Dear Daughter: Don’t Marry For “Happily Ever After”—Marry For This

Dear daughter, marry the guy who loves you so much, that he hurts to see you hurt. Marry the man you can suffer with.

dear daughter marry
Dear Daughter,

When we talk about marriage, we use phrases like, “happily ever after,” but life isn’t always happy. There are plenty of times characterized by sunshine and still, clear waters. And daughter, as your mother, I wish these times would follow you all of your days. But the truth is, is that no one leaves this earth without having to cross turbulent seas. When dating, when considering marriage, I want you to choose someone who makes your happy times even more so, but I also hope you’ll think about who you can suffer with.

Your father and I had a quick and pretty magical dating life. I knew he was the one in the middle of the ’07 blackout game versus Auburn. His joy was contagious that night.  He told me days earlier that he could make me happier than my long-time boyfriend, I realized that night he was right. I could tell my life would be filled with more laughter with him in it.

But there were other things about your dad that I saw in him before that night. He was gentle, he’d go out of his way to make others feel important, he was positive, also serious and incredibly caring. I could tell he was the kind of person who did something with his whole heart. And he chose me, he adored me.

I didn’t think about going through bad times with your dad when we were dating, but his qualities and his devotion to me, made it so I knew that he would do anything for me and in turn I for him. He would put me above himself and I for him. He would fight to see my dreams come true and I for him.

I’m going to say something that isn’t popular-yes, marriage is absolutely about the work you put into it, but it’s also about finding the right person for you. Don’t settle. Don’t settle for someone who is comfortable. Take healthy risks in love. Choosing your father was the most dangerous decision of my life. I left the one I knew, for someone who would love me the way I needed to be loved.

Today, your dad and I have been married for eight years. We’ll be celebrating our eighth wedding anniversary at the bedside of your brother who in an intensive care unit.

When I cascaded down a grand staircase in my lace wedding dress eight years ago, I didn’t know how many trials would greet us in our first few years together. I didn’t know building a family could be so hard. But I did know that because of the love we had for each other, we would make it through anything.

Dear daughter, marry the guy who loves you so much, that he hurts to see you hurt. Marry the guy who will hold your hand, with tears in his eyes when he sees you in pain.

Marry the man who will care about your happiness more than his own and in return you will feel the same. It won’t always be easy, no matter how compatible you are or how deep your love is. But marrying the right person will make life easier when inevitable tough times come your way and will make your life even more enjoyable in the good times.

I love your father above anyone and above anything else. I love looking back at our happiest and most care-free times. But I also enjoy remembering how he has loved me through indescribably hard times.

I’ll never forget the tears in his eyes when he asked me to marry him or the laughter we shared as a poor newly wed couple trying to make our own fun, or how he looked at me in awe when I gave birth to you.

But I’ll also never forget how we took turns holding each other when we found out your brother had a genetic syndrome that we never saw being a part of our story. Or how he took care of me after we had a miscarriage, even though he was in just as much pain. Or how he held my hand as doctors performed surgery on me so I could bring your other brother into this world- both of us tried not to cry for each other’s sake.

Dear daughter, my point is this: find someone who loves you so completely, who you love equally as much, so that when bad times come, you can hold each other together when it feels as if everything else is falling apart.

Choose wisely, my love.

To Andy,
My love, I thank God every day for you. I’m not even upset we are in the NICU on our anniversary. The way you advocate for our son is inspiring and makes me love you even more. I love doing life with you, even when life is incredibly hard. 

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This article originally appeared at News Anchor to Home MakerStart the beginning of our high-risk pregnancy journey, here

Jillian Benfield
Jillian Benfield is a former TV News Anchor/Reporter, turned military wife and work from home mom. When she was 20 weeks pregnant with her second child, she learned her son had Down syndrome. Now she’s trying to figure out how to juggle a wonderfully sassy toddler and a baby with special needs. She writes at News Anchor To Homemaker.  Jillian’s work has been featured on ABC News, The TODAY Show and Yahoo News. Follow along with her parenting adventures on Facebook!

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