. . . I learned from my daughter.
I know that sounds absurd to anyone who has not met my daughter and her husband, however, those of you who do know them can fully understand the statement.
I will spare everyone the details but suffice it to say that I was raised in a dysfunctional family and arrived at adulthood with an incredibly warped understanding of the purpose of marriage and family. It surely was a factor that I did not know God at all. Obviously, I was completely unaware that the marriage covenant was ordained by God so that His purposes might be fulfilled.
I know, I know. The wedding vows are replete with references to God “bringing together” and man “not tearing apart” but what was that, really? From my life-is-but-a-fairy-tale perspective the words meant nothing but beautifully poetic language of bygone traditions.
By the time my daughter was planning her wedding, my third marriage was in its death throes. While absolutely thrilled with her choice of a husband, I was frightened because I had never taught her how to be successfully married. I had no idea how to do it myself.
I have hundreds of stories which would substantiate the title of this post but I am choosing the first lesson I ever learned about a Godly marriage from my daughter and her husband.
My first lesson came shortly after my daughter and her new husband returned from their honeymoon. By telephone, my daughter told me that we would no longer have our daily (or twice or thrice daily) phone conversations. Her husband had asked her to limit our phone calls until Sundays after church. She would comply; “obey” if you will. I was hurt, angry and confused. I would pay for the calls I offered and she declined. It was not about the money. I was persistent. I was annoying. I nagged until she humbly explained that she was doing as she was asked out of respect for her husband.
In retrospect I am so grateful for all that his “mandate” taught me. My daughter learned to turn to her husband (rather than her mother) for counsel. As a new wife she learned to respect her husband’s opinion, to share of herself and to listen until agreement was reached. They learned to discuss every thing. I was jealous, very jealous, when I realized that all of the intimate discussions, the laughter and the joy that I had shared with my daughter were no longer to be mine alone.
I had never witnessed a wife respecting her husband as my daughter respected hers. It was endearing, encouraging and enlightening to watch. It was surprising and unforgettable.
Now, mind you, it was not that she hung on his every word or conceded to his every opinion. My daughter is a strong woman, of great intelligence, wisdom and insight. My son-in-law is equally intelligent, compassionate and fair. When my daughter and her husband disagreed they both afforded the other common courtesy, admiration and an obvious mutual respect. When all had been said and all things considered, her husband had the final word.
Does that sound chauvinistic? It was not. When my son-in-law would establish the course of action it was not always for the choice that he favored. He seemed to equitably accept his wife’s counsel and to set course accordingly.
Everything Godly that I needed to learn about marriage was taught to me by the example of my daughter and her husband.