This letter expresses a heartfelt message to my daughters: Marry “someone like your dad.”
The gift of a good dad is priceless. The gift of a great dad, even more so. My daughters are blessed beyond words to have the dad that God gave them, and I tell them this often.
As I speak into their hearts about what to consider in a future mate, I always start with “someone like your dad.” Of course, “like your dad” doesn’t necessarily mean his exact personality traits or physical features (although this would be fine). Rather, the things that I point to are issues of the heart. Character traits. Convictions. Demeanor. Things that really matter when the quality of one’s family life is measured.
Many of you will read this and immediately be able to see your dad, your husband, or someone you know in this list. There are many good dads out there. There are also many other traits not included in my list below that are hugely important. But on this Father’s Day, I want to share a few specific things that I tell my girls to look for if they want to one day find someone like their dad.
Someone Like Your Dad
1). He is nice. Plain and simple. We laugh about this adjective because it sounds so trite, but it really is on the short list of things that we appreciate about him. He is just plain nice. Pleasant. Agreeable. Enjoyable. Kind. In the grand scheme of things, I tell my girls that for a peaceful life, nice trumps most everything else. It certainly trumps cute–which can be far too important to many girls when considering possible suitors. Even though my husband is handsome, that really doesn’t add anything to our family satisfaction:-) Having a husband and dad who deals gently and graciously with us and others, does.
2). He is a Christ follower. “Going to church” is not the metric. Knowing Jesus, knowing the Word, and living out one’s faith is what matters. A man’s level of faith and commitment to it will determine the entire course of your life (if you choose to marry him). His level of faith will determine how he leads you. How he treats you. How you raise your children. How you spend your money. Everything. When choosing to “become one” with a man, you are choosing your husband and your future children’s father. If your faith is important to you, be certain that you know the depth of his faith also. Being unequally yoked is a hard road that you want to avoid if at all possible. Despite all the trials, your dad and I were always on the same page spiritually. Scripture was the ultimate authority; God’s way was the only way. Had we not been in unity on these points, we’d not be together today.
3). He is a hard worker. Providing for the needs of any size family is no easy matter. Your dad has worked long hours, traveled thousands of miles, and labored mentally, physically, and financially to make a good life for us. What matters is not the level of income, but the fact that he takes full responsibility for providing for our financial needs. He grew up spending summers doing hard work. Building a lawn business at 15. Buying a car. Putting himself through college. He learned early the value of hard work, and this has served him well throughout good times and bad. So don’t just look at athleticism or prowess in sports. A good old fashioned hard worker may end up being the cream that rises to the top.
4). He honors others. He was taught well by good parents, and he lives what he learned. He will take the farthest parking space at church (so that the visitors can be closer to the door). He will always tip well–regardless of the service. He is kind to everyone but especially the lowly, disadvantaged, or less fortunate. In my 26 years of knowing him, I have never seen him speak or treat anyone unkindly. He sees the good in everyone–sometimes to a fault–but just chooses to err on the side of mercy.
5). He is fun. Another simple and trite adjective, but it is so true. It has been a blessing to you girls more than you’ll know. When you were toddlers and I was worn out and ready to call it a day at 5:00 p.m., you never missed a beat. Your dad would swoop in from work, be the “fun dad,” and give you a great ending to your day (which would’ve been early bedtime if left up to frazzled mom). On the “big field trips” like Washington D.C., your dad stepped up to the plate. Why? Because he’s WAY more fun than Mama and truly loved making that event memorable for you all. Even today, he loves jumping in the middle of you and your friends and making sure everyone has a good time. It is always more fun when dad is around.
6). He loves his wife (as Christ loves the church). Your dad and I laugh but are completely serious when we tell others that our honeymoon was very short. Real life set in quickly and with it all sorts of issues that almost took us down. Had we both not been raised with a biblical view of marriage and divorce, we would not be together today. Because it was so hard, many other husbands would likely have thrown in the towel. But because your dad knew God’s will and His plan for marriage, he was committed to me in good times and in bad. I never feared that he would just walk out. That was not who he was. Because of that (and God’s grace), we now enjoy a wonderful marriage and a oneness that we never imagined. A man who takes the marriage covenant seriously and whose heart is fully devoted to Christ will be the only one able to do the hard work required to get to the good place of “old love.” I thank God daily for blessing me with that man. I pray every single day for your future husbands. If each of you is blessed with “someone like your dad,” my prayers will be answered.