Because sexual and relational values are better caught than taught, the absolute best gift you can give your daughter is to show her how to love her husband like crazy. How? By loving your husband like crazy.
I’ll never forget the night that my daughter bestowed upon me one of the best compliments she could have given. Fourteen at the time, Erin asked, “Mom, is it okay that I really, really, really want to have a husband and children someday?” I assured her that this desire is bound up in the heart of most every young woman, and that it was perfectly okay. Then she continued, “And Mom, I want a marriage just like you and Daddy have.” My heart did back flips for weeks afterward!
Sadly, of the teens I’ve polled informally over the past fifteen years, I’d say that over 90% of them say that they don’t want a marriage like their parents. Don’t let your child fall into that category. Show her what her heart longs for most. Give her hope that with a lot of effort and commitment, a happy, fulfilling marriage is definitely possible. Why? Because most likely, just like my daughter, she aspires to be a wife someday. In an Oakland Tribune article entitled Are Women Giving Up On Marriage?, Jeff Jacoby writes:
… young Americans look forward to being married: 70 percent of 12th-grade boys and 82 percent of 12-grade girls describe having a good marriage and family life as “extremely important” to them. Even higher percentages say they expect to marry1.
The ’60s, the sexual revolution, no-fault divorce, the rise of single motherhood – there is no question that marriage has been through a wringer. Yet our most important social institution remains a social ideal. Boys and girls still aspire to become husbands and wives.
And why shouldn’t they? In the book Case for Marriage: Why Married People are Happier, Healthier and Better Off Financially, Linda Waite and Maggie Gallagher clearly illustrate that married people live longer, are happier and wealthier, have more fulfilling sex lives, and raise better-adjusted children than single parents2. Do we want our daughters (and sons) to live longer? Be happier? Be wealthier? Have fulfilling sex lives? Raise well-adjusted children? Of course we do! And the best encouragement in that direction is to set a stellar example of what a happily married, sexually confident woman looks like.
So learn to overlook the petty differences that may exist between you and your husband. Commit yourself fully to making this marriage not just survive, but thrive! Accept him. Affirm him. Respect him. Revere him. Romance him. Serve him. Seduce him. Celebrate him. I know he’s not perfect, and neither are you, but two imperfect people can still create a very perfect love, and a perfect example of what a deliriously happy marriage looks like.
Jeff Jacoby, Are Women Giving Up on Marriage? Oakland Tribune, January 23, 2007. (ORIGINAL SOURCE QUOTED: Sam Roberts, 51% of Women Are Now Living Without Spouse. New York Times, January 16, 2007.)
Linda Waite and Maggie Gallagher, Case for Marriage: Why Married People are Happier, Healthier and Better Off Financially (New York: Doubleday, 2001)
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