Saturday Sentiment: A Letter To My Daughters' Future Husbands

Lately, I've been loving Meghan Trainor music. Not that this is particularly new, but my musical tastes tend to cycle quite a lot; one day I'll be keeping time with Marshall Mathers, and the next I might be crooning along with Carrie Underwood. You just never know.

These days, it's a lot of Meghan Trainor - she has the right amount of sass to appeal to the side of me that's empowered and undaunted, the right amount of vulnerability to appeal to the girl in me who just wants to be chosen and treasured and loved, the right amount of jazz to get me booty-shaking around the house, dancing to the music of my own spirit. When I'm feeling challenged and/or indignant, I love "Lips Are Movin'" and "No Good For You." When I'm strong and confident, I love "NO" and "All About That Bass." But when I'm most me ... when I'm feeling good about me in a way that's so rare and yet so incredible, I love "I Love Me" and "Me Too."

I love LOVE LOVE the reminder of worth that lies behind "Better," and I love both the message and the boundaries behind the upbeat "Title." When I'm in my feelings, "Like I'm Gonna Lose You" never ever fails to get me feeling all kinds of romantic. But recently, I've been hearing a lot of "Dear Future Husband."

Which got me thinking.

Certain recent ... complications ... in my personal life have gotten my mind turning things over, examining the little pebbles that make up the baggage of my soul. And as I've picked up each little pebble and turned it carefully over in my mind, remembering where it came from and how I ended up carrying it, I've been facing the differences between the things I most sorely miss about being in a relationship ... and the things that make me happy about my current single status.

As I examine and explore the possibility of that single status perhaps not being quite so permanent as I've come to imagine, I've also been thinking about how my experiences - and my relational views based on those experiences - will impact the choices my daughters will someday make as women.

When they begin to choose the boys and men who help to form them as women in ways that even I can't.

I pray for my sons-in-law (son-in-laws?) often already, just like I pray for my daughters - but while I'm praying that my daughters will be good people and good girls, strong influences on their friends and accomplished young women in their studies, I'm also already praying for the men my daughters will grow up to marry.

They're thirteen and eight right now, so when they think about marriage in their futures, they think about it in the way that mostly-sheltered little girls think of marriage - but me? I've been married, and I've been divorced. I've been chosen, and I've been left behind. I've been loved - and I've seen the man who once loved me look at me with the most impossible disdain ... when he bothered to look at me at all.

As their mother, a letter to their future husbands would be easy to write:
"Hey, dude. You see that girl right there? She's my whole world, the very reason the sun rises and falls. She's bone of my bone, and blood of my blood. So let's just clear up some ground rules, alright? One, you keep your hands gentle and your dick to yourself. Two, you keep your words kind, and refrain from playing with her heart and emotions. Three, she is to be taken care of, and you are to serve as a leader she can trust and believe in. Because if you hurt her or let her down, I will make you wish you had never been born. "
Easy enough, right? Except ... it doesn't work that way. So instead, I'll pray for them:
"God, I don't know the future. I don't know Your plans. And while this terrifies my humanity, the divine inside my heart believes in Your purpose for my life - and the lives of the children You entrust to me. Help me to guide them, to teach them, and not to leave them quite as scarred as I have been left - help me to be the upgraded version of my own parents, giving my children my best in a way that lifts them above the place I came from and sets them on a path to places I was never meant to reach. And as I am working each day to walk with my children, let their husbands spend each day walking in the hands of parents who love You. You know them already - from their eyes to their hair to their hearts - because You created them with as much purpose as that with which You molded my girls."
And with that prayer in mind, the letter to my daughters' future husbands changes just a little:
"Listen, son. Let's get just one thing straight here. That girl you're anxious to get your hands on was raised by a mama bear with a protective streak a mile wide and a temper fuse barely a centimeter long. She's got a mama who will look at you with suspicion, a mama who will inspect her for possible damage at every given opportunity, a mama who will inscribe your name on every weight found wrapped upon that girl's shoulders. 
But it won't be intentional, and I want you to know in advance that I'm sorry. I'll do my best to make sure I hold my perspective on life, on love, and on you - I'll do my best to remember that you're only human too, and that while I have loved her since before she was even born, our journey together has not always been easy. And her journey with you will not be easy either. I'll work to remember that that's not always your fault - and also to remember that even when it is your fault, it still mostly isn't my business.
That being said, I've been praying for you for almost as long as you've been alive, and I believe God has a reason for you. I promise to keep praying for you, not only for my daughter's sake and for the sake of her happiness and safety with you, but for your own sake as a man. Be encouraged, because while this girl is not always easy to love, she is always worth the effort. But as her mother, I would ask a favor of you - I hope it isn't too forward or too much to ask. 
One, don't stop dating her once your married. Remember those moments when everything was new? When you couldn't forget the smell of her perfume and nothing lit up your world like laughter in her eyes? Hold onto that, and don't lose sight of her beauty when she's being ugly. Two, stay impressed with her. You may not share all of her interests and passions - and you aren't meant to. But love her for the things she loves, for her enthusiasm, for the excitement that turns on more than just her body. Love the things she loves through her eyes, for the sake of the joy on her face; I promise she will have been taught to do the same for you. Three, be a leader worthy of her respect - not because I've raised her to be submissive, but because if you can earn and hold her respect while gifting her with your respectful consideration, she will be thankful for your presence as a strong hand in her life. 
Do your best to leave a mark on her heart as a lover, but never forget how important it is to keep one foot in her 'friend zone' - because this is truly where the richness of her spirit lies. Don't just hear her speak; take the time to listen to what she's saying. And as often as possible, make sure you have something to say back. Spoil her, please - but not only with physical treasures and mementos of your time in her life. These things are passing and won't be enough for either of you, so instead ... as my girl becomes your woman, see that you spoil her with beautiful and happy memories of your past together, and give her the kind of security that makes her believe in a future my past made her doubt was possible. 
Because boy? If you mess up my daughter ... well, let's just say she's her mama's girl, and we'll hope for your sake that you never need to see what that means."
Lucky for all of us, my girls are a long way from marriage huh? I guess I still have mellowing to do after all ...

Today's "Featured Favorite Product" is the dress the girls are both wearing in the photo in the post above - the same Wennikids Mommy and Me Chevron Maxi dress the three of us wore together when we had portraits taken together this summer for the first time in ... well, pretty much ever. We loved that this dress came in a size range that was perfect for all three of us, from Eden skinny little kid dress to Joey's growing teen dress to my own curvy plus size - and we've all loved how comfy these dresses are, too!
We've worn our dresses several times since, in every combination of separate and together, both on purpose and by total accident, and despite their super-inexpensive price tag (under $15 USD!) they've handled the wear beautifully - so if you've got a young daughter, I'd encourage you to pick up a pair of these to surprise your little one with. It's sure to be a thrill for her, and these moments you'll spend together are fleeting. Enjoy them while they last.

Quick Disclaimer: Since I am using affiliate links in this post, remember that if you choose to click product links on my site and end up purchasing through them, I will receive a (very) small commission for referring you. Rest assured that this is at no extra cost to you, but my family and I appreciate your support. (If you'd like to see a list of other companies I'm currently working with on a more regular basis, click here.)
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  1. This is beautiful. As the father of a 2 year old daughter, I have also started to wonder what kind of relationship I'll have with the people she brings into her life. The letter you write to the future husbands is great, and carries a valuable message even for other men who read it. It's a powerful reminder that all our wives are someone's daughter, and that they have these powerful desires and wishes for their precious child. Thanks so much for sharing this!

    1. Thank you for your comment! It did occur to me that this post could be read not only by young men going into relationships, but also by men already in them - and even by women who aren't sure what they want or what they're willing to settle for. Good luck with your daughter too, and thanks for reading!

  2. A beautiful letter, and someday it will be treasured by your daughters...and hopefully their husbands too!

  3. Beautiful post! I have three sons and I have prayed since they were little for their wives and for my sons to be good husbands and fathers. It's so important to think about these things when they're young.

    1. I think so too - and the weird thing is that I've had people think I'm going a bit overboard in praying for my daughters' husbands. But the way I see it, those men exist already, and they're being raised somewhere already by parents (or grandparents or foster parents or whoever) who are teaching them every day in ways they may not even recognize, how to grow up and treat MY daughters. Why would I not pray for them??


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