Growing up, I was my daddy’s “little girl”—his one and only. I have two older brothers and my dad loves to tell me how happy he was when the doctor told him, “it’s a girl!” You see, since I’m so old that ultrasounds weren’t a thing when I was born, my gender was a complete surprise. I definitely grew up knowing I was cherished, and as I reached dating age, my dad, like most dads of daughters, was undoubtedly nervous, but thank the Lord above and my parents for instilling me with values, I made really good choices when it came to who to date and eventually, who I married.
But the thing is, I had a really great example of how I should be loved, because my dad loved (and still loves) my mom so very well.
This sentiment—that dads of daughters should show them how a woman should be treated in a relationship by example—is the subject of a recent Facebook post I came across by Nicole Merritt of Jthreenme. She says it much better than I could, and her words resonated with me, making me once again thankful for the example my dad set for me and for the example I see my husband setting for my daughter.
“To all of the men with daughters:
The mere thought of your little girl having a “boyfriend” must make you crazy; it does me, and I am just her mother.
That little 6 lb 9 oz angelic princess you brought home seven years ago, will probably have a “crush” within the next couple of years, and a boyfriend just a few years after that. That is terrifying.
The good news, though, is that you are able to show her all that she deserves from a man.
Relationships and marriages are hard, and that is a truth that your daughter will learn one day. They are challenging for all people, including the kindhearted and well-intentioned.
The best (and probably the hardest) thing that you can do for your daughter is to model for her how a woman should be treated.
YOU NEED TO LOVE YOUR WIFE AS YOU WANT YOUR DAUGHTER TO BE LOVED.
Your young daughter is impressionable, and unfortunately, she is going to learn from the movies, television shows, magazines, social media, and her friends, what love looks and sounds like — or so she’ll think.
More likely, however, is that what she will be “picking up” outside of her home will be so far from “real” and “right” love.
You, and only you, can combat this — by treating her mother well and loving her mother hard.
It all starts at home — with you and your wife.
Today and all days, respect your wife.
Hold her hand at every chance you get and kiss her a lot.
Smile at her.
Make eye contact.
When she is talking, listen intently.
Open doors for her.
Build up her confidence.
Praise her for her accomplishments.
Encourage her when she is in need of it.
Empathize with her when she seeks support.
Go on adventures with her.
Tell her she is beautiful, inside and out, and tell her often.
Your daughter more than loves her mother; she is enthralled with her. The mother-daughter connection is so intertwined, that mothers and their daughters, well, they tend to live a parallel life. And, your understanding of this will help you to come to this realization:
That your relationship with your wife is about so much more than just you and her.
The greatest gift — behind his time and attention — that a father can give to his daughter, is loving her mother.”
I truly, truly believe what Merritt says here is 100 percent correct. Not every time, but the majority of the time, a woman will gravitate toward a man who is similar to her father in many ways. I know I certainly did (and sometimes it freaks me out a little bit). So, Dads of daughters: are you worried about what kind of man your precious girl will end up with? Spend time with her, but also spend time loving on your wife in a practical and visible way. This is one area where actions not only speak louder than words, they have an impact on your children and your children’s children.
Parents, work on your marriage. Be intentional and be selfless. Show your children that true love is about giving, not taking. Your sons AND daughters will be all the better for it.
Thanks, Nicole, for all your wise words. For more from Nicole, you can follow Jthreenme on Facebook.