Your Child’s Spouse

Posted on October 31, 2014


“The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.” Theodore Hesburgh

 “I want a girl, just like the girl that married dear old Dad
She was a pearl and the only girl that Daddy ever had,
A good old fashioned girl with heart so true,
One who loves nobody else but you,
I want a girl, just like the girl that married dear old Dad.”
  William Dillon

This is not a post about an oedipal complex.  The song reference is over 100 years old.  Freud was 55 at the time it was written and might have rested his case on this lyric.  That’s not what I want to talk about.

I want to talk about what it would be like if your child were to marry someone just like you.  One of my challenges to men in recovery is to treat their wives in the way they would want their son-in-law to treat their daughter.  If your daughter looks for those qualities in a partner that her father demonstrated in his relationship with her mother, is that a good thing or a bad thing?

So how do you want someone to treat your baby girl?  Let’s see.  At a minimum, sexual fidelity is probably on the list.  It probably would not be too cool if he is keeping secrets from her.  It would be a good thing if he protected her.  This is your baby girl we are talking about so he better not be verbally, emotionally, or in any other way abusive.  He should be patient, gentle, and kind; strong and supportive in times of difficulty and stress, right?  He should make her feel loved and valued.

How does she know this exists?  Has she seen it modeled in the house she grew up in?  If you are her standard of what to expect from a husband, how are you doing with that?

Ladies, what about your sons?  Has he seen an example of a woman who builds her husband up?  Are you able to bring up concerns without criticism?  Does your husband feel loved and valued by you?

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to model those traits in your marital relationship that you would want your child to look for in a mate.  If your immediate thought was that your partner is not doing that, you are missing the point.  You are not responsible nor can you control your partner; you are responsible for how you respond.  You also can’t change the past, but you can choose how you want things to be from here.  If there has been some dysfunction passed down through the generations in your family, let that legacy end with you.  If you need help getting past your past, get it.  You can do this.