I overheard a conversation between my 13- and 19-year-old daughters the other day. My younger daughter said, “I just want to marry someone like dad.”
Nothing has warmed my heart quite as much as hearing those words. I want my daughters to find someone like their dad, too. I want them to find a partner who smiles every time he sees her even after 28 years together. A partner who tells her she’s beautiful every day. I want her to marry her biggest supporter and cheerleader. A man who allows her to be the best version of herself and doesn’t feel threatened by her success or her intelligence.
I hope my girls find someone who is self-confident, but not pretentious. A person who doesn’t take himself too seriously and always makes her laugh. Someone who works hard but knows how to have fun. I hope she finds someone who will dance in the kitchen, hold her hand walking down the street, and call her out when she’s being ridiculous. A true partner and a great friend.
Their dad is all these things. I’m a lucky woman. I’m loved very well. I’m proud that we’ve modeled a healthy, happy relationship for our kids. We have our share of conflict, but our kids also see us resolve issues in a loving way.
My older daughter expressed skepticism that a man like her dad exists in the world. It makes me sad to think her life experiences so far haven’t given her much hope. Yet, the therapist in me also knows my daughters won’t settle for anything less than they deserve.
They know what it looks like to be loved well. Their dad has set the bar high and I love him for it.
To my girls: Never underestimate your worth. Love yourself enough to know you deserve to be loved well by others. Always remember that true love will not require you to become a smaller, watered-down version of yourself. Real love pushes you to be better while allowing you to feel secure. I don’t mean it’s easy, it’s just worth the effort.
Real love feels like home—it’s a safe place to be completely yourself. I think love often looks like friendship first. Find someone you genuinely enjoy spending time with. Life is tough and physical chemistry ebbs and flows. True friendship is the foundation for the healthiest relationships—the ones that last a lifetime. So, yes, find someone who’s just like your dad.