Sunday, October 5, 2008

A Message to Boys Who Date My Daughter

I've been blessed. My oldest daughter postponed the boy thing longer than some do. The upside to that is the emotional roller coaster hasn't had quite as many stomach turning drops so far. The downside is that in a few months, she will be out on her own and I will be lucky (or not so much) if I am allowed to be witness to any more of it.

There are all kinds of books on marriage and relationships, but I don't know if there is anything that explains to a young man how to get and keep the attention of my girl. You see, she's special. She's been given some amazing gifts in her life, and such a treasure needs a special kind of guy. Most guys won't be able to deal with her special gifts, but the few who can will be blessed beyond belief.

Gift #1: She's a good friend to guys. She may be madly in love with you, but she's still going to need guy friends. You need to be one of them, and you need to be okay with her having other guy friends. Neither she nor I enjoy the company of other females all that much. We create enough drama all by ourselves, and having a bunch of other females in the mix makes things too irritating. Don't be jealous. Treat her well enough that you don't have to worry about being jealous. Because....

Gift #2: She's very loyal. If you choose to be exclusively hers, she will be yours and totally yours. It runs in the family. Her daddy and her uncles are extremely loyal to their spouses. I call them the golden retrievers. They are so good to their women. It's not a weird possessive sort of thing. It's a healthy, sweet, trusting, nurturing sort of thing. But even a golden retriever needs some attention. My girl doesn't require an extraordinary amount of attention, but she needs to be reminded that you care, and she needs to be reminded more than once a month. It doesn't take much: a text message, a phone call, a note on Facebook. The problem comes when she doesn't hear from you for several days. She gets nervous and thinks you've dropped her and didn't have the guts to tell her. Then she gets miserable, but she's still obligated to be loyal. Oh, and when she's miserable, the rest of us are miserable, too. Keep the misery to a minimun. Remind her often that you are still interested in her. If you like her, let her know. Don't set her free if you still want her. That causes lots of confusion and hard feelings when none were intended. Do what you need to do to let her know she is special to you.

Gift #3: She has a compassionate healing spirit. People are attracted to her because they need her healing qualities. She's gone through the trauma of death with several of her friends, both guys and girls. She has seen friends through the deaths of parents (three times), siblings (once), and grandparents (twice). She was 11 years old the first time she had the opportunity to support a close friend through such a trying time. She has an amazing ability to be there for them through all the weirdness they have to endure when a loved one dies, and she converses and supports them while they grieve. She doesn't get to choose whether it is a guy or a girl who needs her, so you have to have enough faith in your relationship with her to give her the space to do what she needs to do without being jealous.

Gift #4: She is fairly patient when it comes to guys. Some girls are very needy and in a hurry. They are boy crazy from an early age and desperately need someone to love them. Not my girl. She makes friends easily with guys. She appreciates a really awesome guy, but she isn't desperate. She is saving herself for the right one. She has a special gift that only one guy can be given. Most of her friends have already given their gift away to someone who may or may not be their life partner. Not my girl. She is holding on to the special gift a little longer, waiting for the one who will travel with her through life. I am trusting that she will find someone who has a similar special gift to share with her. It's not easy these days to hold on to that gift, but it is so worth it.

Gift #5: She is so amazingly smart and talented. No need to run off ALL the time with the guys. If you want to play football, she's not afraid to play. If you rope, she'll ask you to teach her how to rope. If you play in a band, she's got an amazing voice and will enjoy being a part of your hobbies. If you do something she can't do, she will be your fanclub and cheerleader standing on the sidelines. In return, show her that you value those things she enjoys. Know what her volleyball schedule is and call her after a game to see how they did. Know what her role is in the One Act Play and show up to a performance, or at least call before the performance to tell her "break a leg!"

Gift #6: She has amazing self confidence. It can be somewhat intimidating. We have raised her that she can do anything she sets her mind to do. She needs a young man who is equally confident. She doesn't need someone who is arrogant, but she needs you to be secure in yourself. She doesn't need someone who doesn't feel they are worthy of her. If she is giving you her time and attention, you are worthy. If that changes, she will let you know. She's straight up, so don't degrade yourself by saying she's too good for you. She will let you know if that's the case.

There are so many more gifts wrapped up in this amazing young woman. Her dad and I are so proud to be her parents. If you choose to be a part of her life, even for a short time, you will be forever changed. She will leave a part of herself with you that will help set the standard for the qualities you seek in the person with whom you eventually choose to spend your life. While you are a part of my girl's life, enjoy the ride, be the best man you can be, love her tenderly (but keep it clothed!), and should you decide she is the one and only girl for you, remember it is a lifetime commitment.

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