyway. Do you know why I’m never going to stop? Because, I love you, silly, that’s why!

There’s also another reason I try to tell you those three little words as often as I can. Someday, you are going to decide to get into a relationship with a guy. You’ve still got a lot of time before that happens (maybe until you are 40 or so) but when that day comes, I want you to recognize what true love really looks like.

I know I’m not a perfect dad. You know that better than anyone else. Still, I think a lot about what it looks like to be an example of a loving man in your life.

Here is my biggest piece of advice and my prayer for you when I think about your future… Please don’t settle for anyone less than the best for your life. You deserve the best!

Remember that time I bought you your first rose? It was the day you were born, so I understand if your memory is a bit foggy. I wrote you a little note and let you know that although a lot of other guys would probably give you flowers, I was excited to be the first. Right from the start, I wanted you to recognize that a true man will treat you with respect and honor.

I love spending time with you too. Our daddy-daughter dates are times I will always remember. Going ice-skating with you a few weeks ago, was so much fun! We must have looked really funny while we were holding hands and trying not to fall on our bum bums. You inspired me by your determination to improve with every time around the ice. If any guy doesn’t appreciate your growth or doesn’t just love being with you, please drop that guy’s hand and get out of that rink as fast as you can!

 Every now and then, you hear me tell you, “You are beautiful just the way you are!” I should probably tell you that more often because I want you to know in your soul that there’s nothing you could do to make you more beautiful. You will always be beautiful. Magazines, T.V. and the movies will try to get you to think that you need to change your outward appearance to be acceptable. Please ignore those messages! If a guy tries to get you to believe that, he is a jerk (I use the word “jerk” because you are nine years old, if you were older, I would use something stronger).

Finally, you might think that I chose the nickname “Precious” for you by accident, but it was on purpose. I’ve called you that name since you were little because I want you to know that’s exactly what you are. Not only do I think that, your Heavenly Dad thinks that. If you find someone who stays connected with that same Dad in heaven, he will see you as a precious woman too. .

I guess what I am trying to say is…

“I love you!”

Find someone who never gets sick of telling you those words and who treats you like he means it. In the meantime, I promise to keep on trying to set the example in the best way I can.

Love,

Dad

Three Reasons You Shouldn’t Marry a Strong Woman

Few decisions will impact your life more than the choice of who you will marry.

Guys, maybe you are seriously considering marrying someone. You might already be engaged. Heck, maybe you are getting ready to walk down the aisle in a couple of hours. Let’s face it, that’s about the right timing for most guys to start reading blogs about marriage.

Even if the idea of marriage is a distant dream, akin to the Buffalo Bills hoisting the Lombardi trophy, let me give you some advice…think twice before you marry a strong woman!

When I use the word “strong” in this context, I’m not talking about deltoids, triceps or bench press ability. I’m talking about a woman with internal strength. A woman who is secure in who she is and who has an emotional resiliency that isn’t dependent upon you or any other human being.

There are many reasons why choosing to enter a life long relationship with a strong woman might not be a good idea. Here are three of them.

  1. She won’t enable your dysfunction

All of us find ways to cope with life. Sometimes these seem rather harmless. For instance, we might eat an extra bowl of ice cream every now and then or turn on Sports Center for a few minutes. Other ways of coping are much more harmful like retreating into our own space for prolonged amounts of time or treating people around us disrespectfully.

Well, if you aren’t willing to engage the dysfunctional ways you treat yourself and others PLEASE don’t marry a strong woman. She will lovingly, and sometimes not so lovingly point out your unhealthy ways of coping. It’s not comfortable! You might even get mad. If you want to stay the same for the rest of your life, find someone else.

  1. She won’t depend on YOU to feel good about herself

She might love spending time with you. She may like the different perspective you bring to her world. Ultimately though, she won’t NEED your approval to get through her day.

If you like to think of yourself as “The Center of the Universe” or “God’s gift to (fill in the blank)” you definitely want to stay away from a strong woman. You will find yourself reminded that the planets of our solar system don’t revolve around you. As a matter of fact, you aren’t even the center of her world! She gets her strength from a place much more consistent and profound than you will ever be.

  1. She will be committed to raising strong kids

Aside from being a husband, being a dad is the toughest job you will have in life. You can “clock in” and “clock out” of work but being a good dad takes constant intentionality.

A strong woman won’t accept a “slack off” father for her kids. She also won’t tolerate a man who belittles her children or tries to intimidate them with fear.

She is passionate about providing a healthy environment for her kids to grow and flourish into the people they were created to be.

If you don’t want to put effort into fatherhood or if you want to replicate the aforementioned dysfunction in your life, run away when you see a strong woman. Run away quickly!

A final thought…

This advice comes after over 17 years of marriage to one of the strongest women I know. She is beautiful on the inside and out. Walking through life with her has truly transformed the way I see the world. Neither of us is perfect (FAR from it!) but together we are becoming more of who God truly made us to be. If you don’t want that experience, think twice before you walk down the aisle. I’m learning it takes a strong man to be married to a strong woman.