Written by Doctor G

Want to pick your child’s spouse?

My husband and I have a wedding anniversary coming up. Eleven. I’ve been thinking, in a back-burner kind of way, about what to get him.

What’s this doing on a parenting blog you ask? Has this devolved (after only 11 days) into a musings and thoughts diary? No. Not yet, anyway. Every nice thing I do (or don’t) for my husband, every time we have an emotionally charged conversation near our boys, I know that I am shaping what they think of marriage.

Dads – wish you could handpick the guy your (straight) daughter will marry? You can! Odds are very high that she will pick the guy that treats her exactly the way you treat her mother. No matter what he looks like, what work he does, where he comes from, eventually she will find herself in a relationship and the behavior will match what she associates with marriage. Ahhh, she will say to herself, I’ve found it. The one!

This idea – that my sons will look, at least subconsciously, for a life partner that treats them the way I treat their father – stops me in my tracks. This is enough to convince me that nagging, screaming and guilting are not the examples of “wife” I want them to internalize.

I got lucky. My husband is awesome. It is often easy to treat him well. The truth that most of us know, though, is that how we treat our partner often has more to do with the day. Who spilled what, argued when, demanded how, all before our partner even gets home that day. Nagging or yelling at or demanding of someone else is so appealing!

Back to our anniversary. Hmmmm. Hedgehog? No, have to stop asking the boys for ideas.

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