My oldest daughter is dating a good guy, and they’ve been dating long enough for him to know some of her foibles. Ally has her mother’s forgetfulness. I couldn’t tell you how many times Lisa has lost her wedding ring, or credit cards, or wallet, or forgotten her purse. It is a miracle of God that Lisa still has a ring to wear.
On one relatively early date with her boyfriend, Ally left her purse in a restaurant. That meant her boyfriend had to drive an hour (round trip) to retrieve it.
What I wanted to tell him is that if he stays with Ally, things like this will become a normal part of his life. I look at all the positive qualities my daughter brings into a relationship and have a father’s natural “nurturing” attitude toward her weaknesses, and think the positives far outweigh any small foibles. In the moment of frustration, however, it’s more difficult for a boyfriend (or husband) to look at it that way.
Men, viewing Lisa as God’s daughter has revolutionized my marriage. She was so young when we got married (19), but nineteen years is long enough for any person to bring in plenty of family and social baggage. Rather than expecting her to “get over it” now that we’re married and begin performing with robotic-like Christian perfection, I want to accept Lisa as a woman “in process.”
I’ve seen this apply when a woman comes into marriage having been sexually abused, betrayed, financially insecure or fighting food addictions. All of these are likely to have long-term implications for your marriage. Accept the fact that you married an imperfect and wounded woman. Acceptance, love and a nurturing attitude will bring her much further along much faster than continually reminding her of what she already knows is true: She has issues and problems and you resent her for it.
You married a wounded woman because every woman is wounded in her own way. You made a choice to accept those wounds when you accepted this woman. Rather than obsess over that choice, learn how to make the best of that choice by asking yourself, how would I want a son-in-law to treat one of my daughters who might have these same issues? That’s the same nurturing attitude you should adopt toward your wife.
This article originally appeared here.