Last Friday our daughter went to her first school dance, although it was more like a supervised party then anything else. Unfortunately, that didn’t keep the boys from “stalking” her, as she put it. One of the boys in particular, a lad who sits at her table during lunch, shadowed her the entire night. And when that didn’t work, he started sending out reinforcements. First, he had a friend approach our daughter on his behalf. Eventually, he got creative and sought the help of a female. Our daughter was a bit shocked to find some strange girl pulling on her arms, trying to get her to dance with a boy she’d never really met.
It was very comical and reassuring to hear her talk about it later that night. My husband was at a retreat, so it was just her and I. I cherish those just-the-girls-nights. As usual, we snuggled on the master bed, books in hand, soft music playing in the background. Although the books are more ice-breakers or conversation starters than anything else. Try asking a teenager to “talk”. Not gonna happen. Ask them if they’d like to bring their book and join you while you read yours and you’ve actually got a shot. There’s something about getting two women in one room. It isn’t long before the jaws start flapping and giggles fill the air.
So here we were nestled against a mountain of pillows and my daughter starts to talk about the dance. And this boy.
“He kind of freaked me out. I mean, I really don’t know him.”
“How does he know you? Have you ever seen him before?”
“Yeah, he sits at our table during lunch. But I’ve never talked to him or anything. I don’t even know his name. And I mean, seriously, if he doesn’t know me, that means he only likes me for my looks. That’s really not the kind of person I’d like to marry.”
(Woah! Slow down. Oh, yeah, she’s just processing. Deep breath. Deep breath. Listen, mom. Just close your mouth and listen.)
Then she went on to tell me about her husbandly requirements. Meeting a man who truly knew her, and loved her for her, was top on her list. And as I listened to her plot out her future, I must admit, I was surprised. I mean, we’ve talked about marriage, and how God has a husband planned just for her, but I’ve never given her a list of requirements. Nor have I ever thought to ask her to do the same. And yet, as she watched her Daddy shower me with love, she began to form a list.
Last Christmas my husband and daughter emerged from the back bedroom all giggly and told me they were going to be gone for a few hours. But they couldn’t tell me what they were doing or where they were going. Because my husband does this every birthday, Christmas, Mother’s Day or Anniversary, I knew they were gonna do some Daddy-daughter shopping. My daughter could hardly contain herself. It was like she and Daddy had this amazing secret. And they were about to make a day of it. Cruising the malls, jabbering about what Mommy would like best, buying it together.
It’s been a wonderful time of bonding for the two of them and an incredible teaching moment. Every time my husband involves our daughter in these things, he’s raising the bar, one that only God’s best will be able to reach. And it’s accomplished three things. First, it’s negated the boy-crazy need for affection I see in so many young ladies today. Second, it’s helped our daughter see qualities she’d like in a future husband. Third, it’s bonded the three of our hearts together and created an atmosphere of love in our home.
Wives, do you have daughters? Why not include them as you bless your husbands? Got sons? Show them what a godly wife looks like so that they will seek a godly woman for themselves.
Daddies, treat your wife like a queen and live out loud. You’ll raise a princess and a knight in shining armor in the process.
Here are some things we have done:
1) One father’s day, my daughter and I planned a “blessing basket”. We talked about all the qualities my husband had, and thought up items to represent them. For example, my husband is flexible, so we placed a rubber band in the basket. He’s forgiving, so we found a fun eraser. He can fix anything, just like duck tape, so we included a roll of tape. It was a blast! And it spoke volumes to my husband and also trained my daughter to look for the positive and actively bless her future spouse.
2) When we’re at the grocery store, we’ll talk about making a special meal for Daddy. Basically, I make a point to verbalize what’s in my head and invite my daughter to participate in each aspect, from the shopping to the cooking. (Last week, she initiated the conversation and planned and cooked her own meal, beaming with pride when Daddy took his first bite.)
3) We made a daily encouragement basket. Again, this was a very special time for her and I. My husband loves smarties, so we bought a package and tied a printed verse or word of encouragement to each one, with the instructions that he could only eat one a day. He brought his basket to work. Each time he ate a candy, he’d read the paper attached and get a mental hug. It also ended up being a witnessing tool because whoever entered his office went candy fishing.
Do you have any ideas to share? What messages is your behavior sending your children? Always remember, attitudes are more caught then taught and behaviors are learned. How you relate to your spouse today could help divorce proof your child later.