From the moment they are conceived we as parents have so much hope for them.
We hope for a smooth birth, on-target developmental milestones, a childhood of sweet memories, a solid education, a relationship with Christ, a circle of loving folks who care about them… people who have their best interests who pray for and help guide them to adulthood.
Then one day they meet a man…
and they get engaged to soon marry.
We, along with our daughter, may fall into the woozy trap of pre-wedding bliss… becoming wrapped up in the dizzying spin of wedding plans… bridal registry, gifts, dresses, color schemes, venues, cakes and vows… we become all-consumed with helping to choose the right invites, the most flattering photographer and the best honeymoon destination.
As parents we are there, side by side… helping, guiding and giving input, albeit perhaps not always wanted… we are fluttering about, worrying about details that perhaps are not really truly important at the end of the day but that seem so then.
But in all those moments… in all those whirlwind days of shopping, of ohhh's and awe's… there were without a doubt a moment or two that brought tears to your eyes… a moment or two that pulled your heartstrings… that made you think to yourself: I want to freeze time; this moment with her.
And then, it's gone. Just like that.
But there is one moment as a parent you really need to have with your daughter.
Before you proceed to walk her down the aisle on that save the date…
Before you clasp her sweet hand in yours and lean in to whisper "I love you"…
Before you nod to the groom and peck her blushed cheek as you give her away…
Please take a moment… take one moment to tell your daughter this:
"You're always welcome back home."
Granted, you may like the man she's marrying… you may steadfastly believe that she's about to become one with an honorable, kind, trustworthy and faithful man. You may hold him in high esteem and already consider him to be like a son to you. You may have already seen him handle difficulties with your daughter with grace, understanding and love. You may have already seen him as a mixture of strength and sweetness when your daughter has admittedly been less than lovely. You may have already witnessed his ability to admit he was wrong in a humble manner. You may have complete faith that this couple is fully capable of putting Christ first and keeping their covenant sacred above all other relationships. You may with complete certainty believe he loves her without a doubt… with his whole heart and would without question lay down his own life in any situation for your daughter.
BUT… WHAT IF YOU'RE WRONG?
What if he's not who you think he is?
What if he's not truly who he's portrayed himself as?
What if he is not anything like what you believe him to be?
All fathers… all parents need to have an all important conversation with their daughter when they marry… that in the event this man is not who he has claimed to be… that if indeed this man turns out to be a walking nightmare… if his mask falls bit by bit after the wedding day… or even years down the road… she needs to be told in no uncertain words she is always welcome back home.
She needs to be told she does not have to take abuse.
She needs to be told she doesn't have to "suck it up and keep trying."
She needs to be told she doesn't have to worry you won't want her back.
She needs to be told that cheating doesn't have to be
"tolerated" and swept under the rug.
She needs to be told she doesn't have to be concerned with such frivolous things like how she and two children would merge back into your home…
even if only for an interim because they are ALWAYS welcome.
She needs to be told that you will not be angry with her.
She needs to be told "It will be okay and we will figure it out."
She needs to be told that you will be there for her. Always. Any time day or night.
She needs to be told that it is okay to say "I made a mistake. I'm coming home."
One day you will "give away" your little girl… you will hand over your leadership, your protection, your financial providing... to her soon to be husband… entrusting he will step up to the plate and handle his responsibilities well.
Hopefully as your daughter's primary male role model, as her father, you have taught her that ultimately she is God's daughter; that she is worthy of being loved and loved well… that she is loved by Christ who died for her on the cross… that she has a Savior who adores her and in turn she has sought a man who reflects love.
But if for whatever reason her happily ever after ends up becoming the worst nightmare ever…
Let her know she is always welcome back home.
© gps-gracepowerstrength.blogspot.com ~ 2015
5 Tips For Father's:
1. It's so important that fathers have developed an intentional disciple-type relationship with whom their daughter is planning to marry. You have an awesome opportunity to help guide this man spiritually and model being a good husband for him through your own actions.
2. Don't wait for your daughter's boyfriend to come to you asking for her hand in marriage… be proactive. Ask him what his intentions are; show him you take an active role in her life, not a passive one.
3. Today, we have so many jokes (at least in the South) about dad's being trigger happy regarding their daughters and whom their dating. But the truth is… above all father's need to have discernment; is the guy she's dating a genuinely good guy at heart, a believer, just spiritually still immature? There's a difference between that guy and a sociopath… it's essential for you to figure out which one he is.
4. Being honest with him in your conversations helps him see how you've grown in your role as husband and father. Admit to any stumbles you've had along the way and how your perspective has changed… being an emotionally and spiritually healthy man doesn't equate to never admitting faults.
5. Set expectations for how you believe she should be treated. Let him know in no uncertain terms that abuse at any time, in any way, shape, or form is not to be accepted… and that no matter how much you like someone she marries… if that happens your door is wide open for her to return at any time.