A Letter to My Future Son-in-Law

14 Mar

woman_writingSo, this is apparently making the rounds.  I decided to write a response, in case my future son-in-law is out there writing letters (and in need of a good dose of reality).

I don’t know who you are yet. I don’t really care about the color of your eyes or skin. Maybe my daughter does, I don’t know. Maybe she’s like Marie Miller and has a specific set of physical characteristics already picked out for her future spouse. If she does, don’t be surprised or concerned if you don’t fit any of them.

There are a lot of things I don’t know about you, but there are a couple of things that I want you to know about her.

I quite agree with you that my daughter is beautiful. I have no doubt that you will notice it when you meet her. But she is so much more than that; a pretty face is the tip of the iceberg. She is also sharp, creative, gifted, and competent. She is determined, knows what she wants, and has more critical reasoning skills than a lot of adults I know. She will challenge your opinions and assumptions, and if you give her the choice between two options, she will immediately come up with a third. She will not be content to hang passively on your arm like a decoration; she will take her life by the horns, and at times you may feel like you’re along for the ride.

I sincerely hope that by the time we meet, you have developed enough maturity to talk about the female body without using words like “goodies.” Consider it a personal request from your future mother-in-law. Because, seriously…. Her body is not a package of Hostess cupcakes that she carries around in a basket, waiting to hand out to that one special guy.

As her mother, my hope is that she retains an appreciation for modesty. However, I want her to do so from within – out of the confidence that comes from being comfortable in herself and knowing that she doesn’t NEED to show off for attention or approval of someone else. Modesty born out of some quest to make her beau feel like a “lucky ducky” doesn’t seem all that different to me than immodesty born out of desire for attention.

Just like her mind, heart and soul cannot be acquired, neither can her body. You will not understand intimacy until you can fully come to terms with this. Since your instructions to her seem only to revolve around what she does with her body, I suspect you’re not there yet.

It’s not a dowry that you get for making a marriage vow, so don’t start worrying about her spending your money before you get it. It is part of her. And when she shares herself with you, she is not giving you an object to possess and feel ownership over, as though it can be separated from any other part of her. She is sharing her SELF, just as you are sharing your SELF, and together you will create something more than either of you can strive to be on your own. This is a holistic relationship, and the physical part of it cannot be carved out  and treated differently. (As a side note… the inherent value of a Lamborghini has very little to do with how often you see them. It has to do with where it comes from, how it’s built, and what’s running on the inside.)

I’m sorry to disappoint you, but my daughter is not a princess. This is a lesson she learns daily, because I will not do her the disservice of letting her believe otherwise. She has to work for what she gets and take responsibility for her own actions, just like everybody else. In fact, if you call her “princess,” she will probably just stare at you.

So, I guess we can throw out the “act like a princess” bit – which is good, because if you’re expecting her to wait around in some imaginary tower for you to come whisk her away, I think you’ve got another thing coming. She’s too smart and too headstrong for that kind of crap. I have no doubt that she will have a world of possibilities open to her when she leaves this house. If you would like to take her hand and join her on this journey, by all means do so – but know that it will be as a partner, not a savior. I don’t know who you imagine that you’ll be fighting in all these grandiose displays of valor, but know this:

She doesn’t need Prince Charming. She doesn’t need to be rescued, taken care of, or sheltered.

She needs love. She needs loyalty. She needs someone who keeps her mind and curiosity stimulated. She needs someone to make her laugh, and who isn’t afraid to laugh at himself. She needs someone who’s attentive enough to know when she needs a little extra help – and is willing to give it without expecting anything in return. She needs someone who can put his own ego away and apologize, or even admit defeat during a “discussion” from time to time. She needs someone who she can trust with her insecurities in a way she has never been able to trust another human being. She needs someone who will (lovingly) call her out when she’s being absurd. She needs someone who understands that true leadership doesn’t require being the boss. She needs someone she can admire. And she needs someone who brings her closer to God, as the secure and unbreakable relationship she shares with her spouse cultivates her desire for holiness.

As for your last point, I agree – she is beautifully and wonderfully made by the hands of a perfect Creator. He gave her attributes that she will be learning to develop (and in some cases, tame) over the next many years. Being her parent is not for the faint of heart, and I have no doubt that the same can be said about being her spouse.

I sincerely hope that you’re up for the challenge though, because I can tell you that she is so, so worth it.

~Your Future Mother-in-Law~


 
 
  1. Alaina Nickerson

    March 14, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    Amy! Fabulous letter. I’m so glad you shared it on Facebook. I love your writing and perspective. You’ve got a new fan of your blog.