Funny thing about having a teenage daughter…I am reminded what it was like to be a teenage girl on a near-daily basis with all the hopes, dreams, fears, wonders and insecurities that brings. The Princess is a curious girl, not afraid at all to ask questions. We have quite a bit of time in the car together driving to and from the dance studio, time without an audience of boys. She definitely takes advantage of that time.
She began a conversation the other day about marriage, and how you might know a man is the “right man.” Someone had apparently told her you’ll know he’s the right one when you’re with him in a room full of people but it feels like it’s just the two of you. Ah the romance of that, right? There would likely be a lot less divorce if it were that simple. And I told her. So she asked me how I knew Spouse was the right one for me.
I had the blessing of being a bit older when I met my husband. I’d had time to figure out who I was, what I wanted, what I thought I needed. I’d had the gift of a few relationships and a multitude of male friends, good and bad, to help me realize my priorities as far as character traits in a spouse. I literally had a list of what I wanted in the man I would marry, a list which was created before I met my husband. I told her something my mother told me when I was a teenage girl. I told her from here forward, for every man she dates or has friendships with, write down the quality she loves the most, and the quality she likes the least about him. At some point, she will see a trend, build a picture of the man for her. It’s not a magic formula by any means, but it makes sense, doesn’t it?
We talked about marriage. I told her it isn’t anything like the love songs, the movies, or the books she likes so much. It isn’t about that gushy, mushy feeling. That feeling of being in love comes and goes over the course of time. I honestly explained there are days I don’t like her dad all that well. There are days he doesn’t like me too much either. But we make a decision every day that this is where we want to be, who we want to be with. I may not be “in love” with him every day, but I love him every day. Don’t you love that feeling when your kid looks at you like you discovered the most amazing thing ever?
I don’t proclaim to have all the answers regarding marriage and relationships. I’ve had my share of failures. You do your best when you’re trying to guide your kids. I just don’t want her to think marriage is some fairy tale or love song, like there’s some magical guy out there, with whom fireworks will literally light up the sky when she meets him. I feel privileged to watch this journey of hers.