5 Things Having a Daughter Has Taught Me About Loving My Wife
“This is how God wants me to love His daughtermy wife.”
Having a daughterhas taughtme more about being a good husband than I ever thought possible. The idea is simple: What if I saw my wife through Gods eyes? How would I change how I treated her? Loved her? Cared for her? As you can imagine, seeing your spouse through Gods eyes changes everything. Everything.
Our Fierce Little Girl
Our daughter, Adelaide, (we call her Dela) is almost two; shes so much like her mother its shocking. Shes smart and opinionated. Shes inquisitive and tough. Sweet and beautiful inside and out.
We have this evening routine that sums up her personality perfectly: Just afterI change her diaper for the night and we put on her pajamas, she grabs my index fingers with her little hands and, with my help, she stands up tall onher changing table. Then Ill point to a nearby wall where theres a drawing of a sprightlylittle girl in a cape and a mask.
What do we say, baby girl? I ask.She perks up as Istart the saying, And though she be but little
She is FIERCE!she exclaims.
She always says her part with a slight growl in her voice and both arms flexed upward. Its so stinkin cute I can barely stand it!
I love being her dad, no doubt about it. I figured I would
What I didnt anticipate, however, is how much Id learn about being a loving husband by raising a little girl.
I cant help but wonder what kind of man my little girlwill marry. I hope he loves her the right wayGods way. I hope hes an even better man than I am. I hope he cares for her heart well, speaks kindly to her and honors her with the utmostrespect. Thenthen Ill feel like shes in good hands.
As these hopes materialize Im lead to the next conclusion any marriage writer would reach: This is how God wants me to love His daughtermy wife.
WowWHATa paradigmshift. Here are a few ways that perspective has changed how I (try to) love my wife well:
5 Things Having a Daughter Has Taught Me About Loving My Wife
1: Speak to her kindly, patiently
Having a daughter: Dela is fierce but shes also very tender. If I react impatientlytowardher for accidentally knocking a cup off the table, she gets her feelings hurt. Its in those moments that I see just how soft her heart is, and its deeply convicting to me in how I talk to my wifewho is Gods little girl.
Being a husband:Most marital communication breaks downwhen one of us losespatienceand speaks unkindly.I can get impatient with Selena. Thats not her fault, its mine. Even if it is her fault, I still need to be patient. Thats how Id want a man to love my daughter, thats how I should love my bride. Thats how Christloves us.
2: Love her respectfully & purely
Having a daughter:One of the things I love about Dela is how innocent she is and how the whole world is new to her. Shes so bright-eyed about eachlittle thing she sees. I never want hersense of innocence to be tarnished, norher curiosity stifled. I want her to stay innocent andsweet, and I want people to treat her with similar innocence and sweetness. God wants that for us too, but we sin and things change. Innocence only happens aswere redeemed and renewed in Christ, by his grace alone. I hope my daughter is loved by a man governed by grace, who acts in love that is motivated by Christ.
Being a husband: How can I keep my love pure?Many waysbut the topicthat comes to mind regarding the innocence of my wife is sex. I must pursue my wife with integrity and fight to keep our marriage bed holy. This means that I not let popular culture (or pornography) dictate what sex is or what beauty looks like. It means I seek my wifessoulfirst, not just her body.And it means I communicate with her to build a sex life that is uniquely ours,ultimately enjoyable and pure.
3: Listen to her intently
Having a daughter:Dela has lots to say, most of it sounds like nonsense (for now). Ive realized that most of what she says hasmeaning,its just that I havent discovered it yet. If I stop what Im doing, kneel down and listen intentionally, I hear what shes saying with little confusion. Not only that, but we connect on a deeper level. Thats the kind of dialogue I want my daughter to have with her future husband: intentional and intimate.
Being a husband: Idefinitely dont meanto compare my wifes communication to that of a 2-year-old; theyre obviously very different! What I domean to say is that I dont always listen well. I get distracted. I need to stop whatever Im doing and listenintentionally to my wifes words and her heart. Only then can I engage with her emotionally.
4: Engage with her emotionally
Having a daughter:Whenour little girl speaks, she wants myattention but she also wants myinterest. Shes looking to engage with me emotionallywhether shes talking aboutMinnies Bowtique or the jeeefish (jellyfish) she saw off the dock. Engaging with her means taking genuine interest inwhat she says. Love is not passive, love is active. And as a father, one of the best ways I can actively love my daughter is by purposefullyengaging with her world. And Id want her husband to love her the same way when shes much (much) older.
Being a husband: AgainIm not comparing Selena to our toddler, but my hearts inclinations as a father and a husband. It sounds weird, but sometimes husbands (me included) can become passive about things that should really matter to them. God. Family. Where to live and why. What school to send the kids to. Family priorities (like dinner time, prayer and devotions). As a husband, I must not be passive or indifferent about the important things; I must engage in my role as a husband and lead lovingly in the process.
5: Cherish her deeply
Having a daughter: Last night I sat and read Dela a book; she had her little head resting againstmy cheek. I could smell her hair and hear her voice as she described each page. I never wanted the moment to end. I cherish her. I cherish every moment with her. Its because I valueher so much that I want to see her deeply treasured by her future husband. Most importantly, God cherishes hisdaughteras well asmy bride. He wants me to cherish her dearly as well.
Being a husband:In marriage its easy to grow too familiar with each other. This can lead to lazy communication and, at worst, passive indifference. Imust stir myaffections for my wife and remind myself of the treasure she is. I must remember that shes truly a gift from God, and that hes entrusted me with her heart.
Having a daughter has shown me a microscopic glimpse of what God must feel toward his daughtersnamely, my wife. Im sure Ive barely scratched the surface on what I have to learn.
Ill gladly take the lessons as they come, and Im thankful for the loving instruction of a Father whos patient with me.
About the Author: Ryan Frederick is a husband, outdoorsman, writer, reader and a guy desperately in need of Jesus. See more from Ryan on his blog Fierce Marriageor Facebook. Learn how to connect daily with Christ and your spouse with hisnew 30-day devotionalTwo as One.
**This post appeared originally on FierceMarriage.com.